RBI Baseball, Tecmo Bowl, Hockey…there are a large number of classic sports games that were released for the NES. One of the most fun, however, doesn’t get the respect it deserves. Here’s a game you may have missed: Base Wars.
Released for the NES back in June of 1991, Base Wars shows what happens when baseball team owners get tired of paying humans exorbitant salaries and decide to employ robots instead. Developed by the legendary Konami, Base Wars provided a game which satiated the desires of just about any young gamer: robots, sports, weapons, and explosions.
Featuring four entirely different robots with upgradeable gear, Base Wars threw away conventional baseball rules (in addition to some of the laws of physics.) You could swing at a single pitch as many times as you wanted, make the ball go in a spiral on its way to the plate, but best of all, fight for bases. There aren’t any forced outs in Base Wars, so only tagged outs count. However, when a player gets tagged out, instead of just going back to the bench, a fight ensues between the runner and the robot that tagged him. Once a robot’s health is reduced to zero, BOOM. If three of your robots die, you automatically forfeit the game.
Robots are featured with bright solid colors and thick black lines which define their various parts. Graphically, Base Wars has held up quite well over the years. Your nostalgia won’t cloud how the graphics looked; they really are as good as memories make them appear (unlike Skate or Die 2). Despite aging well, a Base Wars game on a modern system would likely look amazing. While the sound design is decent, the music and sound effects aren’t worth mentioning beyond the fact that they get the job done.
I personally never owned this game, but I used to rent it from our local video store (Olney Video) CONSTANTLY. Every weekend I was allowed to rent two games, and for the first three months after I found it, Base Wars was always one of those two. The level of detail in the upgrading and customization system was extensive for its time, and knowing how to best spread out your money made a huge difference in whether you won or lost.
Base Wars is one of the best of the lesser known NES titles. If you come across a copy, I highly recommend you pick it up. The only way this game is more fun is if you play against a friend. Batter up!