Compared: November 1, 2002
Midway puts their unique spin on America's favorite pastime, baseball. Known for their extreme moves, outrageous effects, and flaming players, Midway Sports has always offered football and hockey alternatives to gamers who favored fun over realism. This time around baseball gets the royal treatment and not only is it as wild as all those other sports games, there is a very good baseball game hidden under the flashy surface.
As you can see from the scores, all three versions of MLB SlugFest 20-03 are nearly identical so the only one who loses in this comparison is the person who doesn't get this game. While the games are very close in gameplay and features there are a few subtle differences that owners of multiple systems will want to consider when picking their format.
Round 1: Control
Control is flawless across all three versions. I found the PS2's Dual Shock a bit more comfortable for extended periods of game time, but this round is ultimately a draw. Owners of multiple systems should simply consider the controller that feels the best in your hand for what can be an often lengthy baseball game.
Round 2: Visuals
With all versions getting a perfect ten in the graphics rating you might expect another draw; however, the PS2 manages to bring up the rear in the graphics department only because of the limitations of the system. The GameCube offers slightly better visuals with smoother textures and no jaggies. The GameCube version did seem a bit brighter with less vibrant colors than the PS2.
The Xbox really shines with faster, smoother animation as the stadium spins around in sweeping camera moves after a home run. The players look a bit better and the special effects like dust, smoke, and fire all manage to surpass the other two systems, but only by the smallest margin. Unless you have all three running side-by-side you would be hard pressed to discern any differences.
Round 3: Music & Sound
Again, all three versions are nearly identical and received the same score. The music is sparse but includes appropriate organ tunes you would expect to hear at a ballpark. The commentary is where this game really shines, and the random musings from fictional commentator, Jimmy Shorts, is absolutely hilarious.
The Xbox manages to nudge the PS2 and GameCube version in overall quality despite the disappointing lack of 5.1 digital surround. Again, the differences are so slight that you would never hear them unless you ran all three versions against each other at the same time.
Round 4: Other Deciding Factors
The only other thing that I found noticeable was that the load times on the Xbox version seem marginally faster than the other two systems. Given the fact that the load screens feature gorgeous babes in revealing baseball gear, this may or may not be a plus.
This is one of those rare games that is virtually identical on every format leaving your decision to be based primarily on which system you own. If you own multiple systems and one of them is an Xbox then that would be my recommendation. You can't go wrong with whichever version you end up playing - just make sure you play this game.