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Ninja Baseball Bat Man, known in Japan as Yakyū Kakutō League Man (野球格闘リーグマン Yakyū Kakutō Rīgu Man , "Baseball Hand-to-Hand Fighting League Man"), is a 1993 side-scrolling beat 'em up arcade game developed and published by Irem.
At first glance, Ninja Baseball Bat Man looks extremely similar to most beat 'em ups widely found during its time of release. Unlike other beat 'em ups however, it has a style that's full of quirkiness and strangeness, while it also has a wider variety of moves that require button motion controls found in most versus fighting games, much more than other beat 'em ups. The game allows up to four players to play simultaneously. Each player chooses from among four characters. Each character attacks with baseball bats, using their own special abilities, and has one extremely powerful maneuver that sacrifices health in order to annihilate every enemy on the screen. Their goal is to recover various artifacts stolen from the Baseball Hall of Fame, a task prescribed to them by the Commissioner of Baseball.
- Captain Jose (6'1", 174 lbs), known in Japan as Red League Man (レッド・リーグマン) - The head of the team and a "technician". He is well-balanced, making him the best choice for beginners.
- Twinbats Ryno (5'7", 145 lbs), known in Japan as Green League Man (グリーン・リーグマン) - He is a "speedy attacker" that wields two bats.
- Beanball Roger (5'9", 240 lbs), known in Japan as Yellow League Man (イエロー・リーグマン) - He is a "powerful buster", but not as fast as others.
- Stick Straw (7'2", 194 lbs), known in Japan as Blue League Man (ブルー・リーグマン) - He is a "long-reach hitter".
When Irem America opened its U.S. office in 1988 in Redmond, Washington headed up by Frank Ballouz (founder of FABTEK, a thriving video kit company and had such hits as Cabal, Toki, Blood Brothers etc., as well as a North American publisher of several titles in Seibu Kaihatsu' Raiden series) and National Sales Manager Drew Maniscalco. During this time, Drew created the "Ninja Baseball Bat Man" video game concept (including the English title, plot and characters) and licensed it to Irem America in 1991.[ The first names of the four main characters were named after the first names of four baseball stars of that time: ]Jose Canseco (red), Ryne Sandberg (green), Roger Clemens (yellow) and Darryl Strawberry (blue). In Japan, they were named after their colors. To illustrate the characters' sketches, Drew hired Gottlieb's well-known pinball artist, Gordon Morison.[ ]
Drew's original gameplay ideas for the video game was for a 1-player, adventure-based, platform game similar to Nintendo's "Super Mario Bros.". However, due to the very successful game sales of several 4-player games (most of them being beat 'em ups) Drew added 3-players in an effort to compete with the 4 Players games. While the title and characters were Drew's concept, Irem Japan programmed the arcade game, and modified the look of its prototype. Drew didn't mind it being different, as he was thrilled about it being programmed by them.[ ]
A year after its concept was created and a year before it was released, despite it being interesting in his opinion, Drew left the company in 1992 and moved to Data East USA. Because of that, he was unable to market nor manage any other input related to the game. Released in 1993, sales in both North America and the Far East were poor compared to other kits sold at that time. Of the 1042 units sold, only 43 units were sold in North America, making "Ninja Baseball Bat Man" quite rare (especially in the U.S.).[ Drew "was very disappointed with the effort by the US office." ][ Despite all of this, the popularity of the arcade emulator created four years later in 1997 titled ]MAME caused Ninja Baseball Bat Man to gain more popularity than the arcade game's original release.
The arcade flyers for Ninja Baseball Bat Man has advertisements for Irem's three other video games and franchises: Hammerin' Harry, Undercover Cops and R-Type III: The Third Lightning. An advertisement poster for Mahou Keibitai Gun Hoki (known as Mystic Riders outside of Japan), another arcade game by Irem, appears in the first stage of Ninja Baseball Bat Man.
- Ninja Baseball Bat Man at Hardcore Gaming 101
- Ninja Baseball Bat Man at MAWS
- Ninja Baseball Bat Man at arcade-history
- Ninja Baseball Bat Man at Museum of the Game
- Ninja Baseball Bat Man at GameFAQsTemplate:Beatemup-videogame-stub