I was looking around in a flea market booth when I began talking to the owner about some Super Famicom games. He mentioned that he had this one baseball game where it had cute critters but it was in Japanese. He had no idea what the story was about. I decided to buy the game and do some research on it; this is the first of the Dolucky trilogy that Imagineer Zoom published exclusively for the Super Famicom. Apparently there was some plans to release the game overseas, but such plans never came to fruition. I couldn’t find any more information because the series is so obscure even in Japan, and it’s too bad because this is one of the better baseball games out there. The game I’m talking about today is Dolucky no Kusayakiu, which loosely means “Dolucky’s Sandlot (or Grasslot) Baseball” in English.
As of this writing, there’s no fan translation of the game, so I hardly know what’s going on. But from what I gather, apparently some baseball team that call themselves the Empire Hell Thunder Destroyers gave a challenge to Dolucky and his buddies to compete against each other. The winner gets a shot at beating the mentioned team with the long name. Dolucky and friends accepted and built teams that are based on Coca-Cola brands that are popular in Japan; Coca-Cola, Georgia Coffee (a type of canned coffee, which I always wanted to try), Coca-Cola Light (another name for Diet Coke), VegitaBeta (an orange type of soft drink), Fanta, Hi-C, Sprite, and Aquarius Neo (a type of sports drink along the lines of Gatorade).
Each team have their own strengths. For instance, Goro’s teams is stronger while Poochy’s team is faster, so it just depends on your preferences. You’ll start off by selecting how many people will play (up to 2 can partake, or just watch if you don’t feel like playing), then you’ll pick your team to play with. There are four modes to choose from: the main story, some sort of batting practice, an exhibition mode, and an all-star mode where all the teams get mixed into one big game.
Now to the heart of the game. As anybody knows, the goal of baseball is to get the most runs before all nine innings run out. The batter must position himself to hit the ball in a good spot (or a home run if you’re that lucky, and I do mean lucky because it’s hard to do even with the strongest hitters) while the pitcher can position himself and even control how fast the ball goes to strike out the batter.
The general rules of baseball do apply, but the fun part is that a meter is applied whenever successful strikes or hits are made. The batter can really make a good homer while the pitcher can trick the batter. However the bad part is that there might be some sort of trick to make the balls hit where you want it, but since the game’s so obscure there’s hardly even a guide. So it doesn’t exactly add anything new for baseball fans, but the execution makes up for it. Also, players get tired after a while, so you’ll have to switch them accordingly. When a ball is hit you’ll have to control more than one player at the same time, so you’ll have to think ahead (and there’s nothing more cringe-worthy than watching them drop it while the opponent scores a few runs).
The graphics and the antics of the players is really what makes the game fun. Apart from the Coca-Cola-themed logos and layouts of the baseball fields, there is a little bit of Mode-7 graphics on display. Truly notably is the intro sequence with flames in the background when both sides have full meter bars and stare each other down. Watching batters spin around or give you exasperated looks are hilarious, and each team captain has his own unique intros (sometimes the umpire will get mad at them if they do it too much, and that’s comedy gold!).
When a big home run is made, it’s not only knocked out of the ballpark, but it’s knocked out of Planet Earth to the moon in a blazing glory. Another silly feature is when a ball, strike, home run, or batter-out is made, a katakana reading is shown (along with an English dictionary pronunciation below it). In between games commentators will give their opinions, but since it’s in Japanese it’s mostly skippable and boring. Last, but not least, is during the 7th inning when both teams guzzle down their represented drinks, which is a sight to see.
You may not think it, but the soundtrack’s actually a good listen-to, with an excellent soundfont to compliment it! Along with the aforementioned katakana and their pronunciations, you’ll hear some cute little umpire voice call them out in broken English. In addition, the cracks of the bats and the whacks of the gloves are very realistic. Furthermore, you’ll hear antics from the fans either clapping and beating out drums (which is quite common in Japanese baseball, so get used to it), but also the roars from the more professional-looking stadiums.
It may come across as another generic baseball game (and sometimes feels so), and some wading around in Japanese is mandatory, but Dolucky no Kusayakiu packs a bigger punch than most people will realize. It’s cool enough that Coca-Cola decided to get in the action and place some brands that even I never heard of before. Nevertheless, the music and the silly shenanigans from the teams are more than enough to keep the player entertained. When all is said and done, Dolucky no Kusayakiu is a baseball diamond in the rough and deserves to be unearthed from obscurity and enjoyed. Its goofy and upbeat personality is a whole lot better than even some of its contemporaries, and that’s enough to at least get a double if not a home run.
4 out of 5 Stars.
Aquarius (sports drink). (2017, December 10). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aquarius_(sports_drink)
Coca-Cola. (2017, December 11). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola
Diet Coke. (2017, December 13). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Diet_Coke
Fanta. (2017, December 15). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fanta
Georgia (coffee). (2017, October 14). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Georgia_(coffee)
Hi-C. (2017, December 5). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hi-C
Mento. (2014, September 16). Dolucky no Kusayakiu (Game) – Giant Bomb. Retrieved from https://www.giantbomb.com/dolucky-no-kusayakiu/3030-33748/
Sprite (drink). (2017, December 14). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sprite_(drink)
VegitaBeta. (2016, January 14). Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/VegitaBeta
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