When you think of the company Irem, a number of games could immediately come to mind. R- Type, for one, since they worked on the legendary shooter. And you might even think of games like Undercover Cops and In the Hunt, among others. But then there’s Ninja Baseball Bat Man. Not to be confused with the Caped Crusader (note the space between “Bat” and “Man”?), this 1993 arcade game was an entertaining brawler featuring baseball heroes, attempting to recover stolen artifacts from the Baseball Hall of Fame. They do so by taking on all sorts of weird enemies, including baseball-type characters and even an enemy plane while on another plane. We can’t make this up.
Alas, the game’s distribution was extremely limited, with only 43 games delivered to the United States. Not to mention that there’s no way to properly emulate it, though many have tried.
That said, however, now everyone can enjoy it again, thanks to a very unlikely source.
Enter the iiRcade
So what the heck is iiRcade, you ask? Well, it’s a stand-up video game similar to what you may have seen in your youth in the 80s and 90s. But there’s something different when compared to the Arcade1ups on the market. The iiRcade allows you to download games on demand from its shop. And not just any games.
While it does have a number of popular favorites like Dragon’s Lair and Double Dragon, it also specializes in oddball indie titles like Wizard of Walls and Galaxy Champions TV. But it’s mostly known for having an array of forgotten arcade games for people to buy again, such as Irem’s Major Title 2 and the arcade version of Vigilante, which hasn’t seen too much exposure on modern consoles.
The company announced Ninja Baseball Bat Man some time ago, gaining heavy attention from the retro community. To release the game for a standard release was already awesome enough, but being able to play it on an arcade machine? Well, that’s just too awesome for its own good. And after several months and testing the game out, going for the sweet price of $14.99.
It is a slight bit glitchy in certain parts, but, overall, it’s the original arcade game through and through. The fact people get to enjoy it to arcade standards, well, that’s really something.
So How Is Ninja Baseball Bat Man?
So you know how you’ve played beat-em-ups in the past and they’re all kind of the same thing?
Well, that’s not the case with Ninja Baseball Bat Man.
First off, the nature of the game is absolutely goofy. Like, you have characters you never expected, as well as special attacks involving everything from giant baseballs to flowing lava. Not to mention the four characters included here can unleash special attacks with button combinations, which are easy to learn but hard to master. Everything about this game just stands out so differently from the norm with beat-em-ups – but that’s where most of its appeal comes from.
The visuals are definitely early 90s fodder, with neat animations, wild backdrops (there’s a flying baseball stadium at one point in the game), and a lot of weird enemies to take on. Again, there are glitches, but we’re sure that iiRcade will iron those out as it prepares an update with online play for up to four people. (We’re sure it’s happening.) The game also benefits greatly from hilarious voice samples and fun background music.
Overall, you’ve never really played anything like this. And the fact you get to play it again for a mere $15? That’s just insane. In fact, why aren’t we playing it right now?
How Do I Get an iiRcade?
Well, if you want an iiRcade unit, that’s easy. You can go to their store directly here, and also check around retailers and what-not. You do require an online connection to download games, but you can order them anywhere, you can even order them on your phone and set them up for download the next time you turn your device on.
iiRcade has gotten its fair share of awesome games thus far, but Ninja Baseball Bat Man doesn’t just take the cake. It takes the whole damn bakery. No, really, play this for five minutes and you’ll understand how insane it is.
Or maybe take Angry Video Game Nerd’s word for it.
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