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Video Game / Ninja Baseball Bat Man

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Batter Up!

"This is a special message about something that just changed my life. A game... called Ninja Baseball Bat Man. That is the best title ever conceived by a human being. Or an alien, or whoever, or whatever came up with this. [...] Does it live up to the title? It surpasses the title! [...] [The title] got me to play, and then hit me in the face with a grand-slam atomic bomb blast of video game goodness."

A wacky arcade Beat 'em Up made by Irem in 1993. In this game, four baseball-themed ninja superheroes are hired by the commissioner of a baseball museum to retrieve a golden statue of Babe Ruth, as well as the statue's matching golden baseball equipment, when they're stolen by the evil Jado syndicate. They must travel all over the major cities of the USA to recover the pieces and assemble the statue so it can be returned safely.

A good game, underrated, and sometimes MAME can't quite handle it.

Has nothing to do with a certain Caped Crusader dressing up in ninja gear and playing baseball.

In 2022, it was announced that Drew Maniscalco, the original creator of the characters, is attempting a revival with a five issue comic book called Ninja Baseball Spirits note  via Kickstarter which will basically be a retelling of the game in comic form. Find out more about it here.

See Bat Boy, a side-scrolling platform game also themed around baseball.

This game provides examples of:

  • 1-Up: If you can smash the baseball in the bonus stages via repeated button mashing, you get an extra life. In multiplayer, only one player is allowed to claim the life- as bursting it as any player immediately ends the bonus round.
  • Action Bomb: Mini baseball robots will try to latch on and blow themselves up along with you.
  • Animate Inanimate Object: Several of the Mooks you face are baseballs, baseball bats, baseball gloves, cards, and there's also the floating stuff that the poltergeist attacks you with.
    • As for bosses, The Defending Slot, the Ghost Buffalo, which is a bunch of inanimate objects stuck together, and technically, the Final Boss.
  • A.I. Breaker: The Final Boss is pretty hard if you try to get up close to him, because of his tornado swing move that does a lot of damage and has very good range and priority. If you stay far from him though, he'll use a baseball slide which is very easy to counter via your normal attack (don't stay too far, or else he'll whip out the electrified bat).
  • Balance, Power, Skill, Gimmick: Each of the four main characters follows one of these archetypes: Captain Jose is the Jack of All Stats, Twinbats Ryno is the Fragile Speedster, Beanball Roger is the Mighty Glacier, and Stick Straw is the Glass Cannon. What makes Straw the Gimmick is the half-screen range of some of his basic attacks and a wide variety of throws — both valuable tools in a Beat 'em Up.
  • Bald of Evil: The museum commissioner becomes fully bald once he reveals his true colors and his ultimate grand scheme to the Ninja Baseball Bat Men.
  • Batter Up!: All player characters are armed with baseball bats. Granted, only Captain Jose's bat is anything close to regulation size. Hilariously, one of the mooks is a sentient baseball bat in baseball garb holding a baseball bat as a weapon.
  • Belly Flop Crushing: This is one of Roger's moves, which can flatten an opponent if they're not defeated.
  • Big Bad: The museum commissioner, who hired you in the beginning to retrieve the statue.
  • Big Eater: Beanball Roger like to think about food during his idle animations.
  • Big Boo's Haunt: The Texas stage.
  • "Blind Idiot" Translation: Some of the boss names, like "Mad Lax", "Defending Slot" and the especially odd "Makeshift Villain".
    • The last one actually kind of makes sense, considering he is a parody of generic final bosses in beat'em up games, he seems to be made out of straw and that he's not the real Big Bad.
  • Blow You Away: Windy Plane can cast gusts of wind that push you back. The Final Boss can create pink tornadoes. Ryno can make green ones.
  • Boss Bonanza: The final stage has a total of three bosses faced back to back. The first is the third and final Baseball Golem, the second is a refurbished Windy Plane, and the third is the Babe Ruth statue the heroes spent the game assembling brought to life by the Commissioner.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: The baseball golems are treated as normal enemies, but are rare and much, much tougher.
  • Car Fu:
    • The ninjas can board cars in the second, third, and sixth stages and ram them into enemies.
    • Mad Lax, the second boss, is a sentient automobile.
  • The Casino: These Bat Men battle it out in the casino interior of Las Vegas in the third stage.
  • Cast from Hit Points:
    • The Mega Home Run (only if it connects) and a slightly stronger version of each character's special attack will both deplete a small amount of health if used, shaving off roughly 16%.
    • Each character's elemental super attack requires 33% of the player's health to use, pelting the entire screen in meteors/thunder/geysers of fire/water and clearing out most if not all of the basic enemies.
  • Chekhov's Gun: The statue that was stolen from the museum was used by the commissioner to make an evil robot to fight the heroes.
  • The Coats Are Off: The Mechanical Alligator introduces itself sporting glasses and a white lab coat. It then shakes off the glasses and coats to fight the Ninja Baseball Bat Men.
  • Color-Coded Multiplayer
  • Combat Pragmatist: Windy Plane. After being unable to best the ninjas in a fair fight in the beginning of the game, it shows up in the end, and this time fights dirty, spamming its uppercuts that make it invincible, throwing bombs and summoning minions to help it.
  • Combos: Characters have combos, being even able to perform variations by pushing the joystick.
  • Conservation of Ninjutsu: Well, since there's four of you against an entire criminal organization...
  • Counter-Attack:
    • Each time Windy Plane is knocked down by a strong attack, it will gain super armor and retaliate with an uppercut. In the rematch, it can give more uppercuts before it stops.
    • If Defending Slot is knocked down, it attempts to retaliate with a stab attack from its claws, which only hits in front and does not grant super armor during the move. Once its legs are broken off, Defending Slot trades the claw-stab attack for lighting its arms on fire and lunging at the players once it recovers.
    • There is a chance that the Mechanical Alligator will use a stationary spinning attack upon recovery if the players are next to it when it gets up.
    • The Makeshift Villain's recovery attack works in the same way as the Alligator's, opening its coat to stab nearby players with knives hidden inside.
  • Degraded Boss: Windy Plane shows up in the final level as the penultimate boss before the final boss fight. Downplayed in that he still gets a life bar and becomes much more aggressive on top of summoning more mooks (including the miniature walking Bombs) joining him in battle.
  • Didn't Need Those Anyway!: Windy Plane, Mad Lax, Defending Slot, and Mechanical Alligator gradually lose their body parts when attacked but can still fight with some kind of attack until their health drops to 0.
  • Dual Wielding: Twin Bats Ryno/Green lives up to his name.
  • Elemental Powers:
  • Elite Mook: The umpire enemies, which can take a lot of damage compared to the regular mooks, and can also guard with their armor.
  • Epic Flail: Beanball Roger/Yellow, who wields a heavy bat with a large ball on the end.
  • Everything's Deader with Zombies: The baseballs inside the haunted mansion in Texas are zombies and promptly rise from the ground to fight the players.
  • Evil Laugh / The Hyena: The baseball gloves laugh like hyenas when they successfully land a hit. The final boss' laugh is a more regular evil laugh.
  • Excuse Plot: The parts of a statue have been stolen and the main characters are employed to bring them back in one piece.
  • Expy: The four playable characters are named for real-life baseball players:
    • Captain Jose/Red: Jose Canseco.
    • Twin Bats Ryno/Green: Ryne Sandberg.
    • Beanball Roger/Yellow: Roger Clemens.
    • Stick Straw/Blue: Darryl Strawberry.
  • Falling Chandelier of Doom: Seen in the Texas stage. It doesn't do any damage if it drops on you, though.
  • Flash of Pain: The player characters suffer seizure times of turning red when they're low enough on healthnote ... until they recover with food or lose a life.
  • The Flatwoods Monster: Flatwoods Monsters are enemies during Stage 3, which takes place in Las Vegas, and Stage 5, which takes place in Florida. They're small yellow or red creatures which take off their heads to strike the player with.
  • Flunky Boss:
    • Mad Lax, who drops a bunch of bagpipe car enemies even now and then during the fight.
    • Makeshift Villain will summon the dogs with Tommy-guns for about three-fourths of the fight. Defeat them and he will summon the dogs with pink suits, who are even more dangerous.
    • If you play solo, the bosses, well, fight solo. Bring in more players and other unrelated Mooks can hop in to interrupt the fight.
  • Giant Spider: Baseballs with robotic arachnid-like legs wearing sunglasses appear starting from Florida.
  • Giving Up the Ghost: Enemies may sometimes die like this, with music from Fur Elise for some reason.
  • The Goomba: The baseballs are some of the weakest encounters in the game and don't take much effort to defeat.
  • The Gunslinger: The Tommy-gun armed dogs are a Type B and C: The Vaporizer and The Woo respectively. They shoot like crazy and have a rolling back jump where they fire in the air giving them a brief float.
  • Helpful Mook: The burger enemies in the Texas stage. They can initially hurt you, but as soon as you hit them once, their eyes fall off, and then they become a food item that restores a good amount of health. Best of all, they appear in large numbers.
  • Highly-Visible Ninja: The four player characters are ninjas, but never bother with stealth.
  • Hyperactive Metabolism: Eating food regenerates your health instantly.
  • I Know Madden Kombat: On the subject of the game's baseball motif.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Bats instead of ninja swords for the protagonists and a few enemies.
    • There's also the enemy who attacks with his static-electrified hair, and another that drops a 16-ton weight on you.
  • Inelegant Blubbering: Windy Plane cries when you hit him, and will try to run away bawling by the end of the first boss fight (after he's lost his "arms" and can no longer attack you).
  • Interface Spoiler: You get all the items at the end of Stage 6, but you can see from the start of the game that there are seven stages, so you know a twist is coming.
  • Kid-Appeal Character: Twinbats Ryno is smaller than the rest. A hotheaded type 3.
  • Kick Them While They Are Down: When an enemy gets knocked into the ground, the player can hold the attack button and get close to them, allowing them to pummel them automatically while they're laying down.
  • The Mafia: The dogs encountered in the Chicago stage.
  • Meaningful Name: Stick Straw is slim and slender like a stick or a straw.
  • Metronomic Man Mashing: Beanball Roger's Foil Buster.
  • Mini-Boss: The baseball golem, made up of multiple baseball Mooks.
  • Missing Secret: The default high scores listing teases at the possibility of the Submarine mooks and Pink (the leader of the cheerleaders) being playable characters, but closer looks reveal the game has no "secret" characters in any fashion.
  • Multiple Life Bars: Bosses have two health bars: a green bar and a yellow bar.
  • Never Smile at a Crocodile: The Mechanical Alligator faced at the end of Stage 5: Florida.
  • Ninja: The protagonists are baseball-themed ninjas and the main motif of this game.
  • Ninja Pirate Zombie Robot:
    • They player characters count, being ninja baseball players.
    • The fifth boss, the Mechanical Alligator, is an alligator, a cyborg, a scientist and a brawler.
  • One-Hit Kill:
    • For some reason, if properly defeated (they like to run away), the blue submarine-carrying foes drop their skeletons, which can kill almost all mooks in a single throw (only ones that survive it seem to be the octopi, if they're still carrying their hats).
    • If Jose does a flaming kick onto the baseball bat enemies, they disintegrate into flames. They similarly die instantly if they touch a lit fume.
    • The playing card enemies cannot survive a forward throw attack.
  • One-Winged Angel: The statue of Babe Ruth is converted into a large mech by the commissioner after he takes it from the ninjas.
  • Personal Space Invader: Quite a number of enemies can grapple onto players and immobilize them until shaken off. The baseball gloves and pink mafia dogs pummel captive players and the miniature bomb enemies latch on in an attempt to blow themselves up and deal huge damage.
  • Poltergeist:
    • Throughout Texas, you fight possessed inanimate objects.
    • The boss of the Texas stage is an orange ghost that looms thought the level until it possesses a mounted buffalo's head. It then detaches itself from the wall and flies off to gather more objects to become the Ghost Buffalo.
  • Press X to Not Die/Smashing Survival: An early arcade example. Certain enemies can grab you, and you need to either shake the joystick back and forth or press the attack button rapidly.
  • Recovery Attack: Both the players as well as the bosses (when getting up after a knockdown) have it.
  • Recurring Boss:
    • The giant baseball golems are fought on Stages 2, 4, and the final stage.
    • Windy Plane returns in the final stage with a new yellow and purple paint job. And it's far stronger this time.
  • The Reveal: The commissioner you've been enlisted by to re-assemble the Babe Ruth statue? Turns out he's evil and wants to turn the statue you spent the game recovering into a superweapon.
  • Revenge: Captain Jose, after discovering the commissioner was Evil All Along and defeating the evil robot he made out of the Babe Ruth statue, hits him with his bat so hard that he ends up crashing into the moon.
  • Sentient Vehicle: Windy Plane. Mad Max also counts, until you reveal that there's two small Mooks driving it.
  • Shoryuken: Windy Plane, the first boss, can use one as an attack, especially as a Recovery Attack after being knocked down. Also, he's The Dragon of the commissioner, and when that's revealed, he spams this dragon punch up to four times.
  • Shout-Out: The arcade flyer has references to Undercover Cops, R-Type III and Hammerin' Harry. An advert for Mystic Riders appears in the first level.
  • Shows Damage: Rare for a Beat-Em-Up game. Most of the bosses have parts that drop off as soon as they take enough damage. In the case of the Mechanical Alligator, his tail drops off and starts to attack you!
  • Sore Loser: Windy Plane will bawl uncontrollably once rendered helpless.
  • Stout Strength: Beanball Roger is the heaviest of the bunch, and his body is basically a perfect sphere with arms and legs. He's also the strongest of the player characters and likes to flex his muscles like a bodybuilder as he walks.
  • Suspicious Videogame Generosity: Large quantities of healing items tend to appear either before the boss or at the start of the boss fight.
  • This Is Unforgivable!: Captain Jose declares he will never forgive the comissioner for his betrayal.
  • Trademark Favorite Food: Beanball Roger sure loves to imagine curry rice in his idle animations, and in fact is served one by Stick Straw after the Las Vegas stage.
  • Underground Monkey: While the enemy variety is large there are some palette swaps that do different attacks:
    • The animated baseballs have four different variants: Yellow, Blue, Green, and White. The higher rank baseballs can take slightly more damage and follow up with a kick attack if they manage to hit you, along with having a leaping dive-ball attack. There's also the zombie/shadow baseballs from Texas, the three baseball golems, and the spring-powered and winged baseballs with two variants each.
    • The baseball bats have two variants: A standard variation equipped with baseball getup and a baseball bat and a red-tinted variant with a viking helmet and a spinning blade on a whip as a weapon. The red one is just as frail and slow as the regular one, but hits hard.
    • The playing cards with arm cannons have unique attacks: The red cards have a charge attack, the yellow cards shoot flames, the green cards open themselves up to shoot a giant metal fist, and the blue ones spin like a tornado.
    • The mobster dogs have two variations. Those who wear blue coats have tommy guns and shoot at the player, while those who wear pink leap at the player and can bite very hard.
  • Vehicular Assault: The first two bosses, Windy Plane and Mad Lax, are sentient vehicles designed for combat.
  • Weaponized Exhaust: The small car engine enemies, if not taken care of quickly, will create a smoke monster from its exhaust pipes that tries to choke the player.
  • World Tour: All the stages are real-world locations in the United States: Seattle, San Francisco (or just Cisco), Las Vegas, Texas, Florida, Chicago, and New York.
  • X-Ray Sparks: Apparently, Beanball Roger and Stick Straw's bats also have bones in them.