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I dunno about the current consoles nowadays, but I'd say that, until at least the 16 bit era, bowling, even though it could be a challenging, fun sport -- never mind the episodes of Married...with Children where they portrayed bowlers as to being huge gut-bellied losers -- never could really translate into an accurate depiction of it in a video game. After all, in order for a game to really
be bowling, you'd have to have a 3-D aspect, which most consoles couldn't provide (for a while anyways). Even though I've heard quite a few people enjoy the Atari 2600 Bowling game on forums (can't say for sure myself, I only played it for a few seconds at a store display once), that wasn't *really* bowling, nor was the Microvision version, and as I acquired several bowling arcade games when a friend sent me a bunch of ROMs once that didn't really capture the spirit either (I only played a game of each and then deleted the ROMs; bleah!), and who knows how many other bowling games there are out there that couldn't really do the job either (although I'm sure quite a few of them had to have been fun anyway).
And neither did this game accurately capture the sport of bowling either.
This is probably a fairly rare Genesis title today; I never saw it at my local Toys 'r Us or anything when it was out, and as far as the present goes, I had to add the title to the database here, and I'll also be adding the company that made it to the database as well later (once larson brings that part back ;) ), since there's no mention of them (which I assume they're probably dead).
When I rented this at a local Blockbuster when it was out, I was a bit nervous over the clerk not being able to find the instructions for the game. Well, how am I going to figure out how to control the damn bowler? After all, a review in the Sega Visions mag showed a cinematic part of the game with a bowler looking like he was howling a big "YES!" and clenching his fists after the victory of throwing yet another power strike (if you've ever bowled, you know what I'm talking about: the people who hurl the ball so damn hard at the pins that you think that the ball's going to knock a hole either into the lane or into the backboard behind the pins). So how am I going to do the body language and all? Well, the guy assured me that he hadn't had any problems with complaints from renters about the few instruction books they were missing for the games they had.
Well, as it turned out, I shouldn't have worried.
The reason? Well, first off, you start a game, and pick your bowler and all, which you've got four choices: the power bowler, who can bowl strike after strike after strike without much of a problem, the lone female that relies more on aim rather than manly strength to destroy all the evil pins that did something rotten to the bowler (or something), etc. You can also choose from four bowling alleys as well, although this won't affect your game any.
Then for the difficult positioning, aiming, making the proper approach (while not stepping over the foul line), the rolling of the ball, the proper follow-through of your bowler, and trying to get the ball to hit the damn pins...are you ready for this?
You have to position an onscreen arrow where you're going to attempt to throw the ball down the bowling lane. You then press the button to confirm it (the C button, I think), which a Power Gauge will appear with a needle rapidly moving up and down as to if you want to do a girly-man of a throw or if you want to wait until the needle is as close to the "Max" strength as possible, and then you press the button again to actually throw the ball.
In other words, the majority of the time you're only pressing ONE button just to throw the blasted ball.
ONE freakin' button for the majority of the game. "One button...to bore them all" (paraphrased from The Lord of the Rings).
Needless to say, I was bored of the game within an hour.
Since I was either in between temp jobs or waiting for my next check to arrive, I was pretty pissed that I had to go back to Blockbuster again the next day to already get another game to try to keep myself from being bored while my low cash supply was dwindling even more. I got Prince of Persia, which, even though I got stuck after several levels and couldn't figure out what to do to complete the one that I was on, it was WAY better than this game.
I went back to see why the hell this game got rated so highly in the Sega Visions mag I mentioned earlier. Turns out it was rated high on "Overall Fun" because they kept on talking about playing the game against up to four players. Well, I didn't HAVE anyone else to compare the gameplay with, so I'll admit I'm being a bit biased in my rating here (something I don't ever do): I'd actually only give this game a 2 -- after being bored after one HOUR doesn't deserve a high rating -- but I didn't compare every playing aspect available of this game. So maybe it's worthy of a 3.
I'm sure the Sega fanboys at www.genesiscollective.com won't be too happy with this rating, as they ragged on The Scribe (the guy who gives a short description of gameplay and his opinion of the games) for it being such a great game (which he didn't think of it as to being that way). Oh please: how big a hit was this game? I never saw it anywhere for sale, and only saw it at ONE video rental place ever. That's IT. THE only bowling game ever for the Genesis, and how many stores stocked it when it came out? But of course, this is just an (/my) opinion though (and The Scribe's!).
Anyway, the game also has extra Spare or Bonus games, with a different set of rules rather than a "normal" bowling game does, but those don't really help a lot, plus the game also has annoying music that you can't turn off, bad animation, and hardly any animations were even programmed into the game in the first place. The graphics weren't bad though...well, on an eight bit system, NOT what the Genesis is capable of. Oh, but the controls responded well, as far as how pushing that one button over and over went; whee.
Play this sport for real if you want any thrills. Or only play it while being drunk...better off than embarrassing yourself getting drunk in public, plus you could be banned from the bowling alley. And that wouldn't be good.
Plus the game might actually seem fun when you're drunk. 3/10
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