League Bowling

Neo Geo

Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 8

Bowling isn't exactly a sport you'd want to sit in front a TV screen and play. In all actuality, it would probably be cheaper to go down to the lanes and play a few games than drop the money for a new bowling video game. It takes something different to make a bowling game stand out, and League Bowling has "it." It's simple, it's fast, it's addictive, and above all else, it's fun.

An early release (weighing in at a measly 26 megs), League Bowling connects up to 8 players via the most inane set up of all time. For the full 8, you'll need 2 Geo's, 2 LB carts, 2 TV's, and the heinously hard to find Geo link cable. So, since 99% of you will be playing with 4 players (alternating the 2 controllers), we'll stick with that set up for this review. Three separate, distinct modes make up the meat of League Bowling. Regulation is your standard 10 frame game, Strike 90 offers up a unique scoring system (with 90 points for strikes and 60 for spares), and the flash mode is much like a slot machine and bowling combined. If you happen to hit a strike or a spare, you'll be awarded the amount of points that are currently lit just above the lane. The highest score possible for one frame is 300, so 1,000+ point games are quite common. It's one of the more innovative modes ever implemented into a bowling game.

While 3 modes isn't exactly a wide variety, with 4 players at each other throats, there's very little room for argument. Better yet, even those not accustomed to gaming will have little trouble picking this one. 2 button presses, one for spin and one for power, and ball leaves your hands. The only other thing you need to do is position your bowler when necessary. It's amazing, but the blazing speed and sheer simplicity of the game means that a 10 frame, one-player game can be played in roughly 5 minutes. Also, since there's no need to wait for a second player to finish his/her turn thanks to the split-screen feature, 2-player games don't take much longer.

As one of the early releases for the system, there's not exactly a lot of visually exciting elements. Some minor scaling, goofy animations, and pins flying about are all your going to get. Worse yet, if your going solo, the entire right side of the screen is filled with instructions on how to play for the entire duration of the game. The sound is roughly on par with the graphics, except for some very scratchy voices, very uncharacteristic for the console.

There are those who prefer a bit more meat on their bowling games (hooking the ball correctly is almost impossible here), but you really can't deny the sheer fun factor here. With the speed, you can plop this one in before you go to work and play through a few games and never have to worry about time constraints. Life rarely gets any better than a quick game of League Bowling and there's no one who won't find this game accessible. One of the best early Geo games by a long shot.


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Last updated: Sunday, March 28, 2004 07:13 AM