Brunswick Circuit Pro Bowling
Bowling! What is good for? Absolutely nothing! Other than frequenting the local ‘Hollywood Bowl’ (more through peer pressure than enthusiasm, you understand) we couldn’t give two hoots for this awful American pastime. Maybe it’s because most of the lanes are full of potbellied, moustached freaks who strut around sweating freely and wearing those ‘special’ gloves whilst giving you one of those ‘I live for the sport’ grimaces.
Things don’t really improve in Brunswick Circuit Pro Bowling. Taking the intense and riveting action from the real thing onto the digitally recreated lanes of the PlayStation, there was hardly a stampede to grab a controller – well not with Street Fighter Zero 3 wowing the unruly hoard in the office. As a sports simulation, Brunswick pulls off the ‘thrills and spills’ better than Electronic Arts ancient ‘comedy’ flop Ten Pin Alley and there’s nowhere near as much faffing around with the controller to get a strike.
Before even launching a shot down one of the dozen colourful lanes from around the world (try the ‘Cosmic Bowlodrome’ in Vegas or the ‘Ein Spieler Bowlhouse’ in Germany), players can add ‘hook’ to spin the ball and even change the ball style. Quicker balls won’t spin as much and suchlike, but at least you only need to concentrate on the bog-standard power meter, when it comes to the crunch.
The physics of ball hitting pins is excellent and recreates the random scattering of pins perfectly, but who really cares when the action is so tedious? If you’re feeling particularly daring why not try the ‘Create your own bowler’mode, where anything from silver and blackrimmed spectacles to clean-shaven or bearded weirdos can be created. If you feel the unnatural urge to plug away for longer than a couple of hours, Skins, Tournament and Career modes will no doubt fulfil every bowling fantasy, but even the sad FMV fireside chats from the leading pros and the glow-in-the-dark bowling can’t raise Brunswick Circuit Pro Bowling above the bland affair that it represents.