Brunswick Circuit Pro Bowling
Video games are great because they give people the opportunity to experience things that they just can't do in real life. You know, things like blasting aliens, flying spaceships and yes, even bowling. Thanks to THQ, I can now live out my fantasy of actually hitting more than two or three pins in a bowling alley. I can actually bowl like a real professional! Brunswick Circuit Pro Bowling is one of the few bowling games available for the PSX. Why are there so few bowling games? I think is has something to do with the perception of bowling on a video game machine. To be honest, it was quite a bit more fun than I expected. The action is very simple, and you have all the physics of real life bowling. There are plenty of different game modes to keep you playing, but this game gets much more fun when you start playing with a few of your buddies. All of this, and you don't even have to wear dorky shoes.
When I first popped in this game, I really did not know what to expect. I have never watched bowling on TV, I suck at bowling in real life and there are so few bowling video games on the market that I have never really gotten into them. With all of that said, I really had no idea if I was going to enjoy this game or not. As it turns out, I enjoyed it to a point and enjoyed the multiplayer game quite a bit more. One thing that I really liked about the game is the fact that you can play a bunch of different game modes. You can play an exhibition game, practice mode, tournament mode, skins, career and even cosmic bowling. The two best modes are the tournament and career. This is where you test your skill against the other bowlers to see if you have what it takes to compete with the big boys. On the tournaments, you will have to perform well in the qualifying modes to advance to the cash rounds. If you don't make the cut, too bad; no cash. It is pretty tough to make that cut. I also enjoyed the cosmic bowling for a few games. This is done in Vegas, and it shows. You play a dark bowling alley and you use a glowing ball to knock over the glowing pins. This was always fun for a few games.
Another thing that I liked was that the game was easy to pick up and start playing, but it was hard enough to do well that it helped to practice. The shot meter worked like most golf games. You have a meter that will start up and you have to hit the button when you reach the desired level of power you want to throw. After you hit the button for power, the meter will go back down and you will need to push the button in the center of the accuracy section. This determines the accuracy of your shot. I really thought this method worked well for two reasons. Number one is because anyone who has ever played a golf game will be able to pick up a controller and start playing. Number two is because if you have not ever played a golf game, it should still only take a few tries before you get the hang of it. This made the game easy to teach to a newbie and they could start playing right away without getting killed.
Actually, I have gotten a little ahead of myself. Before you even get to the shot meter, you have some options that help set up your shot. First, you can select your ball. You have six choices that range from good curving action to high speed. You then choose your spin. Have you ever seen a bowler who lets the ball fly and it looks like it is going straight in the gutter when all of a sudden the spin kicks in and the ball curves to the middle of the lane? Well, you can do this now as well. You can adjust the amount of curve you put on your shot by simply pressing one of the shoulder buttons. After you have selected your curve, you will then have a small graphical representation of the lane and the pins. There is a line drawn that represents the path the ball will follow if you throw it with good accuracy. You can then move your bowler left or right to pick where on the lane they will release the ball. Once you have this set up, it is time to start the shot meter. Now, this may sound complicated but is very, very simple. Trust me, it is a piece of cake. I do have a couple of complaints with this game. First, I don't watch bowling so this may actually be a normal part of bowling, but I felt that I was constantly left with impossible splits that I had to try to pull off. Like I said, maybe this happens all the time, but judging by the scores of the other bowlers, I would have to say that it did not happen to them. I can't tell you how many times I was left with two pins standing that were on opposite sides of the lane. These shots were almost impossible to make. I just don't know if it was something that I was doing that caused this to happen or if it was just the way the game played. My other complaint with the game is that, well, it is that the game is bowling. This is not my idea of the most exciting game on the face of the planet. It is much more fun when you play against other human competition, but it was still bowling. I think the reason that there are not many other bowling games out there is because there is really only so much you can do with a bowling game. After I played a few tournaments, my interest just started to wane. I guess if you really dig bowling, then you may not feel this way, but I sure did.
Not bad, not good. How is that for a description? The graphics got the job done, but there was really not much in the way of graphics to worry about. The bowler looked like a bowler, the lane looked like a lane, the ball looked like a ball and the pins looked like pins. That pretty much sums it all up. One thing of note; the crowd is the most annoying thing I have every heard in my life (not graphics, but I thought I would stick it here anyway). They screech and cheer with every shot, good or bad. Very annoying.
This game is fun for a bit, but I really could not sit down and play for extended periods of time. They did a great job of making it easy enough that a beginner could pick it up and start playing, yet complex enough that if you really want to get good, it takes some practice. I think that there were way too many impossible splits that happened to me, but I guess that just added some challenge to the game. I suggest renting this game for a weekend unless you are a die-hard bowling fan.