Milo's Astro Lanes
Bowling on the N64? Shyeah right, that's a genre that's been almost completely ignored (except for Ten Pin Alley and Brunswick Bowling), until now that is. Crave Entertainment is taking matters (and a bunch of balls) into their own hands, it seems, with Milo's Astro Lanes.
Touted as a combination of bowling and miniature golf, while not exactly that, Milo's Astro Lanes hopes to inject some much-needed fun into this non-existent category. In Milo's, you can choose from six strange characters (which include big-headed aliens and robotic female bowlers), six different "nuclear" balls and three different lanes, with additional lanes opening up as you progress. Factor in a "realistic" physics-engine and it becomes apparent that Crave is keeping one eye on the future while keeping one foot firmly planted on the ground.
While it's difficult to figure out exactly where the miniature golf aspect comes in, this certainly isn't your average bowling game. More like a mixture of bowling and WipeOut XL, gameplay is affected by picking up power-ups while your ball spins down the lane. If you have friends playing at the same time (Milo's supports four players total), they can attempt to sabotage your efforts while you try to get that strike. All sorts of special attacks can be used to ruin your game, such as the Bouncy Ball attack, which turns your ball to rubber, or the Pea Ball which shrinks your ball, naturally, to the size of a pea. If that weren't enough, not only do you have those nasty opponents to deal with, you also have to look out for all the obstacles you'll find in Milo's Astro Lanes. Chasms, jumps and lava-filled gutters litter the lanes, so you'll need to keep on your toes, lest that bowling ball of yours becomes nothing more than a pile of ashes.
However, the best defense is a great offense, and with the Booster Ball, the Clone Ball and the mighty White Dwarf at your disposal, you'll be more than prepared to deal with the opposition.
The graphics are well-done, if a bit on the purple side, with a bizarre combination of psychedelic, space-age environments and bowling alleys from hell. Additionally, the characters all look good (if a little goofy), with nice light-sourcing and Gouraud shading in place. If you're pining for action on the N64, this is probably as close as you'll get to a bona-fide bowling experience. Just don't expect a hard-core bowling simulation or you're going to walk away disappointed. With a wacky cast of characters and innovative four-player action, Milo's Astro Lanes might become the party favorite this holiday season on the N64. All you need now are the cheesy shoes and black-and-white bowling shirts!
- MANUFACTURER - Player 1
- THEME - ACTION
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
Download Milo's Astro Lanes
Ahh, and I thought Glover was a weird concept for a game. If anything, this one takes the prize for best follow-through on a weak premise. At first I thought the bowling bit could be just one small piece of a large and involved game. Nope, it's really just bowling. Not ordinary bowling either; it's bowling with aliens! What went wrong here? When you think about how deep an N64 game can be, like GoldenEye for example, and then you see this, you just have to wonder. What makes it even sadder is the fact that the bowling isn't good either. There aren't any traditional bowling physics involved. It's all "wacky" stuff: ramps, voids, hills and valleys. Special power-ups make it even loonier by allowing your ball to shrink, expand and even explode. That's about the extent of the flavor in this game. Otherwise it's a series of matches against a slew of mildly amusing aliens. You're Milo, an aspiring galactic bowler. It's your dream to defeat every interplanetary species you can. It's a quest for glory, indeed. (That was sarcasm, by the way.) The story line seems simple and thrown together, but I still can't justify th s as a kid's title. I think they'd get just as bored as any other person. In fact, I'm not sure who this game is geared toward. If you have a bowling jones, you'd be better off doing the real thing.
If you are a child--a very young child who is amused by colorful graphics and snappy quips, and who also happens to be into bowling-then Milo's Astro Lanes may interest you. If you're not one of these strange children described above, then don't bother with this one. In fact, MAL isn't even worth renting--it just isn't fun. The only thing I enjoy about this game are the offensive and defensive power-ups you can pick up.
Hey! Wouldn't it be great if you could have, like, bowling...only in space with aliens and stuff--and with power-ups and crazy lanes? Err...no. I did try. Honest I did. But no matter which way I looked at it, I don't recall ever actually enjoying myself with Milo's. I like being able to interfere with opponents' throws, but ultimately it just didn't do it for me. Rent it with friends if you don't like "real" lanes--in any sense of the word.
Bowling? With power-ups? On miniature golf-type lanes? Sounds like fun, doesn't it? Unfortunately, the concept scores higher than the execution. The graphics aren't sharp enough, the controls aren't precise enough, and the physics aren't real enough. Those three factors turn Milo's into a game that uses more luck and chance than any type of skill. This game is better suited for children who don't know any better.
Ah, video bowling. A recipe for boredom, right? The cute Milos Astro Lanes proves it doesn't have to be, offering cool visuals and a cure for the stuffy reputation that bowling sims usually earn.
Milos takes bowling into the stratosphere with robots and aliens rolling strikes on the volcanic lanes of Venus, down the tongue and into the mouth of an alien, and across other bizarre (and bumpy) locales. Up to four players can bowl together, each choosing their own persona and ball design.
Where Milo's really gets jiggy is in its game-play tweaks. Colored stars littering the lane can be tagged for power-ups like super speed, size increases, and clone shots that make one ball split into three. They also yield nasty attacks like making your opponents shots bounce, shrink, or explode. The lanes get progressively harder, and after you defeat a computer opponent, you'll get a chance to tackle a trick shot.
The pin physics are mostly accurate (there are a few anomalies), but the analog control could be more precise; sometimes its hard to aim your shot at the exact spot you want The psychedelic antialiased visuals and funky sci-fi lounge soundtrack earn Milos extra style points; the games polygonal characters are nicely animated, and you'll be humming the otherworldly tunes whether you like it or not
Milo's Astro Lanes isn't exactly high-octane thrills--come on, this is still bowling--but its quirky brand of fun will help pass a rainy afternoon...and without uncomfortable rental shoes.
- Save your done power-ups for tricky splits.
- Less power will let the ball curve more; more power gives you straighter, faster shots.
- A giant ball power-up sent straight down the middle will give you a strike on the early lanes, but it won't take out a 7-10 split.
- Snagging the stars will adjust the balls trajectory slightly.
- Press the R trigger to zoom in and aim your shot before you roll.