www.nintendo.com – Nintendo 64:
Anime ten pins? Not quite, but Japanese developer Athena has brought a whole new look to the ancient sport of bowling.
Kudos to Athena for excavating the sequel rights to American Technos' truly obscure Super Bowling SNES, but one could well ask "Why bother?" Super Bowling N64 retains the 1992 Pak's fictionalized characters and clever Golf mode. In all other respects, though, the new game compares to its predecessor like six straight strikes to a dreaded 7-10 split.
By pirouetting the Control Stick, you can adjust your hook and power, while the two-button swing meter lets you finesse the release point. You also heft balls ranging from six to 16 pounds.
Solo options include exhibitions, circuit play, Golf and practice. In Golf, you make "par" by clearing an unlikely arrangement of pins with one or, more rarely, two balls.
Multiplayer options include head-to-head and team play as well as Golf. Even more exciting is the deadline-driven Vs. mode. As the clock ticks down, you have to clear all the pins before you can start with a fresh frame. Sounds easy, but just try picking up that irksome 7 pin.
Visually, Super Bowling is Exhibit A as to why fresh blood is always welcome in the games business. The unclichéd venues includes a Japanese house complete with rice mats, a brick-walled mansion and, we kid you not, a surprisingly beautiful irrigation ditch. Besides the expected assortment of Japanese teens, the bowlers include a Tinker Bell-ish fairy, a blue giant and a robotic penguin.
Displaying all action in a vertically split screen adds drama to what is admittedly a pretty static sport. Game play gets a jolt from the Garage venue, in which cinder-block walls replace gutters with subsequent improvement on your ability to roll strikes. Two can play simultaneously or four can take turns in alternating mode.
No gutter ball, this, Super Bowling is a cheerful diversion.
Contributed by Evil Ryu (49941) on Aug 17, 2005.