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|A.P.I Review:||Animaniacs: Ten Pin Alley|
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|Distributor:||ASC Games||1-2 Player|
|Game Type:||Sports||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||January 1999||Multi-tap|
Setting the Scene
Ever wonder what it would look like to stick a bowling bowl into the
hands of one of those wacky Looney Tunes characters and give it a roll?
Well, whether you've wondered or not here is your chance to do just that.
ASC Games has just tweaked their 1997 hit, Ten Pin Alley, with a bunch of
goofballs from Warners cartoon line.
Unfortunately you won't find Bugs or Daffy in the game but you will find Pinky, The Brain, Solley and the Good Feathers in a plot to foil Wakko, Yakko, Dot and the whole Animaniacs chances of winning the tournament! What it all amounts to is a rather lighthearted look at one of America's most beloved pastimes.
Animaniacs Ten Pin Alley bowling is a sports game that has a nice dose of whimsy to it.
The characters in ATPA are done very well. If you are familiar with
Animaniacs you will know what I'm talking about here, if not I'll tell you
all about it. All ten of these guys are "polygoned out" and
depicted in their entire wacky splendor. Right from their inane moves
(especially if you stink at bowling) to their brightly colored outfits.
Speaking of outfits, you have the option of selecting around five
different color patterns per character. I thought this added a nice little
touch. Even if you don't know the players you couldn't imagine them being
much more goofy than this.
I particularly liked the movement of the bowlers, not only when they throw their ball but also when they connect for a strike or a spare, at which point they go into a little dance. One thing I didn't like was the fact that when a bowler talked they did not have any mouth movement. I thought that was rather strange considering the rest of the graphics were done so well.
The use of lighting is very good in all the alleys, right from the ball spinning down the lane to the pins falling down. Reflections are plentiful and done very good as well. The lanes are also depicted nicely and have an oily type of look as well as "feel".
As I said before... the lighting in this game is terrific. The lanes are always active with flashing lights above the pins and up and down each side of the lanes. If you are brave enough to play World Domination be ready for a light show, because not only will you have to deal with a very active display but a few hundred cameras flashing pictures at you from all different angles as well.
Most of the backgrounds were pretty static no matter what alley you were in, I mean we ARE in a bowling alley here, although there are enough lighting effects on the lanes and the walls to keep you interested. I also liked the fact that you can play from two different camera angles; either from behind the pins or at the foul line.
Sounds and Effects
I thought the music for ATPA was very good. Even if you are not
familiar with Anamaniacs I think you will agree these tunes fit these guys
real well. Although most soundtracks in these games become very repetitive
I found the music in ATPA to be quite light hearted and fun. You do have
the ability to change the volume of the music or just shut it off if you
find it to annoying, but I don't think you will.
If you have ever thrown a bowling ball and knocked down at least one pin in your life then you know what kind of sound it makes and ATPA is right on the money. Whether you are throwing strikes or gutter balls this is what bowling sounds like. No matter what alleys you are in, from the crowd yelling in the background to the ball bouncing down the lane (yes I said bouncing) you will get the feel of being at your local lanes.
I thought some of the comments the characters made were quite good. I was particularly fond of the nurse's comments, as you will find out. All of them had good voice-overs and I'm sure you will find your favorite as I did.
I've finally found a game that didn't take me a whole bag of
Dorito's to learn how to play (only half a bag). Like any game this one
will probably take most of you a good half bag of your favorite junk food
or half litre of coke to master. Once you have picked your player and your
skill level (trust me on this one... don't go to manual bowler just yet)
it's all down the alley from here.
This game is very easy in it's setup but mastery of the moves will take quite a few games to iron out! Your lane arrow will show you where you should aim and your "D" pad gives you the ability to move your bowler either left or right. Here's where it gets a bit tricky. Like a lot of sports games you have the infamous "power meter" which gives you power to throw the ball but be careful if you try to overthrow well, you'll find out. Once you select your power then you can start using the release meter and your spin. After you get enough juice in your power meter and your bowlers arm starts its downward motion press your X button and hopefully your ball will be on its way down the alley, or as in my first few tries down the gutter or bouncing off the bumpers. Hint; use the bumpers when you first start out unless you like the sound of balls rolling down the gutter.
Then the fun really begins...As you get hooked, you will want to try hooking the ball next. Your "D" pad will allow you to increase or decrease how much spin you want to apply to each roll of your ball. Believe me you gotta be quick because you have to set that spin control at precisely the right place on the bowling meter or your ball will go drifting either left or right or maybe even not hook at all. Each player has his or her particular skill whether it's accuracy or power you have your choices.
Once you start to get half way decent at this game and graduate to Pin King or Journeyman you can even change your ball coverings to either resin, urethane or plastic. Each one of these balls will help you to apply spin or not.
Animaniacs can be played just for the craziness of the game or it has a more serious side for the accomplished bowler. You get to choose from all your favorite Animaniacs (up to six of these wackos can enter a tournament). There are 4 skill levels, Kid, Rookie, Journeyman, Pin King and there is a 5th skill level for very skilled bowlers only, called the manual bowler. You also have a variety of alleys to choose from such as Ten Pin alley, Wacky alley, Boogie Bowl alley and World Domination Stadium where you are definitely the main attraction.
I like the fact that you have 2 different styles of play, either open bowling or team play. Open play is definitely the hot tip to get you going. This is the second in this series of bowling games from ASC games and while it is definitely geared more for a younger audience I found it to be a lot of fun (just a little bit wacky).
Overall ATPA is a pretty good bowling game. You can play it straight or kooky, it's up to you. There is also a nice little short history of bowling and the hall of fame clip included with the package as well. These little extras can be accessed from the games menu.
Value for Money
Animaniacs: Ten Pin Alley is another good bang for the buck. As I
have said before this is a game that is fun for all ages, but will
primarily appeal to a younger audience whose eye / hand coordination is
probably a bit more adapt than mine anyway.
I liked the game because it because it presented a good challenge for me to kick every ones butt. I enjoyed the fact that each game is fairly quick and you don't have the time to lose your concentration. Each character is also very diverse in their respective skill levels.
really enjoyed playing ATPA. In this crazy rushed world we live in, and
games of slashing and explosions (not that there is anything wrong with
that), it was quite enjoyable to sit down with my 8-year-old son and
play a game that my wife would approve and enjoy playing with us. As I
stated prior, the graphics are quite satisfying too.
This is a game that is pleasing to the eye and with music and sound effects that were right on the money. You can get your bowling shoes out or your slippers, put on your stained shirt, order a pizza and start rolling some strikes!!!