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1-5 Player

Game Type

Ten pin bowling

Mem. Card

Review Date

Dec 1996

Setting the Scene

I suppose it was bound to happen...almost every major (or semi-major) sporting event has been covered on the Playstation, except one...Bowling! Well now this sport has been covered with Ten Pin Alley's arrival. Ten Pin Alley is a really sharp bowling simulation with lot's of options and gameplay value. You start the game with a choice of three difficulty levels (amatuer, journeyman & pro bowler). You get three lanes to choose from and a cast of characters (and I do mean characters) to play as is, or to modify to your liking.


Ten pin bowling


The bowlers are made up from nicely shaded, well animated polygons. While each character is nicely rendered, we are not talking Tekken II detail here. Too bad...Each bowler also has his or her own "signature" style and there are some comical animations thrown in for each bowler at different points in the game (getting a strike, a gutter ball or missing the lanes name a few).

The lanes are VERY nicely detailed. Pin and bowler reflections really add a level of detail that players are sure to appreciate. The pins and ball animations are equally well done. Overall, the graphics do what they should...present a nice solid bowling environment.

Sounds and Effects

Before starting the game, you are presented with a menu option that enables you to select from lounge, rock or no music for your bowling pleasure. I recommend losing the lounge music at all costs. It reminds me of Liberache playing keyboard variations of old time unknown (at least to me) themes. At first this can possibly be good for a laugh, but the novelty wears quickly! The rock music is much better and provides a good, solid backbeat and improves the overall atmosphere of the game. The down side is that the music tends to get a bit repetitive after a few games. It's okay though, and you always have the option of turning of the sound entirely. The sound effects are incredibly accurate. The bowl dropping on the lanes, the pins getting clobbered, the crash of the ball smacking you in the head (yep...) are all done superbly. You are even treated to some slight background mumbling to distract you...just like real bowling.


Hmmm...let's see. As far as an effective bowling sim/game goes, this package delivers...big time. Right from the start of the game you are presented with a wide variety of options. Let's start with the characters. You get to select from a pre-set assortment of bowlers, each with their own attributes and style of play. You can choose to accept that player as is or go in and modify the skin and hair color, ball weight, name, etc. to come up with a bowler that suits you. You can now jump into one of the three bowling alleys (a 50's style, retro and futuristic midnight bowl) and chuck (literally) the ball down the lane...get a strike...well, maybe not a strike, probably more like a gutter ball, or maybe throwing the ball behind you and worse, throwing it up in the air and having it come crashing down on your head. Heck, it's only a 16 lb. ball, go for it! It's up to you! Anyway, the learning curve is minimal (maybe 15, 20 minutes or so to gauge the meters), but to master the game would take awhile, if not forever. The lane characteristics change as the game progresses. The lane oil begins to erode and thus effects the grip of your ball. You can move you character left or right to set them up on the lane for delivery and choose the power and hook of your throw. All this is presented meter style (similar to a golf game) that calls for you to press the button when you think the meter is at the proper level. The ball and pin physics are quite simply amazing. The pins spin, fall and move very realistically. You would think you are watching a game on TV when the ball hits the's that good. You can play three types of games: open bowling, team bowling and tournament mode, all for one to six players. There is also stat tracking for your character during the tournament season. The down side? Well, in the multi-player mode the game is a lot of fun to play. People get hooked right away and really try to improve their game. The one-player mode however may get a little stale after awhile, especially for a non-bowler. Some people will like spending their time trying to improve their game and play through all of the various characters, which in itself offers a lot of replay. Other people however, prefer games that allow you to point, shoot and move. Personally I really enjoyed the game with two or four players, but to be honest I can't see myself sitting there alone trying to improve my bowling average for any great length of time....

Value for Money

You like bowling?? This one is a no brainer...Get It! You won't be sorry. It's truly a lot of fun with multiple players and could prove a challenge in solo mode if you like this sort of thing. Overall, this game is easily the best game in it's class





Lot's of fun with to play and very challenging. A truly unique sports title.








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