Brunswick Circuit Pro Bowling 2 Review

By: John Doe

Bowling games fall right into my diatribe concerning other "sports" (cough, cough) videogames like golf and fishing. Why do these really exist? Can't the majority of us go out fishing, golfing or bowling? I know most of us can't go out and have some fun in the NHL, NBA, NFL or take on Tyson on a whim at Caesar's Palace, but to have to live vicariously through a bowling game? How long before there are video game, video games? Where you control a guy or girl who is playing an on screen video game, instead of really playing one yourself, which you are anyway, but that's besides the point!


Graphically, this game is simply a disaster. With all the games recently that have pushed the visual limits of the Playstation, this game just looks like a joke. The bowlers themselves look blocky and ill defined and their animations are just terrible. There is a horrible amount of slowdown, especially considering that the only thing on the screen is a bowling ball, a lane, and your character. And the crowd is a completely stationary blob of fat people that would almost be funny if it weren't so damn pathetic. Going back to the character animation, there actually isn't even much in the game besides the bowler rolling the ball, and the laughably bad "victory dances". Overall the graphics and animation are glaringly below the current standard on the PSX.

Luckily, the sound and music aren't nearly as bad. The sound effects are very ho-hum, but they get the job done. The ball rolling down the alley sounds like it should, and when the pins get hit it sounds like real pins getting hit by a real ball. The music is actually a welcome surprise, with an eclectic mix of everything from 70's funk and R&B, hip-hop, and 60's go-go music. The music is probably the best thing Brunswick Circuit's got going for it, as it keeps the game's pace moving along well, spicing things up considerably.

The first thing you notice when you knock down a few pins in this game is that the physics of the ball and pins is fantastic. The pins go down just like they would in a real bowling alley, with realistic spinning, bouncing, and movement until they finally get knocked over. There is quite a wide variety of game modes, including Tournament, Team Play, Skins Game, Skills Challenge, Pro Career, Amateur Career, and Cosmic Bowl, so you probably won't get bored too easily. Skills challenge is probably the most challenging and amusing, allowing you to knock down variable formations of pins and hone your skills. Other than the Skills Challenge, the others are pretty much bowling as usual, with basically the same formation of pins and rules throughout.

One feature that sounds nifty on paper but doesn't work very well at all in practice is the Create-A-Player mode. You choose either a male or female, than you choose from various faces, and bodies, clothes, and eyewear, and voila, you have your "custom" character. But it ends up being fairly useless, since almost all the characters end up looking very similar, and very blocky and ugly. And the entire thing ends up being a moot point anyway, since you really can't tell the difference between characters at the lane because the graphics are so poor.

Overall, I wouldn't recommend this title unless you are a big bowling fan, and can look past its sloppy visual presentation. There are plenty of modes and options, so a die-hard bowler would have a ball, well, literally. But I would definitely recommend renting this one before you even consider buying it.






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