In the past week, there have been two reviews of SNK’s Neo Geo games for the PlayStation Network. First, we had Ahmed’s review of Fatal Fury. Overall, he felt Fatal Fury was worth your time and money. Then, we had Phillip’s review of Baseball Stars Professional. According to Phillip, Baseball Stars Professional, which was released in 1990, “hasn’t aged well.” I am lucky number three in the line up to review some SNK Neo Geo games. So, with two SNK Neo Geo games with two very different opinions, here goes nothing!
League Bowling was first released in December of 1990. That would be almost three years after my birth. To put this date in perspective: Super Mario Bros. 3 was released in North America for NES in February 1990; Final Fantasy was released for NES in July, the first in the very popular Final Fantasy series; Mega Man 3 and Dr. Mario were both released in 1990, in addition to the release of Codemaster’s Game Genie – yes, I fucking said Game Genie!
So, now that you understand just how old this game is, let’s get started!
League Bowling? Let’s try, League Boring!
That was rather harsh, wasn’t it? Well, let me take a few steps backwards, and I’ll explain.
Now, I fully understand this a Neo Geo title with little to no changes and upgrades. Fantastic. Well, it has the potential to be fantastic. As with the Baseball Stars Professional title Phillip reviewed, you use one button. Again, that would be the square button. After you choose whether you are left or right handed, you then choose the weight of your ball (ranging from 8 lbs. to 15 lbs.). Then, you move onto the boring part. You are at the lane. A bar appears. As it scrolls back and forth, you choose the angle at which you would like to throw the ball, then another bar appears, which allows you to choose your power level.
Here is my first issue with this game. The first bar, which allows you to choose the direction in which your ball is thrown, is way too sensitive! If you don’t get your bar dead center, expect a gutter ball. Now, at first this was a major pain in my ass. After about 5 frames of gutter balls, I finally got the hang of it. Sadly, getting the gutter balls for 5 consecutive frames and trying to learn the logistics of the game – well, that was the fun part. For the next 5 frames, and the 3 games I played after that, all I did was press the square button, let it show my strike, then hit the square button again. I tried changing the weights of the ball, and switching from left hand to right hand to increase difficulty. Didn’t really do a damn thing!
I said that was my first issue. So, what’s the second? Well, remember when I said you use one button – the square button – well, it would help if they TOLD you it was the square button you were supposed to use. Without actually glancing at the control configuration screen, one would assume, if a game is dedicated to one button, that button would be X. One would also assume, whether is was X, square, circle, triangle, or all four at once – somewhere on the screen, there would be a cute little icon telling you so. Well, League Bowling sticks to its Neo Geo ways by telling you to push “A”. Now, although this was a correct instruction in 1990, it is no longer correct. Thankfully, after hours of button-mashing on Soul Calibur 4, I was able to discover the correct button to use, and thus, button configuration found its spot on my hate list!
Now, I’m not even going to comment on the graphics. As I said before, this game has little to no improvements from 1990 until now. So, as you would expect, it has the graphics of a 1990’s Neo Geo title. And the music is right there with the graphics. I suggest you mute your television!
Honestly, League Bowling was not really a game I enjoyed. I’ve played bowling games on the PS3 that both did and did not utilize the Six Axis controller, and I’ve also played Neo Geo titles in the past, so before playing League Bowling, I had an expectation of a somewhat updated version of a Neo Geo bowling game. Not quite what I got.
But, don’t take my opinion and base yours on it! Go grab League Bowling from the PlayStation Network, play it for a few hours with your friends, and come back here and let me know if you agree or disagree with my thoughts on the game! Until then, I’ll just sit here and wait. Seriously, I’m waiting. Why are you still here? I don’t have all day. Go. Get. Play!