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CRAVE Strike Force Bowling ( Xbox )

 

Platform

Xbox

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Crave Entertainment

 

Developer

Lab Rat Games

 

ESRB

E (Everyone)

 

Released

Q2 2004

 

 

- Kinda cheap budget title
- Interesting terrain
- Playable characters include a Chinese schoolgirl

 

 

- Chinese schoolgirl looks terrible
- Actual gameplay is pretty basic
- Graphics overall are quite bad
- No broken Street Fighter II arcade mini-games? What a sham!

 

 

Review: Secret Weapons Over Normandy (XB)

Review: Space Colony (PC)

 

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Strike Force Bowling

Score: 4.8 / 10

 

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With a name like Strike Force Bowling, I was truly hoping for some sort of extreme version of this forever-revered sport. Unfortunately, the people at Lab Rat Games and Crave Entertainment just set me up for disappointment. It's bowling, all right, dressed up a little bit to distinguish itself, but barely anything more.

Strike Force Bowling's "wackiness" comes from all of the different locations where you bowl. There's the regular bowling alley, as well as a pirate ship, space station, Chinese garden, and a few others. Each has their own goofy theme the Western board has whiskey bottles for pins along with its own font for the menus and a unique brand of elevator music. The characters are meant to be fairly "wacky" too in addition to a few regular bowlers, you get a Chinese schoolgirl, a skeleton, and an alien. The latter two are so amazing that the developers require you to unlock them. The arenas are admittedly pretty gorgeous if all you've been playing for the

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past four years are Dreamcast games, but the character models fail on every level. They're ugly in the saddest of ways, and suffer from terrible animations.

But the true spirit of a bowling game is in its bowling, not its frills, right? The actual lobbing of the ball takes place in four steps. After taking a stance, you pick your aim. Then, you have a Power meter and an Accuracy

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Meter that you have to stop, much like most golfing games. And then you fling the ball, again and again. You can adjust the spin with the triggers, if you wish. And that's pretty much it.

There are at least a few different modes to participate in. There's your standard open play mode, which allows you play with up to three other people, human or computer controlled. There are skins and regular tournaments, as well as golf and challenge modes, both which set up the pins in interesting patterns and requests that you knock them down. The Xbox Live notice on the front cover is mostly a lie, as it's one of those "aware" titles that will show if you're online, but doesn't allow other people to play over the network.

Personally, I've never understood the point of bowling video games, especially when you can just grab a bunch of friends, get all liquored up, and crash the local alley for maybe a few bucks. Technically, it's a somewhat solid game, but it's also lacking anything of real interest, outside of the locales. But just for a moment, let's you have some sort of birth-related condition that obsessively compels you to buy a bowling game. I'd say that money would be better spent towards a psychiatrist, but those bastards are so expensive nowadays.

Despite this being a sub-$20 budget game, you'd probably be better off just grabbing Super Monkey Ball for the GameCube and play the bowling mini-game, which actually does offer enough challenges to make it interesting. Despite its attempt to seem way far-out, Strike Force Bowling is really just a badly window dressed, thoroughly average sports game.

- Kurt Kalata
(July 21, 2004)

 

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