10TH FRAME / Access / PC

The first thing that strikes you about this rather aged bowling game is the ugly 4-color CGA graphics with an overuse of red - this was released in 1987, and they really should have gone with 16-color EGA (with a CGA option for the slow computers) like most other games of the time.

If you can get past the garish graphics, this one offers up simple hot-seat turn-based bowling. Modes of play are pretty limited - select "open" for a quick game, or "league" to track stats over multiple games with a group of players.

The gameplay is pretty much reduced to aiming a cursor and stopping a series of 2 sliding bars - one goes up for power, the other down for "hook".  The "hook" bar is really the weakness here - first of all, the layout of it is not intuitive at all, and it's too hard to stop accurately to get a centered shot. More often than not you find yourself spinning the ball into the gutter. If you *do* get the hang of it, the game becomes too easy as you'll get a strike without having to change positions every single time.

Gameplay in bowling games actually never really advanced much beyond this, but the sliding meter in this one is just too frustrating to deal with and it's hard on the eyes. Surprisingly, the one minor saving grace is the rather fluid animation of the bowler and the pins being knocked down and reset.

Videos :

Gameplay Video
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