10th Frame (US Gold) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

10th Frame
By U. S. Gold
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #36

10th Frame

When it comes to sports simulations, authenticity can be a drawback. This ten pin bowling game replaces the tedious features of the game while failing to exploit the excitement of the actual game. Tedious realistic features include a painfully long wait while the machine at the end of the lane sweeps away knocked over pins. Authenticity could certainly have been sacrificed to avoid the pauses, especially as even during the action this game is still in the slow lane.

Controls are keyboard only and there is no computer opponent so you've either got to be content on improving your own score over the three difficulty levels or strongarm some friends into joining in (up to eight players).

The skill factor comes in during the aiming and throwing of the ball, direction is selected with a cursor and speed and accuracy by testing your reactions on a moving bar diagram at the bottom left of the screen. This indicator also determines the amount of "hook" you put on the ball. A bad error of judgement means that the ball will generally spin into the gutter about a third of the way down the alley.

Mastering the refinements of the game takes some time but once you've accomplished that it becomes very much like top level darts, it's more of a surprise when you miss than when you hit the target. Even when you get a strike, it's very low key - no flashing lights or whistles.

The animation, such as it is, is good and the graphics are fair and, although it will suit those who are ten pin bowling fanatics, the impulse buyer may find it repetitous and overpriced.