You know you're in for a treat when you're playing a game that can't even properly decide what it's called. AMF Xtreme Bowling (or AMF Xtreme Bowling 2006, depending on whether you're reading the front of the box, the back of the box, or the title screen) is an awfully standard bowling game with a few basic modes.
The "Xtreme" part of the game comes into play when you're selecting which alley you'd like to bowl on. You can choose from a handful of different locations, and you're also given the choice between a regular lane and an Xtreme lane, which, as anyone who's been in a bowling alley on a Saturday night recently probably knows, is the same lane, but the lights are turned out and some joker has hung up black lights and neon and stuff.
The bowling itself is roughly identical to all the other bowling action we've seen on consoles for the past several years. You aim your shot, then start up a golf-swing-style meter to determine power and accuracy. The physics of the ball motion and pins seems OK, though occasionally a pin will take a reasonably hard hit from a ball and stay up.
Additionally, the game appears to model oil dispersion on the lane. You can choose from a handful of different oil patterns. No oil at all lets you set up one shot and hit it over and over again, making perfect games almost trivial. Putting different oil on the lane is supposed to have an impact on your game, but bowling a game full of strikes with the "very difficult" oil on the lane felt just as easy as it did when there was no oil at all, even when using a newly created bowler with no accuracy points at all.
Your bowler of choice will also have some sort of impact on how you play. The game has plenty of fictional bowlers with different appearances and statistics, though you can also create your own with a surprisingly robust player editor that even includes key bowler-attribute sliders such as "back flab" and "belly."
The game's different modes are mostly just slightly different takes on the same thing. You can play a practice game, get into a quick match, start a league or tournament for up to eight players, and so on. There's also a challenge mode that has you trying to knock down increasingly difficult pin placements in one shot.
Visually, the game's a little drab. It's kind of washed out, and the bowlers don't look very good on the lane. They animate reasonably well, though, and the lanes themselves look OK. The game does have widescreen support, though, which is almost surprising, given the budget nature of the rest of the game's looks. The audio is generic, consisting mostly of repetitive and unremarkable music that sounds like it came off of a royalty-free CD.
The game does shine in one particular spot, though perhaps for the wrong reasons. Whenever anything interesting happens on the lanes, such as a gutter-ball, a strike, or a spare, the game quickly cuts to a short and incredibly goofy animated video that features silhouetted girls writhing around for a couple of seconds. It struck us as funny, that's all. But aside from that, this is a really standard bowling game that you'll master almost immediately. It's not worth your time or money, even at its budget price.