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Mario Golf

Rated E for Everyone

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

Nintendo

Developer:

Camelot Software Planning

Released:

July 1999

ROM Size:

128 megabits

Players:

One to Four Alternating

Genre:

Sports (Golf)

Save:

Cartridge (4 slots)

Optional:

Rumble Pak, Transfer Pak

 

 

> Final Rating: 4.3 out of 5.0

Introduction

Is there anything this plumber can't do? He can race go-karts, he can party, and he can fight with the best. In his early days, golf used to be a hobby, but it's been a while since his last outing. Now with the help of Camelot Software Planning, developers of Hot Shots Golf for the PlayStation, Mario and a cast of friends are ready to tee it up in the most entertaining game of golf around.

Gameplay & Control

Mario Golf is true to Nintendo's philosophy of making a fun, easy-to-play, yet mostly realistic game. The game features characters from the Nintendo universe along with some original characters that don't quite fit. The courses, which slowly get more crazy and less realistic as they get more advanced, were also created with distinguishing characteristics from the world of Mario. As you play more frequently, you'll notice the little touches even more.

 

With video game representations of golf, the swing mechanics often make or break the game. Fortunately, the swing mechanics in Mario Golf are intuitive and easy to master. First, you must look at the wind and then compensate for that and any draw or fade with your aim. Second, you can choose between a normal and power shot. Each character has a limited number of power shots (about six) that should be used in the right situations.

 

Finally, there is a three-step horizontal swing meter. The A button starts the meter. You press it a second time when it reaches the estimated, desired power range. And the A button is pressed a third time in the "meet area." The more precise you are, the longer and more straight the shot will be. As a final note, there are numerous ways to view each hole and the angle to the pin with the C group and the R and Z buttons. Successful play starts with proper alignment.

 

Many modes of play are available in Mario Golf. The following is a list of one-player modes: Tournament, Get Character, Ring Shot, Speed Golf, Stroke, Mini-Golf, and Training. The multi-player modes are Stroke, Skins Match, Club Slots, and Mini-Golf. Match Game is also available for two players only.

 

The Tournament mode lets one player compete against many computer opponents. Doing well in this mode is by far the fastest way to open new courses. In the Get Character mode, you compete against an unopened character in match play. If you defeat this character, you can use him or her in any mode. This is important because there are only four characters to start with in the one-player modes.

 

Ring Shot is a new approach to golf. Its challenge lies in the fact that you have to shoot the ball through rings hovering above the course—and still par the hole. The purpose of Speed Golf is to finish a round of 18 as fast as possible while getting the best score possible. Training is a comprehensive mode that lets you go out on a driving range or play any hole on any course already opened. You can change the weather and re-hit single strokes.

 

Stroke Play, which is for one to four players, is a competition in which the fewest strokes wins. You can bet and set handicaps here (and in a few other modes), too. Mini-Golf, also for one to four players, is basically miniature golf. Rather than feature different structures and obstructions, the courses are shaped like letters and numbers. Pool-esque aim and banks are required to achieve par.

 

These final three modes are for two to four players only. Match Game is actually only for two players. In this, the player with the best score on each hole gets a point. The game can end early if the player cannot claim victory even by winning all remaining holes. With the Skins Match, the person who completes the hole in the fewest strokes gets a skin. If there's a tie, the skin is carried over. The Club Slots mode can be considered strange. A slot machine determines which woods, long irons, and short irons you can use. (The putter is always available.) This can make for some tough situations.

 

For all the seemingly strange modes of play and Mario-esque additions, Mario Golf is actually quite realistic. The physics are spot-on, and there are numerous subtle techniques for even more control. Golf fans need not worry about the nature of the game. Furthermore, a built-in EEPROM chip saves tournament statistics, best Speed Golf times, Ring Shot status, best shots, VS. records, and more. You even can save three games in progress. Options-wise, you have a few camera and sound choices and not much else.

Graphics & Sound

In line with other Mario games, Mario Golf is bright, colorful, and solid. There's nothing spectacular graphically here, but the dynamic camera does a fine job, the character animation is decent, and the surroundings are mostly devoid of clipping and pop-up. Aurally, Mario Golf is good. The background music is typical Mario, but it's unobtrusive. The sound effects are realistic, from the clink of a pin to the sound of pounding rain. All the characters have speech, too, including some heckling.

Conclusion

Nintendo has done it again. Mario Golf takes the sport and makes it more entertaining while retaining realism. Both golf fans and non-golf fans alike will find the game highly enjoyable. With a wealth of modes, there is plenty to do for one to four players. Unlike Mario Party, however, Mario Golf is stronger in its one- and two-player modes instead of its multi-player modes. At any rate, Mario Golf is a worthy addition to any gamer's library.

 

Graphics:

3.9

Sound:

3.7

Control:

4.5

Gameplay:

4.5

Lastability

4.4

OVERALL:

4.3

 

DOWN THE ROAD

Not available.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: February 8, 2000

Appendix Added: N/A

 

 

 

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