Even if you are not a fan of golf or even sports, chances are you have heard of Tiger Woods -- he is currently tearing up the PGA circuit. Well, a few years back, Electronic Arts managed to sign him to an exclusive videogame deal. This is the second PSX game put out by EA sporting the Tiger Woods name, only this time around things are a bit less serious. If you are looking for a realistic golf simulation, you can stop reading now because this ain't it.
CyberTigeris best described as extreme golf. The ball can be steered in the air after shots. You can win powerups that will effect your ball in different ways. You can play a career as Tiger Woods that has him starting off young and as you win tournaments he gets older. Throw in all of the usually other modes of golf games and what you have is a fairly entertaining game that just does not have the great gameplay of Hot Shots Golf or Mario Golf.
I hesitate to compare this game to Hot Shots Golf or Mario Golf because the thing that made those games so great was the realistic physics and game engine behind them. Sure, your characters had small bodies and big heads and the courses looked cartoonish, but you can't deny the fact that these games played like dead-on golf sims for the most part. CyberTiger does not follow the laws of physics or all of the rules of golf but it does not pretend to. The game is very much up front about the fact that it is pure arcade action and not a simulation. If you are looking for a sim, I believewill be coming out around the first of the year.
The funny thing about this game is that they took one of my biggest complaints with Tiger Woods 99 and made it one of the focal points of this game. You can steer and add spin to the ball after you have already hit it. Just hearing that, you would think that I must have hated this game. Well, that is not the case. The reason I complained about it in Tiger Woods 99 was because the game was trying to be a realistic golf simulation and to have the ability to alter the direction of a ball after it was hit was absolutely unrealistic. This ruined the game for me. I have a feeling the people at EA heard this complaint from a number of people but really thought it was a cool idea to have the abiluity to control the ball in flight but also understood that it was unrealistic so the idea of CyberTiger was born. This ability is an option toggle but I actually liked playing with it on because this is what the developers had in mind when developing the game.
Even though you have the ability to direct your ball in mid-flight, the range of correction is limited. You will not be able to make huge corrections to the path but let's just say that if you shank the ball off of the tee, you can usually still steer the ball into a relatively safe position. One repercussion of using this is that the distance of your shot will be reduced if you correct the ball in flight so you drive will drop shorter than it otherwise would have. Plus, you can only control the ball if you are hitting off of the tee or in the fairway. If you are in the rough or sand, you are stuck with your shot. The more I played the game, the more I became reliant on this ability to correct the shot.
Another aspect of this game that makes me classify it as extreme golf is the fact that you can earn powerups during play. For example, if you hit three birdies in a row, you are awarded with a special type of ball. There are eight different types of powerup balls you can get. First is the Super ball, which adds extra bounce to the ball when it lands. Next is the Eyeball, which makes the ball go exactly where it was aimed. Then you can get a Mulligan ball, which allows you a free mulligan on the hole. Next is the Power ball, which gives you extra distance on the drive. Another ball is the Ghost ball, which allows your ball to travel through any obstacle on the course without actually hitting it. Next you have the Mystery ball, which is a random choice of any of the other balls. There is also the Spin ball, which gives extra spin control and the Gum Ball which makes the shot stick exactly where it lands. I thought these different balls were a neat addition to the game and they really made me think out all of my different options before I took a shot.
The game has all of the modes you would expect from a golf game. You can play stroke, skins, tournament and others. One thing that is neat is that there is a driving range which allows you to practice shooting from different terrains. There are targets set up in the range and if you hit one of the targets, you are awarded with one of the above-mentioned powerup balls. There are also other skill challenges that, once you master in the driving range, will help you on the course. It is rare that you find such a useful practice area in a game.
There were a few things that I just did not really like in this game. First and foremast had to be the putting. They did a great job by adding a neat feature that actually exaggerates the terrain so you can get a good idea of the way the course breaks but the putting still ticked me off. Why, you ask? Because it was just so damn sensitive. I can't tell you how many putts I left at the rim of the cup just like the brakes were slammed on before toppling into the cup. If I tried to compensate by hitting it harder, the ball would naturally bounce over the hole. Now, I will say that I got better at compensating for this but it still reared its ugly head from time to time. Trust me when I tell you there is little worse than taking that shot for birdie only to have the ball stop two pixels away from the hole.
Another thing that I did not really like about the game was that, on occasion, I would get in a spot where I could not see the hole. Hell, most of the time I had no idea which direction the hole even was. One of the neatest features of Hot Shots Golf was that you could hit a button and the flag would come at you so you knew exactly which direction the hole was. In this game, it was a pure guesswork.
The graphics in this game were pretty decent; I did not think they were great but they were good. The courses looked good and the terrain was realistic. I think the one thing that they may have stumbled on was the terrain exaggeration when putting. If you hit this button, the greens are much easier to read, which is usually a complaint I have with golf games. This is something I would not mind seeing in all future golf games.
I really did not like this game much when I first started playing it but the more I played the more it grew on me. If you take this game for what it is, you will have some fun with it but the putting will show you the meaning of frustrated. Maybe it was just me but man, if I could pull the Happy Gilmore putter throw, I would have. While I really don't want to compare this game to Hot Shots (even though I have been throughout the review), I still think Hot Shots is a much more fun golfing game and experience.