Hot Shots Golf

a game by Camelot Software Planning, and SCEA
Platforms: Playstation PSX
Genre: Sports
Editor Rating: 8/10, based on 4 reviews
User Rating: 8.0/10 - 2 votes
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Hot Shots Golf
Hot Shots Golf
Hot Shots Golf
Hot Shots Golf

A couple years have passed, and the slate of golf simulations on 32-Bit console systems has been consistently unimpressive. Perhaps what is needed is a golf game that doesn't take itself so seriously. Enter Hot Shots Golf.

Originally created in Japan (where it sold more than a million copies), Hot Shots Golf is a cute game that stresses fun and simplicity over mind-numbing realism. However, this is not to say that there is no merit to the game as a simulation. Although shot power, ball spin, wind and selecting the right club are all important, Hot Shots Golf tries to present them in as painless a way as possible.

The feel of the game is lighthearted, as illustrated by the cartoony golfers and the minigolf holes that are also available. Packed with features, Hot Shots allows players to wage bets on holes, train their golfer, and use six different play modes. One of these is a "VS Mode" that allows you to "acquire" your opponent for play after you beat him or her (there are 10 in all).

With unique features, and the strength of over a million overseas sales behind it, Hot Shots Golf could be the game that makes console fun again.

  • MANUFACTURER - SCEI/Camelot
  • THEME - Sport
  • NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4

Download Hot Shots Golf

Game Reviews

A huge hit in Japan, Hot Shots Golf is setting up on American tees with its unique brand of arcade-style golf. If you can put up with the game's kiddie look, you'll uncover an enjoyable, action-packed day at the links. Players select from six fantasy courses and ten munchkin-sized golfers, then swing away on what are easily the best-looking courses in PlayStation golf. The phenomenally fast loading times and intuitive controls give the game a slick action feel that should appeal to a much broader audience than PGA Tour '98 did.

Lacking name recognition or even normal-sized players, Hot Shots Golf may at first seem destined for the bin marked "mediocre." But this fun, challenging golf game has an engine that the pros would be proud of and all the makings of a legendary link-splitter.

It's a Small World

At first glance, it's hard to take Hot Shots Golf seriously. The players are squat and cartoony with a clean, anime-ish 3D rendering that makes them look almost rubbery, while the sound effects are straight from Saturday morning kids' shows.

Before you turn up your nose at the game's youthful approach, play a round or two. You'll be amazed to find a very powerful game that contains precise golf physics, demands <m expert's touch, and could even some teach diehard pros a thing or two. The course graphics are simply the best in PlayStation golf, racking up eagles with beautiful terrain and phenomenally fast load times.

That's not to say the game is without flaws. It'll take you a solid hour or two of practice to get into the swing of things, and even then you'll discover looney effects, like air drafts that lift the ball and plaee it randomly on the eourse.

The sounds could have used some adult supervision. Scoring a birdie will get you a cuckoo, and the audience moan when you miss a close shot sounds orgasmic at best. But the solid sound of a ball being hammered or the thud of it hitting the green will make up for those shortcomings.

A Hole in Fun

Sony also added a few fun options to attraet fence-sitters who've never played a golf game before. There's a miniature golf course, a few lessons on topspin and bottomspin techniques, and hidden characters and courses--along with the normal match, tournament, and stroke options.

But Hot Shots doesn't shoot for the moon. The game's depth lands a few courses short of a full golf game, delivering a respectable live courses, but none of the pro players or other niceties of PGA Tour '98. And once you figure out how to compensate for variables like wind physics, bunkers, and the rough, you'll find yourself wanting more. If you can live without the pro licenses, and the idea of fast, fun, accessible golf intrigues you, schedule a tee time with this impressive game.

ProTips:

  • The most important factor when lining up your shot is windspeed. Since you don't know what it is until after your first shot, throw grass like a pro (tap R2)--the ferocity and direction of the wind will be very apparent.
  • Use bottomspin when you want the hall to stay where it lands. Be careful, though--on really long, powerful drives, the hall will actually spin and roll backwards.
  • On putts, always compensate for the curvature of the green. Even if the indicator says "Flat," it only applies to the area around the hole, not the distance of your putt.
  • When it rains, you have to putt the ball harder than normal. The soaked green will dramatically effect the speed of your shot.
  • Always overshoot the hole and underscore the ball's power when the green is fronted by a water hazard.
  • Use top spin when you want the ball to land and roll. This is especially helpful when your shot comes a few yards short of the hole. Topspin will also hug the fairway, driving under the wind current.

Overview

If there is one type of game that the PC has going for it over the PSX it has to be golf. We have been stuck playing the slow PGA Tour 98 and the average VR Golf 97. This is not much to choose from when compared to the awesome number of PC golf games. Luckily we may never need another golf game thanks to Hot Shots Golf.

Hot Shots Golf is not like any other golf game you have seen before. All of the true ball physics, shots, spins, fades and slices are here but it just looks slightly different from a traditional golf game. You have 6 courses available and 10 characters if you can unlock them all. Every mode you can imagine and an 18 hole miniature golf course will keep you playing for hours and hours.

Gameplay

Look, let's get right down to it. I love this game. For some reason, I love golf games period. I can't stand watching golf on TV but you will not be able to pry the controller out of my hand when I start playing video golf. Up to now I have been stuck either playing the slug slow PGA Tour 98 or heading to the PC (it is rare that I will ever admit to using the PC for games but I had no choice!) to get my golfing fix. Now I have everything that I could ever want out of a golf game and it is on the PSX... Excellent!

I guess I need to do a little explaining about why I like this game so much, aside from the fact that there is just slim pickins for golf games. To be honest I think that this is one of those games that you just start playing and before you know it the clock hits 2 am. The game has a number of things that it does right but there are two things that really stick out in my head that make it a winner.

The first thing that it does right is that it is easy to play. Once again, I don't mean that the competition is easy. I mean that the controls are easy. The game uses a three button shot selection system. This means that you press the button one time to start the swing strength meter. When the bar in the swing strength meter reaches the desired swing strength, you press the button again to select the strength. The bar then starts to descend back towards the starting position. You will hit the button for the third time when the bar is in the proper location to select the direction. This is all pretty standard stuff for golf games but what makes it better in this game is the ease in which you can stop the bar in the position you desire. How many times in other golf games have you known how hard and where you want to hit the ball but can't execute it on the swing meter? Sure it happens in this game too but it is your own fault.

The second thing that is good about this game is that it is fast. You will rarely find yourself waiting for the holes to load. Sure there is a little bit of loading but it is minimal compared to the other PSX golf games. It was nice to sit down and play a quick 18 holes. In golf, I tend to find myself getting into a groove and when I have to wait 30 seconds between holes for the game to load it really throws me off. Not a problem in this game.

This game is packed with different gameplay modes and the old saying "you don't get nothing for free" is sure the truth. You can play stroke play where up to four players can compete for the lowest total score. You can try match play, which is a two player competition based on the number of holes you win. Thirdly, you can play a tournament. This is a one player mode against a full field of golfers to get the lowest score on 18 holes. Finally you can play the VS mode. This is the same as match play except it is against the computer. This is where the nothing for free saying comes in to play. When you start the game, you only have access to two of the 10 available players. You have to beat the rest of the players in the VS mode to have access to them. It starts off easy enough but when you get towards the end, it becomes a real challenge to beat the players.

Another cool thing about this game is that you only start with one course and have to earn the access to the other five courses. I know that this sounds like you will be playing on one course for a long time until you earn the second course but it will only take you a few games to unlock the second course. Once you have the second open, it will not take too long to open up the third. The best part about it is the way that you open up the courses. You earn points for doing certain things. For example, if you play in the tournament mode and win, you will be awarded a number of points depending on the tournament you play. Also, during the tournament you can win points by shooting for birdies, eagles, holes-in-one, etc. There are a ton of different ways to score points during a game. This made the game fun because even if you are losing, you can still work up your points. This was a great idea.

Do I have any complaints about the game? Sure I do, but they are not worth stopping you from purchasing the game. First off, the characters are very cartoon looking. The game play is real enough but I think people will have a tough time taking it too seriously since your character has a disproportionately sized head. My only complaint about the gameplay was with the putting. First, I had a real tough time reading the break of the green. It was a total crap shoot most of the time especially on long shots. Also, the putting was pretty forgiving. You had to really overhit the ball to overshoot the hole. There was also a lot of swirl around the hole and drop shots. It also would have been nice to have a line indicating where you had the ball lined up. It was a bit hard to tell where you were putting especially on the miniature golf course.

Graphics

Like I said at the beginning, this is not like any other golf game you have seen before. This is not a bad thing but it is just a different thing. First off, the players are all cartoon looking. They are really short and have large heads. I did not have a problem with it but if you are a golf purist and are looking for a PGA simulation than you may not like it. As far as the looks of the courses, they also look a bit cartoonish but I really liked it. It gave the game a less serious feel but it still looked great.

Bottom Line

I recommend this game to anyone. I think that if you play a few holes you will be hooked. After you become hooked, you will be obsessed (at least I was) with unlocking all of the other characters and courses. Before long, you will have your favorite courses, players and shots. If you are looking for some good fun with the underlying complexity of real golf with a thick candy shell, Hot Shots Golf will satisfy.

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