Nintendo TBD -- When Mario's not saving Princess Toadstool, he likes to kick back, grab a soft drink, and hit the links with his buddies. And you can join him in this update to the N64 arcade-style sports game, also called Mario Golf. Mario's been workin' on his power swing, as evidenced by this front and back shot of him giving a ball a thwack. Take that, Tiger Woods.
Download Mario Golf
No surprise here, Mario Golf is as good as I thought it would be. How could it go wrong, it uses the same game engine as Hot Shots Golf. It really is very nice. If you've played Hot Shots you'll understand what I'm talking about. Spot-on physics, a silky-smooth frame-rate and loads of Mario family characters form the backbone of this gem. As you'd expect, they all have their strengths and weaknesses off the tee. In the end, Mario and Wario offer the best power and straight driving ability. Plum, Peach, Baby Mario and a few others just can't compare for power. Opening up courses (six) and characters (14) keeps the drive alive. Even moreso, you'll need Mario Golf for the Game Boy Color to open up the last two characters. Game modes include some pretty challenging stuff. The Rings Game requires precise aiming and just the right touch. Beyond that, a cool mini-golf mode challenges your knowledge of geometry--bank shots galore. Not much to complain about except for the confusing aiming system. By way of a grid, it factors in lie with and without the wind factor. Sometimes it's tough to tell which is which, no big deal though. Mario Golf should be required for all N64 owners. It's the kind of game everyone can learn and get interested in. Multiplayer is great fun. taunts and all. What more can I say except buy this game.
I figured console golf games couldn't get much better than Hot Shots Golf. And then this thing came along--from the same developer--and raised the bar, if only a little bit. Mario Golf is a mega-fun golf game for folks who maybe ain't too hot on the snooty sport. Like Hot Shots, it packs easy-to-use interfaces and addictive gameplay, and it's best played with pais. You get several nifty play modes. Of course, all the Mario characters don't hurt, either.
Mario Golf is basically Mot Shots Golf wrapped in video gaming's most popular character designs. That being said, the game is extremely accessible, and fun. The initial learning curve exists, but it mostly has to do with calculating distances. Curiously enough, a lot of emphasis is put on taunting other players with sound samples. After a while, it gets really unbearable. Another nitpick is the presence of non-Mario characters really dilutes the Nintendo license. Too bad.
Ah...golf...a sport made tolerable for me only through a video game medium. It's made more tolerable (and actually a bit fun) if it gets a lighthearted theme, as is the case here. Mario Golf is a solid title that should appease young and old players alike. It's easy to get into, yet it has enough realism to draw in fans of the real thing. This game is better suited for multiple players, but 18 hole-only courses mean you'll be in for some very long matches.
Take a load of cute Nintendo characters, give 'em golf clubs and toss in the game engine from Hot Shots and you're virtually guaranteed a great title. In a nutshell that's exactly what Camelot and Nintendo did, only with more game modes and variety.
It's ironic that two lighthearted golf games, Hots Shots and now Mario Golf, have the most realistic golf physics of any in the genre past or present. It's weird but true, and Mario Golf is poised to take it even higher.
Beyond stiffer winds and the havoc they cause, gameplay is similar to Hot Shots. A friendly interface puts the right club in your hands plus aligns the shot. At that point, back-spin, wind compensation and nailing the shot meter are the only immediate variables outside of the power shot option. Essentially the game demands the same precise ball control that real golf requires.
For variety, each of the characters (14 total) has a flaw of some sort, except for Mario, of course. Wario has great distance off the tee but slices. Baby Mario hits very straight but not very far. Charlie hits far but has a slight hook. Luckily, shortcomings in control can be compensated for in the power meter. And, while some characters like the Princess, Baby Mario and Plum (to name a few) are weaker on the regular rounds, their dead-on straight shots work well on the mini-golf courses.
In addition to new characters, you can open up extra courses. Toad Forrest and Koopa Park (both beginner courses) offer standard greens and fairways. Boo Valley, Yoshi Valley and Mario Star feature undulating turf, cloud perched greens and incredibly challenging terrain. A variety of strategies can be applied to all six courses. Sometimes shooting over trees on the dog-leg or applying massive back-spin to a power shot are wise moves. Transversely, going at every situation with straight shots can work as well. It's a tribute to the game's stellar physics and gameplay.
Multiplayer is the most rewarding way to play. Whether on the mini-courses, Skins, Rings or Speed play, going head-to-head is great fun. Each player has four annoying taunts (plus four more cheers) for distraction purposes. If they don't drive you crazy it's quite fun to use the entire game.
It's safe to say Mario Golf is destined to become the top golf game for the N64.
- MANUFACTURER - Camelot
- THEME - Sports
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
- Theme: Sports
- Difficulty: Moderate
- Number of Players: 1-2
- Available: December 1991
Hole in one
You've seen him bashing blocks, tormenting turtles, killing Koopas and playing doctor, but now and then Mario likes to take some time off and relax with a round of golf. However, this version is much more detailed than other NES versions, and you will find the layout of the holes extremely challenging and worthy of any pro. Take on the best courses in the world and go up against computer players who play like they have been taught by the professionals.
Some features that set this cart above other golf games are the three dimensional perspective screen shots that appear when the ball is near the hole, a choice of a full set of clubs, and adjustments which allow you to control the speed of your swing and the angle at which you want to hit the ball.
These course will give up very few birdies and then only to the experienced players. Definitely a game which you'll come back for more and more!
With a big brother like Mario Golf on the N64, the Game Boy version could hardly fail to be a bit special. And not only does it have the same control system and a virtually identical gameplay style, it also includes an absolutely fantastic RPG mode in which you groom a young rookie for stardom.
In fact we were amazed by just how much stuff is crammed into the cart. It's every bit as varied as the N64 version, perhaps even more so when you consider the number of places to visit and people to talk to, and that's a phenomenal achievement for a Game Boy title. Things like the putting green and ring shot modes are replaced by skill challenges set by the various characters you'll bump into along the way, and the experience points you earn for completing them can be swapped between the N64 and GB (or at least you will be able to when the transfer pak is released over here). The clubhouse where you start has plenty of interesting people who'll offer hints and tips, plus a champions' table where you can challenge one of four top professionals to an ego- boosting duel. Other golfers on the practice areas will help you brush up on your skills, and as you get better at die game you'll open up new routes in the overworld outside.
The dinky Harvest Moon-style graphics work perfectly, making the four standard courses look very crisp and believable. You can scroll around them to judge where to aim your shot, and there's an optional 3D view available when you're ready to start your swing. Ifs all beautifully done, even better than we expected, and, along with Mario Deluxe, one of the best reasons to buy a GB Color.
Although you're not going to mistake Mario for Greg Norman, you may want to pick up Mario Golf--the game's physics and solid gameplay will make it an instant favorite of fairway fans everywhere.
Itsa Tee, Mario
What Mario offers over other titles in its genre is enormously fun golfing with a variety of modes to satisfy everyone from the weekend golfer to the maniacal miniature-putthead. Fashioned very effectively after Hot Shots Golf for the PlayStation (both were developed by Camelot Software), Mario putts you on six courses in ten modes, including a putting green/obstacle course, straight play, and skins. You choose from one of four characters, but you also unlock 14 additional personalities, including Luigi, Mario, Yoshi, and others. Some characters, however, have to be transferred from the Game Boy Color version of Mario Golf to the N64 version (at press time, this feature was still in the planning stages).
You'll also accumulate points awarded for shots closest to the pin, eagles, and other accomplishments to unlock more courses.
How Green Is Your Valley?
Mario's graphics are almost too cute for their own good, featuring classic N64 shapes and colors and lots of references to other Mario games, like the giant red and green koopa shells on the fairways. The course layouts include all the standards, such as water hazards, sand traps, and dog legs.
Sound effects fill out the experience with funny noises and taunts. Much like Hot Shots Golf, you can call out phrases while your opponent is teeing off. All the other effects are solid, right down to the satisfying smack of the nine iron hitting the ball.
Controlling the arc, pitch, slice, and power of your swing will take practice, but mastering the fundamental controls certainly isn't brain surgery. A meter for power, the trigger for english on the golf ball, and the analog to aim your shot are all you need.
Putt Your Money Where Your Mario Is
Mario Golf 64 is a great time on the greens, sporting fluid control, pleasant graphics, and enjoyable music and sound effects. You couldn't ask for a better tee time than Mario Golf.
- If you think you'll overshoot a hole, aim low on the ball to create backspin.
- The wind speed is near the ghost in the upper-right corner. Don't trust it. A more accurate meter is the flag in the upper-left comer.
- Use the extra-power enhancement on long par-5 holes. You may reach the green in two strokes.
- On high-wind holes, aim at the top of the ball to keep it dose to the green.
- Power up more to putt In the rain: Wet grass slows the ball dramatkally.
- Although the computer chooses your club, you should change it whenever you're within 15 meters of the hole. (Try the putter.)
Pleasing graphics, humorous references to other Mario games, and smooth texturing keep Mario one stroke ahead of Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics. It would've been nice to play as someone over three feet tall, though.
Although the cutesy voices get annoying, the other effects are crystal clear. The music flows nicely in the background.
It takes some time, but it never gets too hard or complicated to play golf in this game. The only drawback Is some slightly imprecise analog putting.