Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics
Golf was once described by Oscar Wilde as 'a good walk spoiled'.
If you're one of the many people who agrees with this sentiment, then you probably won't even bother reading this review, and we wouldn't blame you. After all, what do you get if take the 'good walk' away? 'Spoiled'.
Anyway, what we're trying to say is that one of the most positive features of golf as a sport is the chance to wander in the bright sunshine through some gorgeous greenbelt and enjoy the fresh air. Take away the exercise, fresh air and greenery and shove it all inside a TV and... well, it's going to lose something.
Now don't get us wrong, we know that not everyone hates golf, and there are some pretty good golf games out there if you're into that kind of thing. It's just that up till now none of them have been on the N64. Actually, better make that none of them are on the N64.
Its Golf... Need We Say 71 More?
Augusta Masters '98 has used digitised characters rather than polygons. While this means that the golfers themselves look rather nice, it unfortunately seems to have left very little memory for other features. The crowd are basically barely-formed lumps of colour, while the trees are disturbingly two-dimensional.
On the subject of the trees, you'd think that if you hit a small round object at over 100 miles per hour through a few leaves, then occasionally it might manage to pass through, wouldn't you? Not in this game! It seems that even one solitary leaf has the stopping power of a solid brick wall.
Distances in the game are depicted in both yards and feet, which is confusing if you've grown up with the metric system, plus the game switches between the two apparently at random. This makes it difficult to work out the various power ratios needed over different distances.
The control system, on the other hand, is one of the better features of the game, and it's fairly self-explanatory and thus straightforward to learn. Which, considering that all the game instructions are in Japanese, is fairly important.
After checking your club, stance and position on the ball, the power gauge appears. This is one of the only points in the game where skill plays a part because direction, club, stance and hit point are all recommended by the CPU, and are usually the best choice. All you need do is work out how much power is needed, and then hit the ball cleanly.
This is done through a simple one-button process. Pressing A starts the gauge rising to the top. The closer to maximum the gauge gets, the more power you'll put into your shot. When the gauge reaches the point you want -with all shots except putting, this will generally be as close to the top as possible - you press A again. The gauge will now start to move downwards. The idea at this point is to stop the gauge on the red line at the bottom. If it's even a tiny bit out, your player will hook or slice the ball to the accompaniment of a nasty metallic clang and an obscure 'duff' message.
And that's about it. When putting, the gauge works slightly differently in that you only have to work out the power, not the aim. The problem with this, as mentioned already, is that distances are given in two units of measurement seemingly at random, making it fairly tricky to learn what kind of power you need to give each shot.
Not Even A Good Walk...
There's very little else to say about the game. The graphics for everything apart from the golfers and the solid terrain (grass, bunkers, etc. ) are fairly poor 2-D depictions, and the computer players are very accurate, hardly ever going over par, and then only as far as getting a bogey. If you drop a few shots on any hole, you'll lose.
It's sad when you consider that the most entertaining part of this game is the Japanese commentators, who get all excited when you do a good shot and mutter away angrily to themselves when you cockup.
To make golf games appeal to anyone apart from fanatical golfers, they need to be well produced, playable products with some genuine addictiveness. Which is exactly what Augusta Masters '98 isn't. If you like golf and you're desperate for the first good N64 golf game, this isn't it, but maybe it'll go some way towards satiating your need for a short while. Having said that, you'd be better off spending your cash on a set of second-hand clubs. If, on the other hand, you don't like golf, then avoid this game at all costs!
Download Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics
Nintendo's latest acquisition from Japan is their newly reworked Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics. Based on T&E Soft's Harukanaru Augusta: Masters '98, but featuring the famous Waialae Country Club course instead, WCC: TGC is the first N64 golf title to reach the States.
Let's get the bad news out of the way first--Waialae only features one 18-hole course. There's really no way to say anything nice about that, so we'll just admit it--this sucks. Fortunately though, T&E has tried to make up for the glaring lack of course variety by offering a good amount of gameplay options, including six different modes of play (Waialae Open, Tournament Play, Stroke Play, Match Play, Skins Play and Practice Play) and the ability to create and edit golfers and clubs. That's right, not only can you completely customize up to 10 different golfers (possibly more in the final version), but you can even alter the attributes of each club in your golfer's arsenal. Not bad. At the tee, you can make adjustments to your golfer's stance, hit point (exactly where on the ball you make contact) and shot power, and on the green you can bring up a grid that lets you more accurately realize the terrain around the hole.
WCC: TGC supports the Rumble Pak and is due out in late July. While what is here isn't bad (though the frame-rate gets choppy sometimes and the ball physics aren't very realistic), it's hard to imagine that much will change (or more importantly, be added) between the writing of this preview and the release of the game. Check back next month for our reviews.
- MANUFACTURER - T&E Soft
- THEME - Sports
- NUMBER OF PLAYERS - 1-4
Revolting golf game based far too closely on Augusta Masters, which was also as welcome as a sloppy floater. Absolute garbage.
It's golf, but golf that looks like it's been through a meat processor. Abysmally digitized golfers and the same old control system.
Technically ropey, but number one in a field of one.
Ghastly golf game that puts you right off trees, grass and healthy walks. Lousy controls, worse graphics, and the gameplay? Ptui!
When you're the only golfer in the tournament, it's not hard to be atop the leaderboard. However, Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics scores some birdies and even a few eagles to set a high standard for Nintendo 64 golf.
By now you've figured out that only one course stars here: the world-class Waialae Country Club in Honolulu, Hawaii. Solid, customizable features that include four-player stroke play, four-player skins, and a four-day tournament make this round of 18 a worthy challenge for most golfers.
Waialae's controls are on target. Excellent, easy-to-read onscreen indicators enable you to precisely aim your shot's trajectory by adjusting your stance and setting a hit point on the ball. For putting, a targeting grid overlays the green, but putts across slopes are still tricky.
Of course, lining up a golf shot is easy--the challenge is in the swing. It's worth noting that golf-game veteran T&E Soft did the development work here, so you get a smooth, three-button stroke.
Golf As Good As It Gets
Waialae's visuals are quite sweet. There's a mucho cool game cam that cleverly chases the ball through the air and flashes creative views of the golf action as it unfolds.
The sounds are solid, if not too exciting. Waialae is a near-silent course--even the gallery's mute--and the voice-over commentary lacks audio flair.
Overall, though, Waialae sets topnotch scores as the first golfer in the N64 clubhouse. You'll definitely want to play 18,36, and more!
- For better distance when you hit into a strong headwind, hit with a low trajectory. Select Hit Point and make the impact point high on the ball, but not too high or you'll top it.
- For better distance and placement when hitting into a cross-wind, use Stance to adjust the ball's trajectory slightly into the wind.
- To master putts against any slope, figure out a putting distance slightly past the hole. Wind rarely affects putts.