It seems like people will never get tired of Mario. He’s everywhere! He can play tennis, he likes karting, organizing parties, saving princess peach from time to time, and when he’s off he also likes to play golf. He really is an incredible guy Mario, being able to do all that stuff and never getting tired.
Last time we saw him playing golf was on N64, then on Game Boy Color, and now on GameCube. The Mario Golf games are being developed by Camelot, the same company that brought us Hot Shots Golf on Playstation. Camelot has since become good friend with Nintendo and only develops titles for Nintendo’s consoles, taking over the Mario Tennis and Golf franchises. The N64 version was a blast to play, and with all the time I spent on this game, it looks like it’s even better!
On the presentation side, it looks awesome. The first thing you’ll notice when you start the game is the opening FMV, and it looks great. It might not be necessary for a golf game, but it’s still nice to see they’ve taken the time to do one. Then there’s the menu that looks a lot like the one from the N64 version. Every mode of play is clearly explained, and there are also lessons to teach you how to play golf and use everything that is at your disposition. Players from the previous versions should be right at home, but newcomers might want to watch the lessons as it can be really helpful in doing perfect shots or adjusting little things that you might not do correctly.
You start with only a few characters, but there are a lot to unlock. In fact, you can play with over 16 characters as you can import them from the GBA version, but if you don’t have it, then you’ll be stuck with 16 characters from the Mario universe, but 16 is plenty. Everyone of them has it’s advantages, like for example Bowser who can hit the ball really far, but has less precision than Yoshi who will hit the target more often, but might have a more difficult time on long holes. The most obvious mode of play is tournament mode, where you’ll be playing 18 holes against all of the other characters of the game, and you must try to finish first. Each of them is different and is inspired by the Mario universe, like you’ll be playing golf in a desert, or around Peach’s castle, and also in Bowser’s world. You can also shoot your ball in warp pipes and it will re-appear somewhere else. You must try not to hit the ball near a chomp though as you’ll lose a turn. Everything is well balanced so that the last tournament will require more dexterity than the first one. As you finish all of them, you’ll also unlock the start tournaments, which are the same tournaments you’ve already played, except the weather will be a lot different, like there will be more wind and more rain, and the greens will also be different and more difficult. I actually had a hard time trying to complete the star tournaments as it offers an incredible challenge!
Tournament mode is where I spent most of my time, but the other modes of play are pretty fun too. Here’s a list of everything you can do in this game. First of all, if you want to unlock the other characters, you’ve got to play characters matches. In it, you play one on one against a new character and if you can beat him on 18 holes, than you unlock him. You also unlock star characters by doing this. What this means is that you get a “boosted” version of the characters you already own. Then there’s the training mode where you can practice on any whole you want and try to get better to impress your friends! There,s the speed golf, a mode where you have to complete every hole as fast as possible. In stroke play, you have to finish with the fewest total of strokes as possible, in match play you’ve got to win the most holes, and in doubles you play with another player and you alternate plays so you are actually 2 playing on the same ball. Then there’s the famous ring shot where you have to shoot your ball through rings that are in the air. In club slots mode you are attributed a club randomly as to give a bigger challenge and it can be really difficult to get good scores in that mode. Coin attack is kind of like ring shots, except you have to hit coins that are in the air to collect them. Then there is the near pin mode where you have to hit the ball as close to the pin as you can in one shot. Finally, there are side games where where you’ll get to practice your shots.
Of course, most of these modes of play are available to play in multiplayer matches. You can get up to 3 of your friends and have 4 players play at the same time. I’ve done this once with my friends at a party, and we had a blast. You’ll keep pushing the others and try to see who can be the best on each of the holes, and I remembers one of my friends telling me one shot was impossible, and I was able to do it and get an eagle on that hole. This is a great party game, so if you’re looking for multiplayer action, this will be a great addition to your collection.
The controls in this game look a lot like those on the N64, ecept they were mapped on the GameCube controller. The way it works is simple: you hit the A button once and the cursor on the bar at the bottom of the screen moves left. When you think it is at the right spot and that you have enough power, you can hit either A or B. if you hit A, it will toggle automatic mode so that you don’t have to hit to button again for precision, but this is done randomly so you might get a perfect shot, or you might hit the ball in the water, but most of the time you get pretty good shots. If you think you are a good player though, you can hit the B button and then go for manual mode. That means that the cursor will come back and depending on your precision, you might get perfect shots all the time! When you press the B button for the final time though, you can then make differnet combinations and do top spins or back spins, or even super top/back spins. Before hitting the ball though, you can also decide to do a power shot. You only have a certain number of those, but as long as you do perfect shots, you don’t lose any. You can also press the D-Pad and do curved shots or hit the ball higher or lower, and you can of course play around with the camera and see where your ball is gonna hit the ground.
Since this is a golf game, people might not be expecting a lot on the graphics side, but I was pretty impressed myself. The character models are really great, very round and everything, and so are the environments. The levels are very colorful and mimic what you’d see in other Mario games. The weather effects are also well done, with the rain drops falling and the lighting effects being pretty good too. the animation is also well done, even though there’s not much to see as all the charaters do is swinging. What is said about the graphics can also be said about the music. The music fits the Mario universe very well, and depending on your situation, the music will be more peaceful or get faster when you’re close to the hole and might do a birdie.
So if you’re looking for a good golf game on GameCube, this one is a very good choice. It’s not because it doesn’t use real tournaments or characters that it’s not as good as Tiger Woods. in fact, you’ll get the same challenges you’d get in every other golf games, except that this one is set in the Mario universe. Like I already said, it’s a good addition to anyone’s collection and you’ll be playing a long time with this game.