Review by HeavyD2
"A number of absurdities hurt this game."
GOLF RESORT TYCOON review version 1.11
This is one of very many "Tycoon" games out there - apparently, the "Tycoon" genre was born when "Roller Coaster Tycoon" came out. So, just because the game has "Tycoon" in its title doesn't mean it's good, or even made by the same company as the one that made Roller Coaster Tycoon. As a matter of fact, I found this game to be sub-par. Don't get me wrong - it's not awful, but there are probably better, similar games out there.
I found the graphics to be weak - the stat screens look OK, but the landscape itself is pretty bland. Sometimes hazards can seem absurdly placed even when they're not, and the golfers in the game often occupy the same point at the same time. They also appear to have limps. There is a 3-D "golfer cam" mode unlike Roller Coaster Tycoon, but I would have to consider that a failed attempt at innovation - even on the best computers, you are caught between the rock of dense fog and the hard place of a frame rate so slow it's practically a slide show. Overall, I would have to consider the graphics to be poor.
The sound is actually pretty good - it's not buggy like the graphics. Unlike Roller Coaster Tycoon, there's background music. Also, there are a lot of classic lines that you can hear the golfers utter - like "Yes yes yes yes OH NO!!" The swing/hit sounds seemed pretty authentic to me - this tells me that, this being a budget game, the creators put too much money into sound and not enough into graphics.
The controls usually behave, although there are some annoying irreversibilities - you can't "back out" of building a golf hole. You just have to finish the job, and then if you realize that you put it in the wrong place, you'll lose a bit of money on the resale of the hole. You have to know what you're doing or it will cost you money. Plus, occasionally you'll be stuck in an impossible situation of having nowhere to go for the next leg of your hole, causing you to have to reset the computer. That doesn't happen very often, though. Building pathways can get tedious - it's hard to simply drag the mouse to get the trail you want, so you'll be hit with a lot of complaints while you're doing so.
Speaking of which, the golfers complain a LOT - probably too much. They are far less patient than real people - after a mere one minute, they complain "Oh time, why dost thou torture me so?" You'll also get way too many messages that the golfers have reported a gopher infestation - the gophers are pretty hard to keep off of the courses altogether. They also - and this is REALLY absurd - complain that there's nothing else to do besides golf! Jeez Laweez, they came here to GOLF!
There are also a number of absurdities in the gameplay, apart from the complaints. First of all, your clubhouse is placed in the center of the map, leaving no road to/from the course except apparently from some fourth dimension. Second, the prices, and the ranges you can charge, are absurdly high - the minimum price for a coffee is $5.00 and the minimum price for - get this - the use of a PORT-A-POTTY is $2.00!!! Personally, I'd have to be PAID $1.00 for me to use one of those! It doesn't kill the game since the customers in the game will pay these kind of prices, but it still makes it non-intuitive. There are also some absurd building pre-requisites - for instance, you need portable johns even if you already have better bathrooms to build some buildings! And, worst of all, the golfers tend to hit their balls right out of the water! These are just some unrealisms that, although you can work with them, make it unintuitive and possibly difficult for a wrong reason.
What may prove to be a fun challenge is that you start with only enough money to build the bare minimum, even on Easy. This means that it will be thrilling even to see your course reach a rating of three stars. However, I found the five-star rating too easy to achieve - apparently building more than one of a building doesn't yield diminishing returns like it would in real life. Overall, I found the rating system to be pretty busted.
If you can put up with all these problems, though, you'll find the game lasting quite a while. There's a sandbox mode, a number of challenges and three difficulty levels, which will yield a lot of hours of play, if not particularly fun ones. However, I imagine that most people will tire of it long before they complete any significant portion of this.
Overall, this game staggers in with a bogey.
The landscape is bland, there's some positioning bugs and the 3-D golfer cam offers far less power than what today's computers can provide.
The one-liners uttered by the golfers are pretty funny, the background music is OK and the other sounds are quite authentic.
Although they generally behave, creating holes and paths can get tedious. There's the very occasional impossible position.
There are a number of absurdities - prices, building pre-requisites and frequency of complaints - that render the game unintuitive.
Although there aren't a particularly large number of scenarios, the sandbox mode and three difficulty levels give it quite a few hours of play.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 05/09/04, Updated 05/15/04
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