Review by Waruveggiemon

"Cream Cheese?"

Staring over the horizon on the beautiful desert land, you see your golfer, a teenager who seems to be the main stereotype of a cool person, getting ready for his tee shot on 18. Spike, who is your golfer, shoots his tee shot a little wide to the left. The ball clips a towering tree, ricocheting high in the sky, and landing about 300 yards short of the green, instead of the projected 250. Spike needs a Birdie to win the tournament and move on to the next class. It takes a while, but you decide to shoot safely onto a fairway, hopefully landing close enough for a shot to the green and then a close putt. Spike hits the ball and seems to get all of it, and it hits the fairway safely. Spike now has to make a good green shot from 170 yards away. Spike looks closely, determines the wind, and then shoots, landing about 18 feet away on the green. His next shot is for a birdie and the win. He putts the ball softly, and it rolls ever closer to the hole. 3 feet away, the slope takes it for a turn and it misses the hole by a foot. Spike realizes it is over, and now he goes back to try again. That could be a typical scene in HSG3.
Right off the bat, I will say this is an amazing gaming experience for anyone. The system is extremely simple to figure out, easy to learn but difficult to master. The landscapes and characters, while not very breathtaking, are very solid and make the game a pleasure to play. The audio is very strong, which I will go in-depth to when the specific paragraphs for the section comes up. Here is my review of Hot Shots Golf 3.
The graphical achievements in HSG3 are leaps and bounds better than its predecessor, Hot Shots Golf 2. First of all, the overall environments of the 5 main courses of HSG3 are very nice to look at. The surroundings, such as the rivers and ponds, look fairly realistic. The rocks surrounding the boundaries of the third 18-hole course are nicely detailed, especially for some so insignificant. Also, the sky is beautiful, whether it may be the cerulean skies over the coasts of the more tropical courses, or the magnificent sunsets of the vast desert. The drizzling of rain on the courses is also very well represented in the visuals.
Most of the characters are pretty well done overall. They are stereotypically looking in most of their appearances, which might bother some people who are represented by these people, but are not really a obstruction to game play. The characters from the highbrow movie star to the short and stocky plumber have a very cartoonish and humorous facade to them. The golfers, along with their caddies, have a very funny and light-hearted design to them.
Even the extras in the game look respectable. The costumes for the golfers and caddies give a new look to them, which can always be revitalizing to the eyes of gamers who play this game a lot. The menus are actually pretty colorful and jolly. The “capsules”, which are little pill shaped containers that contain little add-ons to the courses, are pretty active and are nice distractions.
The audio in Hot Shots Golf 3 is likely the weakest facet of the game, but is still very respectable, which seems to be a very difficult trait in games to find. First of all, the background music is very well chosen. The music is your stereotypical golf music (Similar music found in the Nintendo 64 game, Mario Golf, and in most ESPN golf highlights), which means the tunes are very mellow. Of course, the music in the background changes when you are going for a birdie putt compared to a par putt. Overall, the background music is solid.
Now, the worst part of the game is going to be ranted about in this paragraph, and that part is the caddie voices. This is the most annoying and horrendous group of sound effects I have heard in a long time. Whether it is the aggravating overweight caddie who has an annoying accent, or if it is the caddie who screams cream cheese for no evident reason, they all have their faults. This game would be better without the caddies. They are the worst facets of the game.
Next up is the best aspect of the game, the astounding game play. This next statement could sum up the review if I was lazy, but I am not. This game could have the best learning curve and game play of any golf game I have ever played. In the sports genre, it’s simple but addictive game play and controls rival the likes of Mario Tennis (N64) and the Madden series (Multi-Platform). This game is more likely than not one of the best games I have played.
To start off, the 3 clicks approach (Click to Start, Click to determine power, Click to determine control) to driving the golf ball has been done before, but is still, in my honest opinion, the best way to operate a golf games swinging approach. The 3-click technique is simple enough so that any of your friends can play it the first time they pick the game up, while being precise enough that it takes a true master to hit a perfect swing every time. It works very well as a practice equals perfect system, very nice.
Second of all, the putting interface is very nice. It is a two-click approach in this situation (Click to start, Click to determine distance), which, as with other golfing titles, works very well. The nicest thing about is that it is so easy to understand how it works. It tells you the distance to the hole, a line shows a downhill/uphill slope, little moving dots on the putting green shows the sideways slope, and the two clicks are very accurate. It is a really great putting interface, but can be difficult in the beginning, or when it is raining with a bad slope. Still, the putting is an example of an extremely good job on the putting responsibility by the developers.
I am not a physics expert, but it seems that the way the ball bounces, rolls, and deflects off of objects is extremely accurate. Since I do not know much about physics, I will go by what seems right. Whenever I hit a rock on a course, it deflected either really high into the air, stopping all forward momentum, or it ricocheted to the side, depending on if it nailed a cliff or rock head on or it clipped it. Also, motion is also effected by divots caused by former balls, or if it rolled into the rough. It is very nice to see that actual realistic results happen when hindrances occur, instead of rolling through rough or still going at a good pace, even if it hits a rock.
Here is my favorite overall facet of how the game plays, when you screw up, you have nothing to blame. Seriously, if you hit a ball into the water or miss the green and go into the rough, it is your fault, not bad physics or cheating AI. Every mistake I have made, I know the exact reason I did it after it happens. If your putt is short, you know you didn’t account for the uphill slope or the rain. If your drive lands in a sand trap, you forgot the wind or the aim was off. Everything you do right is what you did, and everything you do wrong is what you did. The fair AI is my favorite part of the game, bar none.
There are not that many things to do in this game, but there are still enough to satisfy most games. There is a tournament mode where you compete to move your rankings up, unlock courses, and gain prizes (Often buyable at the shopping) area. Also, there is a mode where you face a computer-controlled character, to unlock up to twelve characters, and later on, more costumes. For practicing, there is a short-course mode to practice short shots and putting, along with quick, 9-hole games. Also for single-player, there is your average stroke play to improve your playing on a course.
Overall, this is a very strong game, among the golfing elite. The graphics are great, the sound manageable, and the game play not rivaled by many. It can be fully enjoyed any and all, even if you avidly hate golf. It’s single player is strong and multi-player a blast if you have a constant flow of friends. This is a must buy title for almost anybody, and since it has a reduced price, there are really very few reasons not to buy this game.


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 07/14/02, Updated 07/14/02


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