Review by LuigiGolf
"Awesome! Recommended to all gamers!"
Mario Golf is by far my favorite series ever! I think Mario Golf 64 deserves more praise and attention than any game that has been called "the best game ever". This is not going to be a typical, cookie cutter review of Mario Golf 64 (which basically say things along the lines of "This is Mario's golf spin-off. It has intuitive gameplay. It is so addictive. There are lots of modes. It can be frustrating!") this is a review that goes beyond "It sets the bar for sports games. But sports games only!" and actually puts this game in its rightful place of "top-notch, top rank". I really think the game is that good.
Graphics: The graphics are super cool! You know why? Mario Golf 64 does not try to have graphics that go beyond the capabilities of the N64. (Mario Kart 64 and Mario Party 1 tried to do that, and it definitely did not work out for them!) Instead, the graphics are more N64-ish as ever! You have the most polygonal characters ever seen since the ones on the Super FX 1 chip and Super FX 2 chip. They look fabulous! Luigi looks better, bolder, and more manly than he ever did (along with nearly everyone else), and the female characters are fully dressed. One of the characters I mainly play as, Plum, looks awesome too. Bowser looks more mighty and beastly than ever. The terrains are undetailed, the immobile sprites of trees (or anything that blocks your shot that your golf ball ricochets off of), and each hole is clearly surrounded by a monochromatic void. All of this means that the graphics are simple, so they do not obstruct the enjoyability of the gameplay at all. Things get extra cool when it is sudden death in a match game and the holes are all dark and a firework is launched whenever someone holes out.
Music: The music is not that special. It is pretty relaxing. The music that plays whenever there is a dormie is really something to get excited about, though. It is short, so it is a little repetitive, but repeating is good when a song is awesome. The training mode music is great for relaxation.
Programming: There are some things I would have changed about the programming, but the physics are amazingly accurate, and the AI is very memorable and a blast to play against. I would have changed the expectation setting for tournaments, though. Camelot was lazy with the tournament scores. Each champion gets two strokes better every course up. I would have made the scores more realistic, such as making the computers score lots of birdies in the earlier courses, and made the difficulty of the rest of them correlate to how much players are expected to improve and how much of an increase in difficulty the course is. (This same pattern appears in Mario Golf GB and Mobile Golf. It is not fixed until Mario Golf Toadstool Tour, where it especially gets a much-needed makeover in the Star Tournaments). This is still the N64 era, where Nintendo was biased against Luigi, and made his AI significantly worse than Mario's. I would have included someone other than Baby Mario. I do not like his crying whenever he fails a challenge or holes out while over par. If you cheat during a match game by saving and quitting (which starts you at the beginning of a hole and undoes your mistakes), you get a circle instead of a star on the Vs. chart, which stays there until you erase all of your data. You even get a circle if your save-and-quit was at the beginning of a hole, where it would not be utilized for cheating purposes. There is no consequence for using this cheat in Tournament mode, though. Using the save-and-quit feature should not have reset your strokes at all. On the main menu, you can hold L and press A to make your character left-handed. Finally, an N64 game that makes use of the L button! You can also hold right, down, or left C to change your character's color. You can even change the color of Sonny's skin from white to black! Way to stick it to racism, Nintendo! In Tournament mode, Nintendo even gives Link a break and puts him in a much more enjoyable game.
Gameplay: The gameplay is awesome! There are not a lot of modes, but they do offer variety. Match Game is your main source of unlocking characters, and features the most exciting gameplay, but the Ring Shot and Speed Golf modes have a different goal than "hole out in the fewest number of strokes. There is also a Mini-Golf mode, but I do not like it because your character choice does not matter and no standards have been set. Other people want this mode to return (and it actually does return in Mobile Golf), but I think it is nothing important. The gameplay is the perfect harmony of simplicity and complication, of relaxation and frustration. The game is easy to play, but it does have some difficult challenges. People like to pretend that parts in Mario RPGs are hard (The difficulty in Mario RPGs is a joke for over 95% of the time), but this is one of the few Mario series's that actually has lots of challenging content. Beginners might not be able to get anywhere in this game, but that is why there is training mode!
I did criticise a sizeable portion of the content in Mario Golf 64, but the game is completely devoid of any flaws that keep it from its full potential. It feels like this game obviously made mistakes on purpose so they could be fixed later in the series, (The developers did not think so; they made the same moves for two more games) along with some parts that I would have changed, but when you play the game, the positive parts override the negative parts.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 10/16/09
Game Release: Mario Golf (US, 06/30/99)
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