Mario Golf – Definitive 50 N64 Game #28
The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games
Mario started to really show off his sporting prowess on the N64. The moustachioed face of Nintendo was used more and more to push multiplayer party games in various spin-offs, including the Mario Party games, Mario Tennis, and Mario Golf.
Okay, so Mario may have shown his face in the odd sports game back on the NES, including golf, but it wasn’t until the N64 that Nintendo started fully using the Mario brand, characters, environments, and zany antics to their fullest in sports games.
Mario Golf’s fundamental mechanics should be familiar to anyone who’s played a golf game before. Timed button presses determine the power and accuracy of your shots, while direction must be adjusted to account for wind. Club selection will determine the style of your shot.
This game offers a wide array of single and multiplayer modes. The 1-player Tournament mode is the games main mode. Here, you’ll take on 29 other golfers on a quest for low scores.
The Get Character mode allows you to play 18 holes of golf against previously unavailable characters – beating them here will open them up for use throughout the game. You start with just four characters, but 10 more can be unlocked.
Club Slots is a multiplayer mode which, believe it or not, limits what clubs can be used on each hole based on the outcome of a slot machine.
Mini-Golf allows 1-4 players to take on small, specially designed courses shaped like letters and numbers with putters alone. Think normal mini-golf, with all the angles, minus windmills.
Courses are unlocked by earning Course Points, which can be gained by playing and succeeding in the various modes of Mario Golf – Tournament mode most significantly. There are 6 courses available in the game, with just one available to begin with. Each course is, unsurprisingly, very Mario themed. Shy Guy Desert, Yoshi’s Island, and Boo Valley are all featured.
For some added zaniness during multiplayer matches, golfers can actually cheer and taunt their opponents when it’s not their turn. Each character has four pre-assigned lines mapped to the four C-buttons that can be played when the enemy is up to, err, bat?
In addition to the usual cast of Mario faces, new characters were actually created for Mario Golf – Plum, Harry, Maple, Sonny, and Charlie. Sadly, these more grounded and human looking golfers have not been seen or heard from since.
The GameBoy Color Mario Golf game which followed the N64 version included a highly praised RPG system not found in its console counterpart. However, you can use the N64’s Transfer Pak to temporarily import up to 4 GameBoy Color characters. Their stats will carry over, and you can even earn additional experience points playing with them on the N64 which will be saved back to the GameBoy game.
Mario Golf actually kicked off developer Camelot’s relationship with Nintendo. The studio, originally established as a division of Sega before being spun off, has gone on to develop numerous Mario Golf, Mario Tennis, and Golden Sun titles for various Nintendo systems.
We’ll get to one more of their N64 efforts a little later in this list.
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Check back next week, no really, NEXT WEEK, for entry #27 on the Definitive 50 N64 games.