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SHOTS GOLF (USA)
EVERYBODIES GOLF (EURO/JAP)
No.1 No.2 No.3
|Game Type:||Sports Sim||Memory Card|
|Review Date:||June 1998||Multi-tap|
Setting the Scene
If someone was to suggest to you that it would be a great idea to balance a Ten Pin bowling ball on your head and run up a hill, you would think that they has just escaped from a mental asylum! It makes you wonder what everyone must of thought of those pioneering Scotsmen who thought it amusing to hit a wooden ball up and down a field with a thin stick, with the aim of getting a tiny ball to land in a small hole in the least amount of tries. Yeah, there is no doubting that golf is a strange old sport. Its not really a team event, nor could it be considered a sport for everyone (due to the cost of the equipment and membership to a course), but nevertheless, there is little doubting that it has become one of the most popular sports in the world! Everybody's Golf (Euro, Japan) or Hotshots Golf (USA) bears little resemblance to the "serious" simulations such as Actua or PGA Tour, but is selling like crazy all around the world... Lets find out if there is a game underneath all of the marketing hype that has surrounded its release?
Arcade Golf, pure and simple.
It is easy to see that this game was designed in the Far East. Each of the 10 competitors on offer has a "manga" style to them - big head, small body and massive eyes. They have all been rendered beautifully and although very cartoon-like in appearance, are equally as good as those seen in similar games. More amazing are each of the 6 wonderful courses themselves. The graphics are all bright, crisp and clear and the loading times for each hole are so quick you will hardly notice them at all. Each hole can be viewed from any height, direction or angle making it easy to decide which angle to approach the green from. By tracking very low along each fairway you can also appreciate the various dips and inclines that if used correctly can get you an extra twenty yards on your shot. The usual hazards have been included and range from trees, lakes, sand and of course differing levels of "rough" (the thick grass on either side of the fairway). As an added variable, the changing weather will also alter the way the ball travels along the ground, with light rain showers having by far the greatest effect. Camera angles are intelligent and varied. Replays of each shot are available, showing the exact path your ball took from many different viewpoints.
Sounds and Effects
Okay, so for every good point about the graphics, there is a bad one about the sound. While the spot effects are all up to scratch, the background tunes are about as annoying as they get. Don't even bother to listen to them - switch them off and put your own music on instead, or risk going insane!
Unlike all previous golf games, you can't just select any of the six courses or ten golfers and start playing. Instead the game uses the "RPG" style of awarding "Experience" points for great shots and competition wins. The more points you gather, the more of the game is unlocked. You start with "Marina", a female golfer who has minimal power in her shots, but at least can hit the ball straight. Course 1 is the only one that she can initially play, but if you don't want to jump straight into a full game of golf, you can grab a little practice at either the pitch and put area or the "fun-golf" putting course. Marina starts with no experience points and the only way that you can build her up is to play a few rounds of golf, however there are a few different types of game to play: The Tournament mode is by far the best way to get the most amount of experience - finish first and you will be rewarded with fifty points, which is enough to unlock the first of the hidden courses. Stroke Play allows you and three friends (or computer players) to compete against each other on a hole by hole basis. Whoever scores the lowest gets "zero" points, with everyone else getting "one" point for every additional shot that it took for them to finish the hole. The player with the lowest number of points at the end of the 18th hole is the winner. Experience points are awarded for below par scores on each hole and hitting the pin (flag). Match play is a head-to-head game with either a human or computer opponent. The winner on each hole scores a point and the player with the most points after 18 holes is the victor! Experience is gained in the same way as stroke play. Versus mode is the option that allows you to uncover additional players. Its you versus the computer and if you can beat the best player currently available, you will unlock this character for you to use yourself. There is also a mystery mode that will appear when you have unlocked all of the courses and massed a huge amount of experience. If you are new to golf and have no idea what the difference is between a pitching wedge and a 5 iron, then you can select a "caddy" who will automatically select your clubs for you. Experienced players will no doubt want to choose their own - knowing the benefits that can be had by hitting a 2 iron under a tree or a nine iron over it! Other than the graphics, the most developed part of all golf games is the "swing-meter". This is the device that controls how accurately and with what degree of power you will hit your shot. Some of the latest incarnations of this device are so difficult to master that they can spoil what would otherwise be a good game. Thankfully the developers of this game have not fallen into this trap, instead we have a very simple bar. Select your club, aim your shot and hit the "swing" button - The bar moves from right to left passing a "min" marker, then a "50%" marker and finally reaching the "max" point (Simply press your "swing" button again to stop the bar and the power of the shot is selected). The bar then starts moving back towards the "min" marker (Pressing the "swing" button for the third time exactly on this "min" position rewards you with a perfectly straight shot, while pressing it a little too soon, or late, will result in a ball that curves left or right in the air). Keep an eye on the wind meter at the top of the screen, if its blowing hard, then you will need to compensate for the fact that it will blow your ball of its course. As you gain experience and thus unlock the more challenging courses, you will need to start adding top-spin, or backspin to the ball (ideal when you need to stop the ball dead on the middle of the green). Some of the trickier greens are best approached from an angle that can only be achieved by curving your shot in one direction or another (fade or draw), again this can be easily done with a little practice. Best of all the "Putting" has been designed in such a way that makes it a matter of skill, rather than luck, that determines how many strokes it will take you to put the ball in the hole. Just to show that "fun" is the primary aim of this game, there are options which allow you to bet against your buddies when playing the game. Choose from bets such as: nearest to the pin, furthest drive and lots more. Oh yeah, just in case your friends are better than you, you can give each of the players a "handicap" rating that will even things out for everyone. Finally when you are sick of playing on the big courses, chill out and play a game of miniature golf! The game is not Analog or Dual Shock compatible, however other than moving the camera position around there would be little point in supporting this mode anyway.
Value for Money
By locking all but one of the courses and players, the developers have made sure that you will be playing this game for weeks before uncovering everything that this game has to offer.
played both real and computerized golf, It fair to say that the real
thing is far more frustrating and time consuming. Everybodies/Hotshots
Golf has appeared from nowhere and taken the world by storm! Gone are
the long loading times of the courses, gone are the over complicated "swing-meters"
and instead we are given an enjoyable game that although easy to get
into, will take some serious playing to master.
Possibly the best part of the game design is on the putting green - at last someone has produced a method that works very well. If you have never played golf then this is the ideal way to learn about the game and if you are an avid player, then don't look past this game either.