Sunday, June 1, 2014

Retro Sunday - June 1, 2014 - Mario Golf (GBC)

Happy June, everyone! Now that we've had time to soak in the glory of the new Mario Golf (3DS), let's take a look back at the original portable Mario Golf (GBC).

In 1999, Nintendo released the first Mario Golf game for Nintendo 64. It was (and still is) an incredible golf experience. Easy to learn, tough to master, with enough course variety to keep you playing over and over again. A few months after the N64 game was released, a Game Boy Color version hit stores.

Like the N64 Mario Golf, Mario Golf GBC had a number of cool courses to play. However, in addition, the game had an RPG-style single-player mode. You pick a golfer, go through training, and then play various courses, opponents, and challenges to level up your character. It's unusual for a golf game to have this kind of experience, but it works beautifully.

As you level up, you can increase various stats, such as distance, control, shot height, and more. Eventually, you might even be good enough to beat Mario himself in a special tournament. And it's not easy. The final course is extremely challenging, and Mario tends to get scores of -10 or -11, so he won't go down without a fight. Mario Golf GBC is probably the most difficult Mario Golf of all time. It's a good difficulty, though. Not hard enough to turn you off to playing, but not easy enough to let you run through the game in a few hours.

The challenges in Mario Golf GBC are varied. Some are easy, some are hard, one in almost impossible. They range from putting challenges, to helping a guy get his hat back by hitting a bird, to the infamous Pitch & Putt. The rules Pitch & Putt are simple: get on the green on your first shot, and then putt in in your second shot, for an entire course. Even on a short course, this is an extremely difficult task to complete, especially when you factor in the high winds.

You can also play multiplayer with the use of a Game Boy Link Cable. Tee off on any of the six courses (including the Pitch & Putt course) and see who is the better golfer. Or, as the case may be, who is the luckier golfer.

You can even transfer your character to the N64 Mario Golf using the N64 Transfer Pak. Once your character is very-high-level, you can typically beat any other character in the N64 version simply by having a longer drive, so it's worth it to get as much experience as possible. You can even gain experience by playing the N64 version. Winners all around.

The game also includes Best Shots, which lets you replay the great shots you make throughout the game, including birdies, eagles, holes in one, and the elusive albatross. The first time I got an albatross, I was actually in my high-school English class and I nearly screamed out loud. I watched that replay many times over. Good times.

Mario Golf GBC is a masterpiece of a game. It crammed an insane amount of content and fun into the tiny GBC cartridge. I learned the actual rules of golf from this game (but sadly, my GBC skills did not transfer to real life). I have played this game for over a hundred hours (the counter stops at 99:59) and even now I go back and play it once in a while. It was my constant companion for years, and it will always hold a special place in the Nintendo section of my heart. Now if you'll excuse me, I need to go pretend like I'm still good at this game. Fore!

(Mario Golf (GBC) is available on the 3DS eShop as a Virtual Console game)

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Haha, love the story about your first albatross!! :)