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They've already made tracks in go-karts, earned stars in board games, and knocked each other senseless from brawling. So what's left for Mario and his buddies to do? How about dusting off the clubs and hitting the links! That's right, Nintendo's famous plumber returns to the fairways in the aptly titled Mario Golf. The game features six courses set within the world of Mario, from the haunted Boo Valley to the serene Toad Forest, and includes ten play modes. Fourteen golfers are available to play as or against, each with individual ratings in power and swing tendency. Some naturally hit straight, some fade balls to the right, and others draw shots to the left.
Tournament mode is an 18-hole contest against 29 computer-controlled players, while "Get Character" mode is a one-on-one showdown to unlock a character for future play. Ring Shot has your character trying to achieve par or better while knocking the ball through floating rings, and Speed Golf involves trying to hole out in record time. Match Game, Skins Match, and Club Slots are similar formats with a few differences. In a Match Game, you are awarded a point for every hole won. Skins Match replaces points with skins, which carry over to the next hole should players tie. Club Slots is like the Skins Match with one small twist: the clubs you are permitted to use are determined by a slot machine.
Developed by the team behind the PlayStation's Hot Shots Golf, Mario Golf's interface consists of a horizontal swing meter designed to simplify things for novices. Pressing the A button will start the meter, which will begin moving steadily from right to left. Once it reaches the desired power setting, pressing the button again begins the downswing. A third and final button press determines the accuracy of your shot. In addition, the game lets players set the point of impact for spin and also features variable wind and weather conditions to influence play. Gamers who also purchase Mario Golf on Game Boy Color (released in the fall of 1999) will be able to create their own characters from scratch, raise their skill levels, and import them to the Nintendo 64 version. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide