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Mario Golf makes its GameCube debut in a release designed to capture the distinctive look of the Mushroom Kingdom. Players now have the option to compete on five themed courses or one based on classic Super Mario Bros. elements. With the latter, players have to worry about more than sand traps when teeing off, as Chomp-Chomps are chained near fairways and Piranha Plants would like nothing more than to snap up errant golf balls. Players can also aim for pipes to send their ball to new areas of the course, avoid crushing Thwomps, and more.
Developed by the same team behind the original PlayStation's Hot Shots Golf, the 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 shot's accuracy. In addition, the game lets players set the point of impact for spin and also features variable wind and weather conditions to influence play.
For younger audiences having trouble with timing involved in landing a perfect shot, they can opt to use a partially automated system that takes the guesswork out of selecting clubs and determining the amount of power needed to hit the ball. It also provides a larger sweet spot, allowing players a greater margin for error when pressing the button to determine accuracy. No matter which swing system is used, up to four players can compete in Stroke Play, Tournament, Doubles, Ring Attack, Speed Golf, and five additional game modes.
A total of 16 characters are available in the game, including Mario, Peach, Donkey Kong, Wario, and Luigi, each with individual ratings in power and swing tendency. Some naturally hit straight, some have the ball fade to the right, while others have their shots draw to the left. Gamers who also purchase Mario Golf: Advance Tour for Game Boy Advance will be able to create their own characters from scratch, raise their skill levels, and then transfer them to the GameCube version. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide