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Waialae CC: True Golf Classics Review

Publisher - Nintendo
Developer - T&E Soft
Platform - N64
Type - Sports
Score - 7/10

Golf. A truly exciting sport that requires patience and skill. The sport of men. The Sport of sophisticates. The sport of men with way too much money. Jokes aside (but not for long), no gaming console is really complete without its own golf game. And let's face it, Nintendo 64-owning golf fanatics are a dangerous bunch that should never be made to wait. You saw Happy Gilmore, you know what happens. Despite the dangers, Nintendo and third-party developers alike have been taking their sweet time in bringing a golf game to Nintendo 64, more than two years in fact. Luckily, the wait is over at long last thanks to T&E Soft and Nintendo, but was it worth it?

Teeing Off:
Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics, besides being the only golf game for Nintendo 64, also holds the respectable title of most difficult to pronounce, spell and remember, name for a videogame ever. The game is based around T&E Soft's Augusta Masters engine, which was released last December in Japan. For the US release, T&E and Nintendo changed the setting of the title to beautiful Hawaii, Waialae Country Club to be more specific -- hence the name. The entire game takes place on the Waialae course with a grand total of 18 holes, each ranging in length and difficulty. Not exactly a terrible selection, but a few different courses to select from would have been nice.

Various gameplay modes add a healthy degree of replay value. The Waialae Open, which can be played by four people, is a four round challenge of sorts where players must place 40th or better by the end of the second round to advance. Tournament play serves up a traditional golfing experience where players must play through the last day of the open. Stroke play is an 18 hole event between four players that begins rating players' handicaps after the first round and Skins play, designed for multiplayer players, rewards the winner with a cash prize. There's even a practice mode where players can simply swing away for fun.

The game itself plays just as a golf game should. The ball physics are accurately represented, players can change clubs on the fly, modify a golfer's stance, hit point, tee-up location and so on. Using a circular hit meter, players can effectively dictate the direction and power of each ball hit. A map of each hole located on the right side of the screen illustrates a player's ball location as well as the distance between them and the hole. All of the options and gameplay mechanics players would expect of a golf game are in Waialae, but there are no real extras -- nothing extraordinary. It's a formula golf game.

Here's where things start to go downhill. Maybe its because T&E Soft is trying to release what is essentially a first generation title so late in Nintendo 64's life, but this game looks dated. What should be a high-resolution game with motion-captured players and polygonal backdrops is instead unfortunately a bitmap-infested, unimpressive blur with 2D backdrops that flicker endlessly. To make matters worse, the framerate is far from smooth. The Nintendo 64 is capable of so much more.

Real golf is known for its boring commentary and Waialae captures the overall experience perfectly. When a ball is hit into the green the announcer will reflect that with a positive remark. If a player can't play to save his life, like some of us, well, sympathy comments are common. Crowd cheers also help to enhance the mood. Not bad.

This is the best golf title for Nintendo 64. This is the only golf title for Nintendo 64 (unless you count Seta's Japan-only release of the atrocious St. Andrews Golf). It should be noted that while the game is not exactly bad, it could be far better. But if you can overlook Waialae's first generation graphics and no-thrills gameplay then you'll probably enjoy it.