Posted on November 23rd, 2009 3 comments
Ganbare! Golf Boys
Maker: NCS (Masaya)
Release Date: 3/28/89
Price: 5300 yen
Media: HuCard (2 Mbit)
PC Engine FAN Score: 18.59 / 30.00
Kōgien: “A golf game that allows up to four players via Multitap. There are three courses, whose design is loosely based on famous real-life links. Tournament, stroke and match play is available.”
The second PCE golf title after Winning Shot, and another brick in the wall for NCS in their early quest to dominate the system’s third-party library. (Seriously, it’s already seemed like a year or so of real-time since I last reviewed a Hudson title here.)
The only real selling point Masaya could scare up for Ganbare! Golf Boys’ cover is that it’s compatible with the Multitap, so up to four people can play without having to share controllers/germs/fingernail grease/whatever. Otherwise, this is extremely standard 8-bit golf. The emphasis is on “realism,” as far as the bar went in the late 1980s with this genre — there are two courses, you’ve got a caddy who gives you advice, and you can define where on the ball you want your club face to hit.
However, the presentation makes this game seem more bland than it actually is. Every hole tends to look the same, and unlike Winning Shot’s up-close perspective, you get a really, really wide-angle overhead view of the course. This makes the golf ball look extremely tiny, and while all the shot ranges are in proportion to the hole, it doesn’t seem like you’re ever hitting it very far, even with a perfect 1-wood shot off the tee. There’s a lack of exhilaration, as Famitsu reviewers would put it.
There’s a bit of an unexpected treat here, however, tucked within what’s otherwise a bog-standard sports game. The music is by Atsuhiro Motoyama, his debut effort in video games, and it’s oddly endearing — there’s something very strangely melancholy and longing about the soundtrack, even though golf is supposed to be, you know, exciting and fun.
Motoyama has bounced in and out of the industry over the years; while his most well-known effort is probably Umihawa Kawase (SFC), my favorite work of his is undoubtedly Kuru Kuru Kururin (GBA), still one of the top GBA soundtracks ever created in my opinion.