Posted on April 2nd, 2010 2 comments
Release Date: 5/25/89
Price: 5800 yen
Media: HuCard (3 Mbit)
PC Engine FAN Score: 20.37 / 30.00
Kōgien: “Select your golfer from a group of two men and two women. Three play modes are available — stroke, match and competition — and up to three people can play at once.”
I will admit that it’s been a while since my last visit to PCE-land. It’s partly due to work, partly due to research I’ve been doing on other old computers, but mostly because I have to write about two golf games in a row and the thought drove me to spontaneous fits of yawning.
To most people, 2D golf games are just not that interesting any longer. Neo Geo collectors pay four-figures all the time for Neo Turf Masters, yes, but those people are degenerates. The genre has moved on, more or less, and that’s largely been the case since Access Software’s Links 386 Pro achieved near-photorealism on PCs in 1992. Power Golf is no exception to this fact — just like a lot of other early Hudson releases, it’s completely unoriginal in execution, but well-made enough that you won’t feel gypped for your time.
Gameplay is Nintendo Golf in style, with the standard three-part swing and a little arrow gestating itself off your ball to help with aiming. The overhead perspective lies somewhere in between Winning Shot’s extreme close-up and Ganbare! Golf Boys’ faraway view, keeping things fast-paced while still cramming a decent chunk of the hole into the screen at once. There’s the usual stroke and match play options, the usual multiplayer support, and the usual bippy 8-bit golf soundtrack in the background.
The one new feature to PCE golf this game brings is your choice of players — an average guy, a highly accurate female, and an older dude with glasses who hits the ball like most salarymen hit the whiskey sours. Hard, that is. Even that feature, though, first hit Japanese consoles a year or so with SNK’s Fighting Golf. Hmm.
Despite my worrying inability to drum up much “care” for this game, I will grant you that Power Golf is the best PCE golf sim of 1989. It’s as generic as a can of Sam’s Cola, features very fiddly aiming, and doesn’t automatically choose clubs for you, but it’s workmanlike in design and engaging enough for what it is. It was well-liked in Japan, too, enough so that it got a Super CD-ROM2 sequel a good five years later — one of the few titles on the console to sport full-motion video, at that.
(By the way, TG16 boxes included in these reviews when applicable from now on — yes, no, don’t care either way? They are never, ever better than the PCE version, but…)