Mario Golf (Nintendo 64)
Mario Golf (マリオゴルフ64 Mario Gorufu Rokujūyon, Mario Golf 64) is the first installment for the Mario Golf series and was released for the Nintendo 64 in 1999. It was developed by Camelot Software Planning. Though several sports games featured Mario characters in the past, Mario Golf is considered the first game in the modern "Mario Sports" line. It would be followed by several titles encompassing a variety of sports. Its Game Boy Color counterpart was released later that same year.
Mario Golf is a golf game which combines largely traditional mechanics and gameplay devices with a cartoonish presentation, and a roster of characters and hazards taken from the Mario universe.
The basic gameplay uses the typical "sliding bar" mechanism of most golf video games, with several variables which must be anticipated, such as character attributes, wind strength and direction, rain, ball spin, and course topography. The gameplay modes include speed golf, ring shot, mini golf and skins match.
Players can play most of the multiplayer modes with CPU players by selecting a character and pressing while holding down . However, Club Slots and Mini-Golf do not allow CPU players.
Depending on how many strokes the player required to take to hit the ball into the hole, players receive a score and a name for the score. The following is a list of them, from best to worst scores:
Mario Golf features 10 game modes:
This mode consists of a tournament between the human player and 29 computer players in an 18-hole course (though the computer players aren't seen except in the leaderboards). Despite this, there are only 14 playable characters in this game. The CPU player names range from characters from franchises such as Mario to The Legend of Zelda to Star Fox, as well as the first names of real people, usually localisers and voice actors. The player's objective is to finish the tournament in the top three positions to earn a Trophy.
The player earns the most Course Points when they finish a tournament in 1st place.
The player competes in a Match Game against another computer player. In this game, the player with the fewest strokes gets a point. However, if the losing player cannot catch-up, the game will end. If the 18th hole is finished and the game is tied, Sudden Death starts. If the player wins, they unlock that character.
The player must shoot the ball through all rings while finishing at par or better.
The player must finish all 18 holes as fast as possible.
A standard game of golf. The winner is the player with the fewest total strokes.
Like Stroke Play but in mini-golf courses. Despite the rules being the same, CPU characters cannot be played against. The player selects from two courses, and each hole is par 3. It has three settings: Green (green-themed with a normal ball speed), Slow (blue-themed with a low ball speed), and Fast (red-and-yellow-themed with a high ball speed). Luigi's Garden has the first nine holes looking like numbers 1 to 9 and the last nine holes looking like letters A to I. The first 17 holes of Peach's Castle look like the rest of the alphabet letters and Hole 18 resembles a question mark. In Training, Mini-Golf courses do not play the Training BGM and instead play their own.
The player can play any course and hole, as well as change the weather settings. Driving Range is only available in this mode.
Like Get Character but with two players and there are no characters to be unlocked.
The winner of the hole gets a point. In a tie, the points are carried over. The winner is the one with the most points.
Like Skins Match, but with randomized clubs (though the player can use the putter at any time). Despite the objective being the same, CPU players cannot participate.
Interactions with Mario Golf GBC
Mario Golf for the Nintendo 64 has the ability to link and exchange data with Game Boy Color version of the same game. With the use of the Nintendo 64 Transfer Pak, the player can use the characters: Kid, Azalea, Sherry, and/or Joe from the Game Boy Color version to play through the Nintendo 64 version of Mario Golf. The unlockable characters from the Game Boy Color version: Putts, Grace, Tiny, and Gene are not transferrable.
There are eight courses in the Nintendo 64 version of Mario Golf. They are:
Mario's Star Holes
The following is a list of default characters in the order of which they are unlocked. Kid, Joe, Sherry, and Azalea can also be unlocked through a Transfer Pak. In the Virtual Console port, the Transfer Pak feature to transfer these characters from the Game Boy Color version was removed. Each character has three alternate colors to choose from (players can choose the colors by using the , , and ), and each character can be chosen multiple times if there is more than one player.
* - Only available in North American and PAL versions of the game; is not present in the Japanese version.
Mario Golf garnered generally favorable reviews. GameSpot describes the game as easy to play, by having simple features and by "removing the guesswork for gamers who are not familiar with the subtle nuances of golf" that may put off many players. IGN stated "When it comes to the intricacies that make golf the most loved and frustrating game on the planet, Mario Golf has it all. Challenging, but you will be drawn into it because of the nature of golf and your fear that the "little cartoon game" is mocking you".
Mario Golf is the 37th best selling game for the Nintendo 64, selling approximately 1.5 million copies worldwide - 650,000 copies each in North America and Japan, and 200,000 elsewhere - and it would later be re-released as a Nintendo 64 "Player's Choice" title.
References to other games
References in later games