Developed by T&E Soft, and released by Nintendo on July 29, 1998, Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics features 18 holes of Hawaiian-set putts and drives.
I'm about to undertake a fairly large Sega Genesis reviewing project, and I've been Switch-happy for the last year, but I don't want my Nintendo 64 to get lost in the shuffle.Thankfully, I've found a nice stopgap, and that stopgap is Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics.
The only N64 game transferred from a VHS cassette (recorded over an episode of Golden Girls).
For reasons unknown, ever since I first saw the artwork announcing the game around 1998, I've wanted a copy of Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics. Maybe it's just the bright colors in the screenshots, and the fact that I am attracted to shiny things like a bored parrot (meaning I am attracted to shiny things, not bored parrots), or maybe I just have a secret affection for golf games that this sentence is now making public. Whatever, the case, and despite the lackluster reviews it received, Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics has somehow stayed on my mind over the last twenty years. As luck would have it, I recently saw it for $3.99 in Game Ware's bargain bin. Let's do this.
Ride the rainbow, man.
There's not much to a decent golf game. Pick the right club, use timing skills to line a moving bar up on some kind of meter, and swing away. Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics completely subverts that by...just kidding, the previous sentence exactly describes Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics.
There's a reason the formula for golf-based video games hasn't changed since 1984's Golf for the NES. Tlahe formu works. Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics quite wisely doesn't deviate. When it's time to swing, there's indeed a crescent-shaped power meter, and a bar that moves up and down it when the player taps the "A" button. Tap it again and the bar stops. Tap it too early, and you hit the ball weakly. Tap it too late, and you overswing. Like the NES classic, Waialae has wind speed and direction which must be kept in mind, and like real golf, different terrain in which to take account. The game also automatically selects the best club for each shot, though the player can change it manually anytime they want. These are the basics, and along with Waialae's realistic physics engine, they are competently implemented and work just fine.
That gets Waialae up to average status, and considering there are only two other golf games for English-speaking territories on the Nintendo 64, that might actually be enough. Review finished.
And also, Louisiana will balance its budget this year.
I don't know when I'll get to write another one of these, so review not-quite finished. Let's see if, with the hindsight of time, Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics has what it takes to be a truly great game. First, let's look at the graphics.
Well...er...you've been seeing screenshots up to this point...does this game look good to you? If you answered yes, bless your heart, would you like to babysit my son? These graphics are not good. The Nintendo 64 was specifically created to run 3-dimensional games. Outside of the ground, and a rudimentary animation of the golf ball going into the hole, I don't believe Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics features any 3D graphics. Instead, the game features primitive 2D digitized graphics for the golfers and their swinging motions, and 2D sprites for trees and other course objects. This all blends together for an ugly mess, even if it is colorful. The game's sound isn't any more spectacular, either, with announcers who recorded maybe two minutes of total dialogue (get ready to hear the same phrases again and again), and a soundtrack that sounds like low-quality midi interpretations of Hawaiian beach music. Thankfully, the sound effects are solid, including the club slamming into the ball, birds chirping in the trees, and the ocean rolling in when a particular hill is closer to the Pacific.
I.E., not right now, though this particular trap has more sand than the beach.
But what about courses? Any great golf game has plenty, right?
This game has one, and it's in the title. True, it's a great course...but it's also the only course. With the repeating announcers, birds chirping, same eighteen holes, and late-night infomercial midi-music, it's downright purgatorial.
Thankfully, the game does offer up several multiplayer modes so you can challenge your friends, cuz, you know, you and your friends love to sit around and play each other at average Nintendo 64 games from 20 years ago, and that is why I love you. In all seriousness, these modes are a lot of fun--a competitive mode which counts won holes as points is particularly enjoyable. Of course, you and your retro-loving friends can always just play each other in regular old golf mode. There are also four different (quite fictional) golf characters to choose from, with each having their pros and cons (i.e. one can hit the ball a mile, but can't aim well, or, conversely, one can put an arrow through a dime at 200 yards, but can't hit a ball 200 yards).
Yeah, so that's it for Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics, the Nintendo 64 Museum's stopgap review for the summer of 2018. I hope my rambling and frequent criticisms don't distract from the fact that Waialae Country Club: True Golf Classics is actually pretty fun. It might look like a digital hell, and sound like a shopping mall elevator, but it it plays like Henry Cotto from the Seattle Mariners. His baseball cards aren't worth a thing, but he'll get you a hit from time to time.