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Simon & Schuster






T (Teen)



Q4 2002



- Hardcore golf

- Beating up caddies is a long-overdue feature

- Good multiplayer

- Control easy to pick up but hard to master



- Announcer can start to grate

- Having to unlock the characters

- Only three courses



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Outlaw Golf

Score: 7.9 / 10


I could provide a brief history of golf – sport of kings and all that – but instead I’ll jump right into the review.


First, if you think Outlaw Golf (OG) plays along the lines of Midway’s sports titles, where players are routinely on fire and realism takes a backseat to fantasy, then you will be sorely disappointed.  Although the characters are an eclectic collection of freaks, strippers and malcontents, looks are deceiving – this is a hardcore golf game.


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Mostly I avoid golf titles like the plague or panhandlers – the Seventh Sign is me playing more than one hole of a Tiger Woods game – but OG got me interested simply because the characters are separate from the norm.  I have to admit that I actually warmed up to golf in general thanks to OG.  (But let’s be clear, “warmed” is not the same as “interested” – I refuse to watch golf on TV and will actually avoid people that talk about watching golf.)


I don’t know if golf can be termed an extreme sport but OG certainly shares some of the same characteristics.


Tour Mode is where you’ll spend most of your time.  Completing aspects of Tour Mode unlock extra golfers and clubs, and a chance to upgrade your golfer’s stats through the Outlaw Range, which has a selection of 12 challenges.  Unlocking characters and clubs isn’t particularly difficult but conquering the challenges at the Outlaw Range can be quite a… well, challenge.  Some can only by completed successfully if you’ve unlocked better clubs.





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If your house is party central, you’ll spend a great deal of time in Exhibition Mode (the only way you can play with 2 to 4 players) with its 8 different arrangements such as My One and Only (one club, one putter) and, my favorite, Time Attack where strokes don’t matter, just get the ball in the hole the fastest.  As with most games, playing with and against human opponents is way more fun than playing solo. (Multiplayer can be played with just one controller.)



The AI provides a challenge no matter what CPU character you’re playing against or which of the three courses you’re playing on.  Human opponents bring entirely different results thanks to the swing method.


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After selecting clubs, examining trajectory, etc. – all the things you consider with serious golf sims – you’re ready to hit the ball.  The swing is handled with the C-stick.  Pulling down increases the power of the shot (represented by the power bar in the bottom right corner).  When you’re satisfied with the amount of power, you quickly push up on the C-stick.  If you hit dead center at the top of the arc of the C-stick your ball flies true and generally ends up where you planned – keyword, generally.  Finish the pull/push swing just slightly left or right and you’re more likely to drop the ball into a hazard or create a more difficult shot. (You can mulligan – a do over – but as the manual says, “Mulligans are for losers.”)


It’s the crappy shots that decrease your golfer’s composure, which in turn makes it even more difficult to hit a good shot.  Fortunately, composure can be regained by nailing a good shot.  But good shots can be hard to come by when your golfer is completely pissed off.  The short and simple route to achieve an iron resolve is beating the holy Hell out of your caddy.


The combat model is reminiscent of the clicking swings of other golf games.  A bar along the bottom of the screen (called a Beat Slider) basically tasks you with hitting a target with an accelerating slider.  There are five targets, meaning five hits to the caddy.  (This isn’t Tekken 4 or DOA3.)  How much composure you regain is in direct proportion to how many successful strikes you’ve made.  However, these beat-downs can’t be accessed without earning a Beating Token first by performing a specific task (like scoring a birdie).  I’m still working on a hole in one, but I’m sure the reward is good. (Check out Summer doing a pole dance on the green!)


Although the characters are consistently cartoony and exaggerated, the environments look great and nod toward realism.  Animation is equally good with the bulk of it being saved for the beating sequences.  The sound is good too but the announcer can start to grate on your nerves over an 18-hole game.


outlaw-golf-5.jpg (19237 bytes)          outlaw-golf-6.jpg (55519 bytes)


Outlaw Golf may be masquerading as a cartoony and loose golf game, but don’t be fooled -- this is a hardcore golf game.  The less-than real characters and whacky sensibility might scare off the hardcore crowd and the casual player might be letdown by the fact it’s not as cartoony as they may have been led to believe.  It’s the middle crowd that will get the most out of Outlaw Golf, with it’s complete controls, snappy swing system, and solid presentation.


- Omni

(November 27, 2002)

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