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Platform: GameBoy Advance
Genre: RPG / Sports
Publisher: Nintendo
Developer: Camelot
ESRB: E (Everyone)
Released: August 2004

 

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Mario Golf Advance Tour

Score: 8.9 / 10

 

Pros:

- Very solid golf mechanics

- RPG sensibility actually works

- Good multiplayer

- Save anytime during a round

 

 

Cons:

- Some stuttering during doubles matches

 

 

Related Links:

Review: Mario Golf (GC)

Review: Outlaw Golf (GC)

Review: Hot Shots Golf 3 (PS2)

"...itís a hole-in-one!"

 

After some initial doubts I finally had to accept that a role-playing golf game made sense.  Mario Golf Advance Tour (MGAT) is foremost a golf game with the usual suspects and golf modes accounted for, but the bulk of the game and the only way to unlock courses and characters is to golf through the Story mode.

 

mario golf advance tour review    mario gold advance tour review

 

You pick a golfer and choose the most basic of attributes then proceed to the Marion Golf Club to be taught by the masters, challenge other golfers, complete various golf-type mission and compete in an assortment of singles and doubles tournaments to be crowned the ultimate golf champion.  Itís a framework that works as a role-playing game (without the chance of being slaughtered by a netherwordly creature).  Story events happen along the way and although you wonít always know what youíre supposed to be doing next thereís always something to do.  Besides the actual golf (which Iíll get to) you can train or wander the clubhouse or world map just exploring.

 

The world map should be instantly comfortable for anyone that has played a Zelda game, but MGAT is much more directed.  For the most part youíll stick to the dirt paths.  Occasionally youíll come across an open part where you can shake trees for various power-ups.  Itís through the world map that you can access the weapons mastó I mean, golf club maker for when you step-up in the world and get to order custom clubs or find access to increasingly difficult courses.

 

 

To gain that access in the first place youíll need to upgrade your skills (and the skills of your CPU buddy in Doubles mode) to really leave the competition in the dust.  By completing successfully in the various tournaments you gain experience points (XP) to put toward levelling-up then increasing your drive, control, spin, etc.  Every time your character levels-up it gives rise to some difficult choices because the attributes seem equally important.

 

The developer, Camelot, was responsible for MGATís big brother Mario Golf on GameCube.  The golf of that game has been practically duplicated here (even if the presentation has had some concessions made).  Just a quick summary: rock solid golf using a three button press swing that easily meets the clichť, easy to pick-up hard to master.  With MGATís cartoon presentation itís easy to forget that this is a technical golf game with weather conditions and all to consider with each shot.

 

It should also be noted that itís possible to upload the data from the GBA to the GC so you can try out your golfer in 3D.  

 

mario golf advance tour review     mario gold advance tour review

 

MGAT also has many multiplayer modes including using one GBA to take turns.  Golf is a great head-to-head and team game in the first place so being able to play a round with/against a buddy as the snow comes down or the miles roll past is great.

 

The course designs are great and like Mario Golf on GameCube thereís plenty of variety even if it still seems stuck in ďMario themesĒ with familiar characters and environments at every turn.  Most courses are also a test of skill Ė and the later stages in story mode are some the most challenging videogame golf youíve ever played.

 

Big kudos and thumbs-up to Camelot for an excellent save system.  Even if youíre in           the middle of a match you can pick-up later and start playing from there (in any mode).  A lesser game would have saved your overall progress and forced you to start the round over.  For this alone I will forgive Camelot for not fixing a strange bug when your doubles partner steps up to the ball.  For whatever reason, the graphics stutter whenever itís there turn.

 

Although Mario Gold Advance Tour should be considered a niche title, it has too much going for it.  To use a golf term, itís a hole-in-one!

 

- Omni

(October 10, 2004)

 

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