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Hal’s Hole-in-One Golf – SNES

Hal’s Hole-in-One Golf – SNES

 

Hole-in-one-golfPlatform: Super Nintendo Entertainment System

Developer: Hal Laboratory

Publisher: Hal Laboratory

Release Date (NA): September 1991

Genre: Sports, Golf Simulator

Nerd Rating: 3 out of 10

Reviewed by Flagostomos

Don’t ask me why I love golf so much, I just do. It may be because the courses are always so well maintained they remind me of paradise. Maybe it’s because my Dad exposed me to golf at a young age with what is one of my most nostalgic memories on the Super Nintendo.

Too bad the game isn’t as good as I remember.

 

Gameplay:

In terms of Golf simulation as we know it today, there’s pretty much two categories: the “Mario Golfs” and the “Tiger Woods” golfs. One tries to more closely emulate real golf, the other does a decent enough of a job copying it but providing us a unique flavor of gameplay. However when this game came out, neither of those two game types existed. All we had for virtual golf was the virtual reality golfs you can find in arcades albeit rarely, and I guess there was one or two on the NES too.

That having been said, keeping in mind the hardware limitations, I actually have to hand it to the developers for pulling off a rather good quality golf simulator for its time. You have an overhead view of the ball and course, and they didn’t bother trying to make a person stand there at the side. It’s just the ball and the cursor, pointing in which direction you are going to hit. There are gauges that tell you how far the ball will go (approximately) at full power, wind speed, and just anything you could need to know.

There are two modes of gameplay, stroke and match play. Stroke play is where you will spend a lot of time honing the basic mechanics, learning how to line up shots, and then the very difficult swing meter. You first start the swing, get the power in the backswing, and then try to line up the final cursor for a straight shot. This takes a lot of practice, but once you get the hang of it you will find that you have no problems sending the ball where you want it to go. The majority of the difficulty of the game lies in mastering the swinging mechanics. Once you learn that, lining up shots isn’t difficult, save one situation: putting. Putting is a nightmare, not even using arrows on the green to try and show you the lay of the land. I’m not gonna lie to you, it’s hard. I cannot count the amount of times I had successfully gotten on the green in two or three strokes, only finish the whole with a high stroke because putting is just that hard.

Story:
Nonexistent, it’s golf for Pete’s sake! The only amount of story is in match play, you play against a guy named Hal that is amazingly good. Best of luck to you in beating him.

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Controls:
I pretty much touched on this in gameplay, but I will reiterate here that the only difficult part of the controls is the swinging mechanics. Both for driving and hitting iron shots, and for putting. The difficulty of putting is equally placed between limitations of being able to see the actual green and the lack of any direction for how much juice to give your putt. Mastering it takes time, but once you do it’s pretty easy.

Graphics/Audio:
I really admire the graphics in this game. Everything from the little man that appears in the swinging gauge box, to the opening cinematic. When you go to putt, the camera zooms in on the cup and adds to the tension. The water splashes when you land in the trap, and even the ball landing animation is pretty well done.

Not gonna lie though, the music is PAINFULLY 90s. Though it does bring back great memories for me.

Replayability:
Ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh – Why would anyone ever play this game, ever? There are so many good golf games out on the market today. Sports games suffer so terribly from being replaced.

But I still have the cart, and my Dad and I still play this together from time to time. Just for the sake of nostalgia.

Gameplay: 5
Story: N/A
Controls: 5
Graphics/Audio: 2
Replayability: 0
Overall: 3

Hal’s Hole-in-One Golf: I remember you as being that game I always wanted to play but never could. And I will remember the fond memories of playing it with my Dad. But you might as well get comfortable on the shelf collecting dust.

Written by Nerd Bacon

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