Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour (GameCube) Review

By Adam Riley 03.09.2003

Review for Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on GameCube

At a time when golf games were still seen as elitist titles, boring to the majority, Camelot and Nintendo teamed up to bring us Mario Golf on the N64. It turned out to be a breath of fresh air, mixing clever gameplay with the light-hearted humour found in most Nintendo products. The game went on to be a massive success and thus a sequel was always going to be inevitable. So without further ado, let's begin the review of Camelot's latest offering, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour...

Most Mario games have the usual half-cocked storyline of saving the Princess, but not this one. Simply put, Mario and both a group of his friends and adversaries have all decided to test their skills across various different (and I mean different!) golfing locales in order to find out who can become the champion of the Toadstool Tour. Let the gaming shenanigans commence...

Camelot's first outing on the Nintendo GameCube has been a relatively successful one in terms of graphical quality. As soon as the company logos appear with a nicely rendered Wario and Waluigi shouting 'Nintendo' and 'Camelot – heh, heh, heh', you just know that there has been a heap of attention poured into this title. Once the introductory movie kicks-in you will simply sit back, jaw drooping on the floor at the immense beauty of the character models and course-effects, and sides aching from the hilarity of the ensuing scenes. If this is what can be achieved for a simple golf game, bring on the proposed RPG that the company has up its metaphorical sleeve.

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on GameCube

As for the actual in-game visuals, again any gamer will hardly be disappointed as almost as much love and attention has gone into these as with the intro. First of all, slow-down is definitely a thing of the past – everything flies around at a solid 60fps. Secondly, apart from the odd lazy texture here and there, everything is crisp, cleanly constructed and extremely pleasing on the eye. Gone are the days of terrible 'jaggies' and now is the era of 'smoothness'! Everything related to the visual side of Mario Golf is a complete pleasure – Camelot has, thankfully, emulated Nintendo's meticulousness in including a plentiful amount of small touches such as character-personalised golf balls and differing special effects for when a perfect shot is accomplished. Each player has their own swing animation, plus numerous celebrations and looks of frustration and annoyance on finishing a hole. So, basically, there are no major flaws present, which for Camelot's début GameCube game is without doubt superb news for gamers awaiting its future titles!

But, wouldn’t music put the golfers off…?
Three things: In-game music = great; Sound effects = spot on; Vocalisation = superb!

Super Mario Sunshine’s legacy rolls on as Camelot lift the summery-vibe for many of the course themes. Pleasant lilting ditties play along in the background whilst you line up your next shot and thankfully the music does nothing to distract or annoy you – everything track fits into its surroundings just right. Later into the game you will uncover courses that use remixes of classic Mario tunes, and these are by far the tunes that will stick with you once the GameCube has been switched off. This is accompanied by a delightful array of sound effects – the *splashes* as your ball lands in water, the *clunk* of smacking against a tree and the satisfying *whoosh* that follows a perfect connection between club and ball are just some of the examples to be found within Toadstool Tour.

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on GameCube

If that was not enough, Camelot has done an exemplary job with the voice acting in the game. The Mario crew all have their usual quirky accents intact, and those characters that cannot talk make all the correct noises – be it Yoshi’s *bouncy* hum, Donkey Kong’s *grunt* or Bowser’s *roar*. The more vocal players in the game have a variety of different sayings that will both confuse and amuse you at the same time. The majority of the best phrases come from the taunts that you can throw at your opponents – and Waluigi wins the funniest lines by a mile, mainly due to his hilarious voice. Shouts of 'Don't Whiff' and 'Are You Sweating?!' will no doubt raise a smile on even the most serious gamer's face…and that is quite an achievement!

Camelot has decided to stick with the old golf formula of pressing the shoot button three times in a row, as opposed to adopting the newly-favoured analogue-swing manoeuvre. Many have thus automatically deemed Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour to be a simplistic game that will not appeal to purists. However, the system has been tweaked and refined over the years since the original Nintendo 64 version was released and is now, therefore, virtually ideal for novices and experts alike. There is a manual and automatic swing – the former expects you to take care of aspects such as the power, impact point, different types of spin and slices, whereas the latter simply expects you to set the power the ball is hit with. The automatic mode is perfect for beginners, but players will soon appreciate that total control over the precision side of a swing is a must for executing a flawless shot, and so a grasp of the manual mode eventually becomes a necessity. There is a certain degree of skill and logic required on some of the courses as well, due to the outside factors that can affect your ball’s flight and landing – prevailing winds, the lay of the land your stood on and the slope of the ground where you shot will land – so people must remember that although the game is extremely cartoon-like in appearance, it is by no means a simple stroll in the park in terms of difficulty.

You begin with a roster of twelve characters to choose from, each with his/her/its own particular strengths and weaknesses in terms of driving length, spin and height amongst other things. You are faced with a wealth of play modes, from a normal tournament where you can compete over a full eighteen holes to special modes such as ‘Near Pin’ where you must land the ball as close to the pin as possible in one shot. There is even a training mode for complete newcomers, which is mightily helpful to start with. Also you will find that nearly all of the modes available in one-player are also accessible in multi-player, so you can choose to team up to complete holes or simply battle against each other to see who the golfing guru amongst you is.

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on GameCube

There are barely any faults overall if truth be told – the camera work when putting can be slightly awkward due to the size of some of the characters, but that can be worked around with some C-Stick movement. As for the game’s simplicity, it seems to work in its favour for the most part. Yes, there will be those of you out there that will be drawn to EA Sports’ forthcoming Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2004 due to its more serious approach, but you will certainly be missing out on a particular type of fun that can only really be had with a title like Toadstool Tour. Camelot has done its utmost to turn out a final product that is worthy of the Nintendo Seal of Quality and have succeeded in all areas. One now wonders just how the imminent Mario Golf: Advance Tour will play like…

Sixteen characters in total and six full courses would make for a lengthy game in general as most owners would not simply go through completing each course and then discard the title. Not only does Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour have that, but it also has a multitude of modes and is bountiful in terms of bonus games! Also, some of the courses and characters are not available right from the start; therefore you must stick with the game in order to totally crack it open. A lot of people have chastised Camelot for supposedly turning the difficulty level right down, but whilst initially simplistic to aid golfing-newbies, Toadstool Tour is by no means a walk in the park and to perfect many of the courses takes a considerable period of time – trying to rush your shots will most likely leave you feeling green, rather than landing on it.

The only qualm that can be held with the game is that there surely could have been some extra courses thrown in for good measure. But that is a minor niggle really, since it is probably better to be left wanting more than to tire of a title rapidly due to it being too lengthy.

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on GameCube

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Tiger Woods watch your back, as Toadstool Tour is a superb piece of gaming product from the ever-reliable Camelot! But it is also one that unfortunately does not progress from the original Mario Golf as much as was expected. Perhaps the company shot itself in the foot by releasing such a fine game in the first place, but that should not be a legitimate excuse. For those that missed out on the first iteration, definitely buy this; as for those that own Mario Golf 64, it would be wise to rent this next generation game before committing to the full price...

Developer

Camelot

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  10/10 (8 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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