Mario Golf: Advance Tour (Game Boy Advance) Review

By Adam Riley 20.09.2004

Review for Mario Golf: Advance Tour on Game Boy Advance

Mario Golf on the GBA is still considered by many today as being one of the most exemplary titles on the age-old handheld system. Using its vast levels of knowledge and talent, Camelot managed to fuse pick-up-and-play golf mechanics with addictive and absorbing role-playing fun perfectly. After an almost insufferable waiting period, though, the team is back and now has two Golden Sun games under its belt. Will the extra RPG experience make this a must-own? Read on to find out...

Being classed as an RPG golf game, you would assume that there must be some sort of deep and meaningful storyline buried away within the confines of the little GBA cartridge. Well, unfortunately you would be wrong to think that as it is basic stuff all the way. You control either a male or female character with clear personality-deficiencies and must start out on your home course of the Marion Club and compete against others to eventually build up enough power to help you contend with the more infamous golfers of the world...Mario and his crew...

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Advance Tour on Game Boy Advance

People have come to expect high levels of quality on the graphical front from the folk at Camelot, and for good reason. After exploding onto the GBA scene with the amazing Golden Sun, and then following that up with the even more astounding The Lost Age, the developer has lifted quite a few assets from those and placed them in Mario Golf: Advance Tour. Therefore, we are treated to well-formed 3D characters, complete with smooth animation and impressive details that Nintendo would be proud of, bright surroundings and wonderful scaling routines that push the GBA more than usual, especially whilst on the courses (each of which are pack full of expected features such as sand dunes and greens, plus extra Nintendo-like touches). Overall, you are left with no doubt that Camelot has a far greater grasp on the platform than others. However, the now-ancient problem of height perception difficulties in Mode 7 still has yet to be resolved...

This really does come down to a personal preference, but hey, let me put it to you as straight as I can: if you thought the soundtrack to the Golden Sun dup was mightily impressive, then you will ultimately find the instrumental pieces here to be magical and well worth purchasing an ear-phone adaptor for in order to hear the music as it should be, in stereo. The various housing areas and golf lodges come with the traditional soft, melodic themes, the course locations have more motivational tunes that are fairly inoffensive in nature and there are definitely a couple of tracks that have surely been lifted straight from Golden Sun. The only real downside of note is that...wait for it...the damn text noises make an unwelcome return as well...So annoying!

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Advance Tour on Game Boy Advance

Gameplay, as usual, is where it is all at – which is no surprise to those that have played any of the other three Mario Golf iterations over the past few years. Camelot started out on the N64 with a brilliant round of golf that played sublimely and the team has refined it to almost perfection so that anybody, be they complete newcomers or veterans that think they know everything inside out, can come along for the ride and have a damn good time tinkering away on the links.

Controlling the golf play itself is simplicity itself – merely tap the ‘A’ button to set the meter at the bottom moving, wait for it to reach the opposite end, press ‘A’ again, wait for it to return to the original marker and bam, press ‘A’ again and your are away. However, for those that actually wish to play sufficiently well enough to beat any of the upcoming opponents, there are many little things to be done. Tapping ‘B’ the second time accesses manual mode and the third ‘A’ press can then be replaced with presses of ‘AA’ (top spin), ‘BB’ (back spin), ‘AB’ (super top spin) or ‘BA’ (can you guess?). So choose your club of choice, determine your tactics and go for that hole in one!

There are other little tips and tricks that you will pick up along the way, but rather than explaining them here, it is more fun to learn of them by wandering around the beautifully-crafted world that Camelot has created for this GBA adventure-cum-sports fest. Not only do you get to have a nice look around the various golf clubs that are featured in the world, but you get to meet some very interesting characters along the way, some of whom introduce you to extra features in the game – like the Club Slots mode, where your clubs are randomly chosen and you must win in the face of such adversity.

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Advance Tour on Game Boy Advance

To top it all off, there are Mario sprinklings to be found if you dig deep and beat the courses laid out in front of you. If you manage to unlock the Star versions of courses then all of a sudden the normal rules of golfing are thrown out of the window as you are faced with Piranha plants, Mario Kart-esque booster strips and even question mark blocks that can help you along the way. Camelot truly has gone all out for this version and has tried to make the point that whatever the GC can do, the GBA can damn well try to improve upon.

If there was one thing that you could count on Camelot to provide, it was length. Those who have sample the Golden Sun titles will realise just how much was packed into those lovely RPGs and those who have dabbled with Mario's previous tennis and golf exploits will understand that the team really does live under the mantle of 'value for money'. It is then with no surprise that Advance Tour packs in enough modes to make your GBA cry to go to sleep. You have fourteen playable characters at your disposal, six massive courses that can be played normally or in 'Star' mode, the well-crafted RPG section that allows the powering-up of characters, several different types of play (like the crazy 'Near Pin' and 'Speed Golf' modes) and the ability to allow three friends to link up using the new-fangled Wireless Adaptor for multi-player hi-jinks. If there is anything else you would like to see crammed in there, then I suggest you politely go email Camelot yourselves, whilst the rest of us desperately recharge our SP batteries for another round...

Screenshot for Mario Golf: Advance Tour on Game Boy Advance

Cubed3 Rating

Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Whilst Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour on the GameCube fought Tiger Woods for the golfing crown (and winning in several people's eyes), many will be surprised to find that its smaller brother is the one that should receive the most attention from gamers everywhere. A fusion of golf and role-playing might seem crazy and nigh on impossible to pull off to some, but Camelot has proof of success right here, right now and you would be crazy to miss out on it.









C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (2 Votes)

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


There are no replies to this review yet. Why not be the first?

Comment on this article

You can comment as a guest or join the Cubed3 community below: Sign Up for Free Account Login

Preview PostPreview Post Your Name:
Validate your comment
  Enter the letters in the image to validate your comment.
Submit Post

Subscribe to this topic Subscribe to this topic

If you are a registered member and logged in, you can also subscribe to topics by email.
Sign up today for blogs, games collections, reader reviews and much more
Site Feed
Who's Online?
Azuardo, Flynnie

There are 2 members online at the moment.