PUBLISHER: Sigma Enterprises (Japan) / Sage’s Creation (US)
DEVELOPER: Sigma Enterprises
RELEASE DATE: 04/06/91 – (JP), 1991 (US)
Super Golf is the Game Gear’s first golf title and it embraces brevity over anything else. The eighteen holes included can be completed in less than an hour, provided you’re playing alone and not passing the Game Gear around to your friends (the latter option is proudly touted as a feature in the instruction manual). There are four characters and caddies to choose from, and Match Play allows you to play with three other people. Did four golf-obsessed friends ever come together to put Super Golf to the test? How many lone linksmen ended up playing four-player golf by themselves? What a sad image.
Super Golf‘s four characters include Iron Lewis, a robot with a mighty long drive. The inclusion of a robot means you can relax, this is not a golf sim. Cindy Thomson is a human female who can putt really well. She’s great if your putting skills suck, but if the hole is more than 300 yards, she struggles. Patty Austin is from Australia and, according to the manual, her super shot “terrorizes” other players. Isn’t terrorism illegal? Finally, Olympus Alexander is a Greek golf dynamo, and the guy I chose for my time with Super Golf. I don’t consider myself a good virtual golfer by any means, but Alexander is so good, he makes up for my deficiences. Check out this score:
I’d like to take credit for this impressive display, but I can’t. Olympus’ smugness is justified. His skills really do pay the bills.
The caddies – Nancy, Dr. Rock, Linda, and Silvia, respectively – all help in unique ways too. Dr. Rock boosts your chance for super shots, Linda is helpful when it’s windy, Nancy brings the player luck, and Silvia lets you know the best direction to take your shot. Or so the manual says. Personally, I didn’t notice the caddies helping me much at all, but I presume they do, unless the manual is chock full of lies. Either way, I chose Dr. Rock, because, well, his name is Dr. Rock. Olympus Alexander and Dr. Rock are champion names. No offense, ladies.
Personality is key to any sports game, hence why I talked about the players and their caddies first. Regardless of Super Golf‘s ability to present good golf, I appreciate when a sports title attempts to be more than just a bare-bones representation of the sport. Heck, each of the golfers has their own theme music! Not all of it is great (sorry Iron Lewis), but it’s a nice touch.
Thankfully, Super Golf controls surprisingly well, given the Game Gear’s button limitations. The user interface for hitting the ball is on par (ho ho!) with other golf games of the era: place your ball, select your club, choose your direction, watch the power meter, then smack the ball, and repeat. Unless you’re terrible at virtual golf, there’s no reason you shouldn’t succeed here.
Super Golf‘s charming trappings hide the fact that it’s a short golf game with little replay value, unless you’ve convinced three others to play with you. The eighteen holes aren’t poorly rendered, but they’re short, simple, and offer little variation in their course design. Palm trees, sand traps, and water hazards are prevalent, but also easily avoided. Many of the holes can be reached in three shots or less, depending on how hard you hit the ball. This is fine if you just want to get some quick golf in at the office, but depressing if you’re looking for actual challenge. If you remember that Super Golf was probably meant to be played by businessmen on their lunch breaks, the game works. Those looking for actual depth should wait for a better golf game.