As I mentioned when I reviewed Ninja Golf, video games allowed for some truly insane ideas to be added to the typically stuffy sport of golf. However, in reality, there actually is one crazy way to play golf ... Putt Putt! Otherwise known as miniature golf, this family pastime forgoes long drives and bunkers for windmills and creepy-looking clown heads whose mouth is the hole. Miniature golf had been in video game form as long as traditional golf had been; so, my tour of golf video games would be incomplete without covering one. Now, let's enjoy a kid-friendly take on golf with those lovable cartoon characters -- Itchy and Scratchy.
Itchy and Scratchy are part of the Simpsons' universe. They're basically what Tom and Jerry would be like if the scripts were written by Charles Manson. Almost every short somehow ends with the cat part of the duo Scratchy as a bloody mess on the floor. I do admit to having sick giggles when I see what twisted way Scratchy gets it each time the same way I did with Kenny from South Park. Out of all the possibilities for games based on The Simpsons, Itchy and Scratchy have always seemed the best fit. Unfortunately, Acclaim had the license, the same Acclaim that went bankrupt from making horrible licensed games like Total Recall and the South Park N64 games; you do the math.
On the surface, Miniature Golf Madness doesn't seem so bad. Despite being only black and white, the visuals are reasonably detailed, and the animations are decent. The platforming is tight and varied enough, and there is a nice variety of weapons to find and use against that sadistic mouse Itchy. I did get a chuckle out of throwing a knife and taking Itchy's head off. While the game is about as slow-paced as Super Mario Land 2, it otherwise handles well.
Unfortunately, the golf part is what ruined the game. The game would have been fine if you just had to get Scratchy to the end of the stage, but you have to get a ball there, too. Whacking the ball is easy enough; however, the stages aren't ideal for something that can't jump on its own. Perfect positioning is required to get the ball up slopes, and when the ball bounces back at you after hitting a wall for the 30th time on the first hole, you'll be ready to throw your Game Boy out the window. It's all the annoyance of an escort mission just with an inanimate object.
Itchy and Scratchy in Miniature Golf Madness is one of the better games based on The Simpsons, but that's not saying much when you have Bart Vs. the Space Mutants and The Simpsons Wrestling to compare it to. It would have been a decent basic platformer, but putting golf in it turned it into monochromatic annoyance. If you must play something with Itchy and Scratchy, at least this is better than their stages in Bart's Nightmare. Otherwise, keep these sadists off your putt-putt course.