Well, this is the last stop on the Defunct Games Historical Golf Tour, and I want to say thanks to everyone who joined me. Since Sega was the biggest contributor to this tour (providing a third of the list), it's only appropriate that we end with Sega's last console. As cool as it was, the Dreamcast had no hope to survive the onslaught from the Playstation 2, GameCube, and Xbox. It died only three years after its debut. Thus, it only had a single golf game made for it. Fortunately, it was a good one.
Let's not beat around the bush; Tee Off is a blatant Hot Shots Golf rip-off. The use of super-deformed characters was not a coincidence. However, Tee Off also copied the best parts of Hot Shots, namely the accessibility and simple fun. There are five fictitious courses in five areas of the world, and they feel fairly distinct from each other. Only a couple of characters are usable at the start; however, victories in the Tour mode unlock new characters and clubs. There is plenty to keep you occupied.
The game is extremely simple to pick up and play. Aiming is simple with the thumbstick, using the d-pad switches clubs and shot type, and the X button projects a handy flightpath for your shot, complete with slope of the landing area. The Y button switches among four different camera views (two where the player is and two at the projected landing zone) which is fine but I wish I had more control over the camera than that. The three-click swing meter (activated with the A button) works as well as it should. The impact point is very generous; it would take a MAJOR screw-up to shank a shot. Likewise, putting here is extremely easy; I rarely had to putt twice, even from more that fifty feet away. This is a great game for younger players, but video pros would find the game too easy on the whole.
Aside from the relative lack of challenge, the game as a whole plays well. The physics are a little exaggerated but not at the grossly unrealistic levels of CyberTiger. Even though the ball will bounce rather high when it hits the rough, it still loses its trajectory the way it should. The only real issue is the fact that the ball hardly ever rolls, even when hitting a downhill slope. It may have been adjusted to eliminate frustration for younger players, but it still just seems wrong to me. The more I think about it, the more I wish this game had difficulty settings.
The aesthetics are fine. The courses look clean, and the characters look cute. I can tell the visuals don't tax the Dreamcast hardware, but since they also keep the load times quicker than most Dreamcast games, I won't complain. The audio is more hit-and-miss. The music is enjoyable (in fact, this is one of the few golf games I play with the music on), but the voice work is pretty poor, like the voice actors were bored in the recording studio.
Tee Off is a rip-off of Hot Shots Golf, but it is also a good rip-off of Hot Shots Golf. With its extremely low challenge level, it may be more for the kids than those who regularly play golf games. However, with how hard the Dreamcast fell, the pros should feel lucky to get a golf game on the system at all.