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Great Golf Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 50%
Great Golf
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  • Review Score:

  • C
Okay, let's talk about one of the greatest misnomers in video game history (pun fully intended). Anyone who had a Sega Master System growing up was painfully aware of the "Great" sports line exclusive to the system which was anything but great. In fact, Defunct Games had already crucified Great Baseball and Great Ice Hockey, and don't expect better from Great Football or Great Basketball. However, as the saying goes, "Even a broken clock is right twice a day." Sega had to get at least one sport right, and it so happened to be when they took on golf.

Great Golf was the first golf game I got into when I was a kid; yes, this game is the reason I'm doing all these golf reviews now. Playing it again thirty years later, I can safely say it holds up in some ways and flops in others. Let's start with the aesthetics. The game just pops with bright colors from the title screen to the 18th hole. The swing animations are quite smooth, and the courses have a lot of detail. On the downside, the game takes a couple seconds to render the forward view on each shot which does suck but doesn't infuriate like Turbo Golf did. Also, the sound is piss-poor. The game stays largely quiet except for the slide whistle sound used for each shot and generic sounds when the ball lands. Also the voices that say "Great On" and "Great Shot" are fuzzy as hell like they were speaking into a broken microphone.

Great Golf (Master System)Click For the Full Picture Archive

The game's options and mechanics are decent for the time. Four people can play with shared controllers; they can even each enter a name and choose which clubs are in their bags. Stroke and match play are available (though only two people can do match play). The mechanics are very different from other golf games, factoring in elements like foot positioning to apply spin, fade, or draw. However, the mechanics work well; it is very hard to shank a shot. That's a good thing, too, since the one course in the game can be outright brutal. Unlike Neo Turf Masters where all four courses were straight-up unfair, only a couple of holes in Great Golf fit that description, notably the island-hopping hole and the crescent moon hole. The wind can also be deceptive as the gauge in the corner tends not to be consistent with the results of the shot.

In thinking about Great Golf, one word keeps coming to mind. That word is "competent". This game doesn't do anything spectacular or anything spectacularly awful. It's just competent. Of course, compared to the rest of the "Great" sports line, competent is frigging amazing. Great Golf is an enjoyable-enough nostalgia bomb but holds little appeal to newer gamers. I guess a title like Decent Golf would be more accurate.
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