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Mean 18 Ultimate Golf Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 40%
Mean 18 Ultimate Golf
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  • Review Score:

  • C-
Ports from other sources always tended to be hit-or-miss. Normally this phenomenon would show up in the MANY attempts to port from the arcade. However, there have been plenty of cases of poor ports from the PC. I've always been a console gamer first and foremost, but I can name plenty of cases where console ports came nowhere close to the quality of the PC originals like the ports of Wolfenstein and Doom on the Super Nintendo. Regrettably, I have to add the Atari 7800's only traditional golf game Mean 18 to that list.

Mean 18 Ultimate Golf was originally released on the Amiga, the Atari ST computer line, and DOS. The Atari 7800 was the only console that got it although the developers made Jack Nicklaus' Turbo Golf as well (which I reviewed last year). Fortunately, though they have similar gameplay, Mean 18 is much better than Turbo Golf. The controls are quite manageable though I have to wonder why both fire buttons do the same thing. One of them could've been a "back" button. The slow-as-molasses screen renders of Turbo Golf didn't get into Mean 18 though a two-second load shows up when a new hole starts. Though the three-click mechanics work well, the onscreen gauge doesn't make it clear where the perfect accuracy point is. That pointless yellow line on the upper half of the gauge could've (read: SHOULD'VE) been used for that purpose. Finally, the putting can get quite irritating. The slope indicators aren't clear, and it is WAY too easy to overshoot. Three putts happened way more often than they should've.

Mean 18 Ultimate Golf (Atari 7800)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Unfortunately, the PC versions blow the 7800 version out of the water. The 7800 version has visuals that are bright and colorful, but they lack the fine detail that the computer versions provided. Like all 7800 games, the sound sucks due to the 2600 sound chips in the console; expect to get sick of the whoosh effect with every swing and the crash effect used when hitting a bunker. Worst of all was all the stuff that had to be left out since it couldn't fit onto a 7800 cartridge. The original versions provided three real courses right out of the gate along with a course editor for making your own holes. The 7800 had to pare that down to just providing Pebble Beach. (Well, at least the third gen had ONE decent game with that course; it's certainly better than Bandai Golf.)

Taken as just an 8-bit golf game, Mean 18 Ultimate Golf is a relatively decent if unremarkable entry in the genre. Sure, it's the only option for traditional golf on the Atari 7800, but it's not a bad option at all. However, taken as a port of the PC originals, it hit a water hazard right off the tee. If your computer can play DOS games, there's really no need to waste time with this butchered version.
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