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Power Golf Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 40%
Power Golf
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  • Review Score:

  • C-
Where is the line between honest and unfair challenge? At what point does a game's difficulty get to the point where it's no longer worth trying to beat it? I guess it depends on the player. Some look at, say, Dark Souls and see a test of gaming skill that they will enjoy overcoming no matter how many times they get beaten down. Others see the same game as a cheap, unfair piece of crap designed to test how aerodynamic a controller can be when thrown at a wall. Needless to say, I had to ask those questions critically when looking at Power Golf.

Power Golf is definitely better than the last TurboGrafx golf game I covered Jack Nicklaus' Turbo Golf, but that's like saying drowning in water is better than drowning in urine. First, let's talk about what Power Golf got right. The visuals are bright, colorful, and better detailed than the golf games available at the time, even better than some Genesis offerings. The overhead view used by the game scrolls perfectly to keep up with the ball, and the ball scaling when a wedge sends the ball high was a nice touch. The controls and display are simple and make perfect sense. It's amazing how older golf games tended to screw up those simple elements. Power Golf plays quite fast. Unlike the poorly named Turbo Golf which took more than an hour to play due to slow view renders, I was able to finish a round of Power Golf in less than thirty minutes. Finally, the putting was well done. The slopes on the greens are very easy to read; I rarely had to putt more than once.

Power Golf (TurboGrafx-16)Click For the Full Picture Archive

Unfortunately, there were three elements that drag Power Golf deep into the bunker. First, there's only one course. Once again, the limited space on the HuCards used by the TurboGrafx cut a golf game's longevity. That wouldn't be a major issue were it not for the second problem: the course is just too hard. It's not unfair like the courses in Neo Turf Masters, but the holes in Power Golf get absolutely ridiculous. Why the hell do there have to be THREE island-hopping holes on the course??? The course would've been much less of a headache were it not for the last, most damning problem: the swing meter moves WAY too fast and has absolutely NO margin for error. I have never sent so many shots out-of-bounds in any other game I've played in the near thirty years I've been playing golf games! I can count the number of times I managed to get perfect impact on one hand.

Power Golf is the kind of golf game that does enough right that I can see masochistic gamers trying to tame its fiendish difficulty. As for me, I'll just stick to trying to tame the Emerald Dragon in a PGA Tour game. I prefer to have challenging courses without having to fight the mechanics.
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