A new definition for extreme sports. And it involves Waluigi!
Since I'm a huge fan of Mario Golf for N64 and GBC, Mario Golf Toadstool Tour was one of the first titles I tried at E3. I wasn’t disappointed.
Mario Golf: TT builds upon its predecessors in a natural, yet captivating way. Both the handheld and console games include realistic physics and a variety of courses, ranging from realistic to absurd. This tradition continues in Toadstool Tour. Two courses were playable at Nintendo’s booth, each with a few sample holes to try out. The one on the right provides traditional holes that would fit in any golf game or live course, with standard dog-legs and hazards. The standard holes are fun to play and are great for an introduction to the game, but the other course is far more interesting. Whereas Mario Golf 64’s Mario-esque holes simply included impossible land formations often in familiar shapes, Toadstool Tour truly brings the golf course into the Mushroom Kingdom through the power of the GameCube. Giant pipes block players’ shots on one hole. On another, giant mushrooms adorn the fairway. Yet another hole had chain chomps of various sizes anchored to the ground--land the ball too close and you’ll find yourself with two additional strokes and a new range ball.
Overall I found the controls to be very similar to Mario Golf for the N64, though the version on display seems to be on a mode that did some work for me. Instead of trekking into the hip new analog swing control world, Camelot opted to stick with the tried-and-true meter bar. Push A once to initiate a swing and again at the desired power. Players must then push A when the cursor is over the starting position, though how this is done is somewhat different from in Mario Golf GBC/64, with a balance meter starting from the right. The demo has a permanent auto setting for this part, so I couldn’t judge how well the altered system worked. The rest of the controls are swiped from the three-pronged controller. C-stick adjusts the camera, the left analog stick controls aim and club, and B changes shot type/putter distance. In an effort to better help people judge distance, Camelot has also added an FYI label showing the distance related to a certain position on the power meter, which is changed via the L/R buttons. Taunts also make a comeback in the GameCube edition. Pushing a direction on the C-stick or D-pad will make your character yell something audible and a not-so-related statement in a text bubble. The taunts (and compliments) are enjoyable, though I only heard grunts and the like--nothing like the classic, “One two three FORE!!!" or, “HURRY UP, ALREADY!!!"
The graphics are respectable, with every tree, pipe, and ‘shroom fully modeled. If you’re close enough you can even see individual blades of grass! The models are tweaked versions of Nintendo’s new standards, as seen in Mario Party 4 and Mario Kart: DD, though I honestly found Peach’s proportions quite disturbing. As there was no surround booth for the game, I wasn’t able to make out the music, though it is most assuredly the standard fare for Mario Golf (and Camelot) games. The characters’ animations and statements are as fun as ever, and totally Mario.
Mario Golf for the N64 rocks, and Toadstool Tour’s accented personality and highly improved graphics look to leave Camelot’s first outing with Mario in the dust…er…sand trap. I myself can hardly wait to play a full eighteen with Waluigi.