Search For Posters!
  Join the SGN staff!
Help Wanted
Release Dates


About Us

The Sports

Partner Links
Auto Insurance Quote
Irvine Moving Companies
LA Moving Companies
Brand Name Shoes

[an error occurred while processing the directive]

Tee Off (DC) Review

Publisher: Acclaim

Background Info

The history of golf games is a long one. First appearing on the PC platform, golf simulations captured the interest of businessmen who wanted to play a few holes at the office. A few years later video games started to make strides and began to enter into more and more homes. When the Atari 2600 became the first console game system, golf was amongst the first titles. Soon after, Intellivision took a stab at its own golf game. In the meantime, golf PC games began to grow in popularity offering simulations of real PGA courses. When the NES was released, the graphics of an 8-bit system weren't quite enough to offer a simulation style game yet provided ample hardware for an arcade style golf experience. Several years later, golf reached the 32-bit console platform on the Genesis and Arnold Palmer's Tournament Golf was a slight success. The popularity of the 32-bit system was hampered at the time by poor game support and it wasn't until two years later that Electronic Arts put the Genesis on the map with its unique and innovative sport franchises. PGA Tour Golf was one of the sport games that propelled the Genesis to the height of its popularity.

Offering a simulation style golf game that possessed incredible mechanics and a great challenge, the PGA Tour series from Electronic Arts was an immediate success. This simulation style of golf dominated the charts on both the console and PC platforms for almost ten years. EA lost their grip on the market when the majority of the public made its switch to 32-bit gaming. Contending with long load times and a re-vamped engine, PGA Tour golf games fell in popularity.

When Hot Shots Golf was released for the PlayStation in 1998 a new breed of golf game was upon us. Hot Shots Golf proved to game designers that the public was hungry for a golf game that played quickly, and if the mechanics were correct, the idea of it being an arcade style game or a simulation was of no consequence. With the success of Hot Shots Golf, EA themselves decided to produce a similar style golf game with a spin-off to their Tiger Woods Golf series. Soon after, Nintendo's first attempt at a 64-bit golf game once again copied Hot Shots' style with Mario Golf for the N64. This leads us to Tee Off by Acclaim, the first 128-bit golf game for a console system. Once again, the arcade style look and feel is present. Tee Off is the latest in a recent slew of Hot Shots clones.

Presentation/Graphics : 78
The look of Tee Off is similar to both Mario Golf and Hot Shots Golf in that the actual characters more resemble cartoon characters than real life golfers. Each character is highly detailed and each possesses an oversized head a la Hot Shots Golf. The look of each course is also more geared toward an arcade style of game rather than the digitized look of most PC golf sims. The course designs offer little in the way of ingenuity and can be all too similar at times, possessing far too few of the hills and valleys we have come to expect from arcade style golf games. More often than not one will find themselves playing 18 holes without a single hill or water hazard in their way.

All of the displays are well conformed to the design of the screen so selecting a club, viewing your lie, and other crucial statistics are clear and easy to read. Each bit of information offered is done in oversized, easy to read numbers and letters.

What will disappoint most about Tee Off is that the graphics really don't show off the power of a 128-bit system such as the Dreamcast and almost falls a bit short of the graphics found on the 32-bit Hot Shots Golf. Aside from the introduction, which shows highly detailed characters in a barrage of golfing related activities, there is little if any graphical improvement over the 32-bit golf games. Kudos to Acclaim for offering an easy to read and easy to learn interface but shame on them for not exploiting the power of the 128-bit Dreamcast. This bleeds into factors such as the skyline and the trees moving on the same plane in the background during the ball's flight, thus diminishing the vast three-dimensional look and limiting the feel of the game. This is true especially in a golf game where tracking a ball through the air at several angles is commonplace.

When actually hitting the ball the camera follows with a smooth frame rate but fails to offer a view that warrants any kind of eye candy. There is the option to change the view at which the camera follows the ball; however, often times the desired view is replaced by the standard view when making a good shot. It seems that the selected camera views are only effective on some shots and not all. This is not to mention that changing the camera angle can only be done in the options menu, which is not available when play begins.

A soft white glowing tail follows the ball and adds a nice touch to the look of the shot. If this weren't hampered by the choice of Acclaim to accompany it with inferior camera angles it would really do an excellent job of adding to the game's ambiance.

Presentation/Audio : 72
Along with cartoon style graphics come arcade-like sounds as well. Like Hot Shots, sounds are exaggerated. From the sound of the ball coming to a stop to the sound of the ball flying through the air, Tee Off's audio department reeks of arcade golf. When done well this can add to a game's presentation in subtle and intangible ways but when done poorly it can add to the annoyance factor very easily. Unfortunately Tee Off's in-game sounds slightly take away from, rather than add to the game's ambiance.

The background music is nothing short of awful; thankfully there is an option to turn it off. Once having muted the background score, most gamers will become immediately aware of the game's lack of sounds. When observing the hole with your golfer there is no background noise whatsoever aside from the occasional sound of the wind blowing, which is absurdly annoying. The sound is completely unrealistic and only present in 18mph plus winds. There are no birds chirping, no water running, not another damn thing can be heard beside silence.

Breaking the silence, when the swing meter is brought up, we are hit yet again by another awful noise. The sound of this meter taking form is more like a battle siren's beginning than any noise we want to hear in a golf game. Other sounds such as the flight of the ball or the club selection's bleep are nothing more or less than expected and pretty much a non-factor. The ball sliding to a halt falls into this same category. What is overly annoying about the sounds of the game is the fact that there are only a few and they can be both repetitive and aggravating when trying to relax with a golf game.

Voice-over work is extremely limited with each golfer offering only three or four phrases, most of which don't seem to make any sense when they are spewed out. Other than these voices, the majority of the sounds are reminiscent of an early Atari 2600 title.

Interface/Options : 79
Beside the slightly sub-par presentation via graphics and sound, Tee Off suffers from a severe lack of playable options. World Tour, Free Round, Match Play and Gate Ball are the only methods of playing the game. Most will notice immediately that there is no way of participating in a realistic four round tourney.

In the World Tour, which is a one-player only mode, you must play against a computer controlled opponent on one of the five courses. Upon its completion you will be ranked according to your score then sent to the next course. Doing well in this mode will warrant new characters and clubs to be revealed. Play can be saved every three holes making it very easy to pick up and put down without worrying about losing your game.

Free round can be played with up to four players and offers a point tourney and traditional stroke play. The match play option is in a separate menu and offers a best ball style of play as well. Gate ball is nothing other than a game of croquette on a futuristic flat surface and is actually not much fun at all.

There is no option for a skins game nor for a four round tournament. Also missing is the practice tee and greens as well as any competitions for longest drive or closest to the pin. The absence of these features takes much away from a game that had a slew of golf games to follow in preparation of making their own. Why they were omitted from Tee Off golf will remain a mystery to most.

As much of a mystery is the method of statistical tracking. Rather than inputting names and saving individual records, there is no option for name entry and the stats from every golfer are combined into one group. This method of stat tracking is shoddy at best and greatly diminishes the bragging rights factor amongst gamers. More so, it takes away from the actual replay value of the game.

Gameplay : 82
Tee Off's play is centered on a circular swing meter, next to which is an actual numeric readout of your shot's power (ranging from 1%-120%). Like most games, going past 100% percent power on the meter leads to a greater chance of mistiming your shot and either hooking or slicing the ball. During the shot it is possible to control hook and slice not only from the timing of your shot but there is also the option of using the analogue stick to hit the ball high, low, left or right. This creates a fair amount of control of your ball. It can be difficult at times to judge your shot and adjust to mistakes due to the poor camera angles (often times it's hard to see the relationship of the ball moving over the terrain thus making it difficult to see your shot's curvature in the air).

There aren't many characters to choose from at the start of the game and none of them can really drive the ball. It will take you five rounds of golf to release even the first bonus golfer who isn't much of an improvement on the previous characters. This wouldn't be a problem if the speed of playing 18 holes versus a computer-controlled opponent weren't so sluggish. Load times are not at all a problem, however: it is the length of time it takes to make all of the adjustments before shooting that creates the lag time between strokes. For this reason some may not be interested in spending the time that is needed to open up all of the hidden characters.

Driving the ball is fairly typical of the past arcade style golf games. Taking away from the joy of driving the ball is the lack of hilly terrain and water hazards. Chip shots are fairly good though it is a bit more difficult than in previous games to hit the pin or simply know when you've made a good shot. This is directly due to the lack of precision the actual swing meter is able to display.

One of the biggest problems with the game is the ability to change the brand of club you use, yet not being able to select exactly what clubs you would like to put in your bag. It is not possible to select a 2 iron and drop the 5 wood. All players will take the same clubs to the course and frequently are left taking a shot that demands a club they would have selected to bring if given the opportunity.

Putting the ball is relatively difficult from long distances. This in not because it is simply hard to sink a long put but because it is impossible to read the green from over thirty feet away (the grid ends after 10yards). When on the green, the distance from the hole is still marked in yards rather than meters. When it comes to putting it's nice to have highly detailed information and depend on absolute precision. In this golf game, however, putting is all too similar to chipping and driving in that exact precision isn't a must. This lends itself well to a golf game suited for novice gamers but for those who have been golfing at home for several years it is quite unwelcome.

Replay Value : 80
A lack of statistical tracking as well as the lack of a true tournament mode hampers the replay value. The world tour mode does come closest to the feel of a tournament and will be the option played most often. Once into the game with a fair amount of hours logged, most will find themselves immersed in the game trying to release all of the characters, balls, and clubs but there simply aren't enough two- to four-player options. There is enough to keep the average gamer happy but no extra steps were taken to ensure Tee Off's replay value would go above and beyond what has traditionally been expected from a golf game. Not only that but many options that we have seen in the past are nowhere to be found.

Overall : 81
Once you get used to the feel of the game and have full command over the interface, Tee Off golf is a very enjoyable game. If it weren't for Hot Shots Golf, Tee Off would have warranted a much higher score and been much more enjoyable. As it stands it is very difficult to get excited over a game on a 128-bit system that is outdone in almost every category by a game on a 32-bit system. For this reason, fans of Hot Shots and Mario Golf should stick to their guns and avoid the purchase of the first Dreamcast golf game. If you don't own either the PSX or the N64 and are in need of a Golf game for your Dreamcast, then Tee Off may be worth its $50 price tag, albeit just barely.

By: Jon Licata 3/8/00

© 1998-2006 Sports Gaming Network. Entire legal statement. Feedback

Other Links:
[Free Credit Report  |   Car Insurance Quotes  |   Designer Shoes  |   Outdoor Equipment

MVP Baseball 2003
Street Hoops
Mad Catz Xbox Hardware

Inside Pitch 2003
MLB Slugfest 20-04
Tennis Masters Series



[an error occurred while processing the directive]