Friday, April 09, 2010

Virtual Console Review - Neo Turf Masters (Neo-Geo)

Neo Turf Masters - Nazca for Neo-Geo - 9/10

I don't know if the claim will mean much to today's Nintendo Wii audience, but I'm of the mind that Neo Turf Masters on the Neo-Geo is the best arcade golf game ever made.  It's so easy to become spoiled by motion controls on Wii Sports and Wii Sports Resort and Tiger Woods Golf, isn't it?  It's very tempting to toss aside all the older golf games and stick with the Wiimote.  However, I do strongly suggest that you hold on to this one.

I really love the presentation on Neo Turf Masters.  This game is wonderfully polished and you can see the care and dedication Nazca, the developers, brought to the table.  Golf games were decidedly second-tier in the arcades (usually reserved for PC simulations), and I think that's part of the reason gamers are so impressed.  Just look at the bright and brilliantly detailed graphics.  Note the excellent use of color, and note the spectacular animation of the golfers.  Observe the stunning use of scrolling to simulate 3D depth with sprites.

I certainly wouldn't expect four different courses, at 18 holes each.  I certainly wouldn't expect a variety of golfers with their unique skills, or a full set of clubs, or the ability to add curves or spin to the swings.  In other words, I would expect a stripped-down arcade game, not the full experience.  Nazca clearly proved their dedication and love of detail - a trait they would demonstrate again and again with their Metal Slug series.

Perhaps because this is an arcade title, the courses aren't recreations of actual locations, but offer the sort of surreal fantasy video games are made for.  I especially like the par-three holes which take place over cliffs. I also enjoy the brisk speed of the game; it's just a couple quick button presses and you're making your next shot.  It's fairly easy to make shots, but you will have to use your golfing skills, as the game is quite challenging.

And, hey, look at that!  I made it to the end of the review without cracking lame Tiger Woods jokes.  What an achievement.  I should get an award for this review.

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