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Zoda's Virtual Revenge: Mario Golf

by Neal Ronaghan - March 26, 2009, 7:45 pm
Total comments: 4

With a putt-putt here and yo-yo there, we've got two more Virtual Console recommendations for your eyes only.

With a week off, we're back a little early with two games that have nothing do with the recent Virtual Console Arcade announcement. The first is a superb golfing game for the Nintendo 64, courtesy of Lasse Pallesen. Being as it is an N64 game on Virtual Console, we can only assume Nintendo had a hand in it, and they did, because it is Mario Golf.

While Mario is the exact opposite of neglected, fan-favorite series StarTropics is the very definition of the word. This week we've got the second and final game (for now I hope) in the series, Zoda's Revenge. It is a personal favorite series of mine and I'm glad I got to go back and play it, because I forgot how stupidly funny it is.

Next time we'll have some word on the Virtual Console Arcade front. I promise*, even if I have to get every game myself.

*Promises not gurranteed

Mario Golf

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo 64

Cost1000 Points
ControllersWii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedYear 1999

Even ten years after its release on the Nintendo 64, Mario Golf is still a prime example of how to make a highly accessible yet deep golf experience. Even though green pipes act as teleports, golf balls create rainbows in mid-air, and Piranhas inhabit the courses, Mario Golf is still a very hardcore game that is tremendously challenging and demanding of your concentration.

The game features fourteen playable characters, six courses, and more than ten game modes, including Tournament, Speed Golf, and Mini-Golf. It has a simple control scheme where only two button taps are needed to make a shot. Still, the game takes ages to master. You must possess impeccable timing, manage your Power Shots, and apply back and top spin correctly, as well as consider the wind factor, the weather, and the fade or draw tendencies of your character. Everything comes together to create a wonderfully deep and addictive experience that holds up even today.

Recommended for Everyone

- Lasse Pallesen

Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II

SystemVirtual Console - Nintendo Entertainment System

Cost500 Points
ControllersWii Remote,Wii Nunchuk,GameCube
ESRB RatingEveryone
ReleasedYear 1994

Taking place following the events of the first StarTropics (which we recommended last year), Zoda's Revenge plays very similarly to the first game in the late NES series, with a few differences. Like the first game, it is a dungeon-based adventure that is to Zelda games what Earthbound is to RPGs. However, unlike Zelda, it is very linear. You play as teenager Mike Jones - who is apparently renowned as a baseball pitcher throughout history - as he travels through time to save the fate of Argonians, who he rescued in the first game. The game has an extremely unique sense of humor and a distorted sense of history; Cleopatra loves pizza, Sherlock Holmes is an historical figure, and Leonardo da Vinci has a subterranean lair in his basement. Also, Mike has to collect tetrads. Yes, the blocks from Tetris.

The first game had a distinct grid-based movement and jumping style which the second game completely removes. Instead, you can move freely in mid-jump, which introduces a host of problems since there isn't much precision in movement or jumping. It also makes attacking enemies a little more difficult. Regardless, the game is a lot of fun and offers the same great dungeon-crawling and puzzles that were present in StarTropics. Zoda's Revenge is a great game that falls short of the superb 1991 original, but it is still a must-play title for fans of the series.

Recommended for Fans

- Neal Ronaghan

Special thanks to the Video Game Museum for the screenshots


TJ SpykeMarch 27, 2009

Posted in 1969?

Coming out in 1994, I don't think most people even had a chance to play Zoda's Revenge: StarTropics II. I know Nintendo had just released the NES 2 that year, but most people had moved on to the SNES. I think Nintendo missed out on some easy money by not releasing an adapter that allowed you to play NES games (Sega did release an adapter for the Genesis that let you play Master System games).

Mop it upMarch 27, 2009

I'm not really a fan of Mario Golf, despite the awesomity that is Wario. It has a lot of play modes, but the HotShots Golf characters seem really out-of-place. The whole shot system requires too much use of mathematics, the game almost seems like an edutainment title in disguise. Sometimes, such as when putting, there isn't enough information provided as to make it feel like random guesswork.

For only a few dollars more you could get the superior GameCube version.

I don't know what everyone's beef is with StarTropics II as I find it to be a much-improved sequel. My main problem with the original StarTropics is its terrible controls; moving one tile at a time makes them slippery and sluggish. Since there's no period of invincibility after you're hit, you can get damaged multiple times before you can get away. StarTropics II controls much more smoothly and accurately, which that alone makes it an easier game.

Basically I disagree with your recommendations and would personally recommend the original to fans of NES only while the sequel to everyone.

RABicleMarch 29, 2009

I'm always doing stupid things like waiting for the US version to come out before buying Mario Golf, despite it being available here since like December.

I agree with the writeup for StarTropics 2.  It feels looser (and sillier) but is worth playing for fans of the first one.  I played it on NES ages ago and will probably download it for VC on a rainy day or in a moment of weakness.

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