This game's main feature is its one-player tournament mode. Here you try to win prize money by competing in tournaments on the three courses. You can choose either an 18-hole or 36-hole tournament in either stroke or match play. The gameplay works just like th other modes expect you have to keep track of the other golfers who are competing against you. Also there are occasional special conest holes like 'closest to the pin' or 'longest drive' where you can earn some extra cash. At the end of the tournament your position on the leaderboard determine how much money you receive, and naturally the higher you finish, the better the payout. You can also play some practice rounds to give yourself a higher ranking going into each competiton. This game has a battery save to record your progress in case you can't finish a tournament and would like to continue later, and it also keeps tracks of your winnings. The ultimate goal is to play through enough tournaments to accumulate a total of $1 million.
Both the graphics and sounds are first-rate for a golf cartridge. All of the courses are well drawn, and the screens showing Mario and Luigi swinging their club are done pretty well with some smooth animation. You even get some nice closeups of your ball going into the cup or landing in a sandtrap. As far as the audio goes, each course has its own theme music, which is pretty catchy and fun to listen to. If you don't like it you can alway turn it off in the options menu. The sound effects are great, such as your club hitting the ball, the rustle of your ball going through the trees, the splash when it lands in a water hazard and so on.
The controls work very well. The in-game menus during your shot are easy to navigate and never seem cumbersome. The "three-tap" method of hitting your ball is pretty easy to use, though it may take some practice to get the timing down so you don't constantly shank your shot.
NES Open is a flat-out fun game to play. It's very easy to pick up and very addicting, plus the three courses and different options give it plenty of variety. You only play head-to-head with the computer in the match play mode, but the CPU golfer gives you a good challenge without being too unfair; you'll mainly lose from your own miscalculations. This game is especially fun when you try your luck against another player in either mode. There's also several ways to customize the game, such as choosing the clubs you want to carry around and setting the names of the tournament participants. The ability to save our progress in the tournaments is a plus, and there's even some nice little touches such as instant replay of your previous swing and a hall-of-fame section, which keeps track of any birdies, eagles, albatrosses or Holes-in-One you make and records them so you can go back and see them at any time.
There's no doubt that Nintendo has scored a hole-in-one with NES Open as this is one of the best 8-bit golf games around. Everything about this game is done well, from the graphcis and sounds to the addiciting gameplay, and it even compares favorably to the PGA Tour games on the 16-bit systems. Overall this is a great game for Mario fans, golf fans or NES fans in general.
- Review posted on July 16, 2008