Outlaw Golf Review (Xbox)
With a hardcore physics engine and a take-no-prisoners attitude, Outlaw Golf takes the sport to the extreme. Try your game on one of these outrageous courses:
- Turnpike Valley Country Club – Experience golf with a special flavor – a blend of toxic waste and traffic exhaust that cries New Jersey. Note the friendly message that local denizens have colorfully painted on the tastefully placed concrete supports that allow golf and heavy traffic to coexist. Don’t forget to dodge low flying airplanes!
- Crusty Leaf Country Club – Remember the Civil War? They do. So look out for stray bullets and trailer parks as you head South – where the loveliness of the golf course is offset by the ugliness of certain local denizens. On the bright side, if you’ve had a hankering for your first cousin, here’s your chance to get married properly!
- El Diablo Country Club – Golf in this desert setting and do your part to wreck the environment. Enjoy the low flying blimps, which are no more garish than the residents, and stop in to visit Grandma and Gramps when you finish your round.
Only the finest individuals could golf on these courses. Choose to be:
- C.C. -- Growing up around six brothers meant CC learned early in life to kick major sports-ass and wear dresses later. This curvaceous and ultra-competitive Tom boy can dish out a delicate chip shot or a vicious roundhouse kick to her good natured, tubby caddy, Heavy G. By the way, don't ever call CC a Tom boy to her face or you'll be looking out of your ear.
- Doc - Taking time off from his busy surgical and malpractice schedule, Doc Diggler never passes up a chance hit the links... even if it costs a few patients their lives. Lugging clubs for doctor slice is his brain-dead caddy, Toast.
- El Suave - Hailing from the most sexy, exotic locale on the planet – Tia Juana – El Suave is the only golfer ever known to be able to pose before, during and after a golf swing. Carrying the clubs for this Latin Lover of himself, is the ultimate brownnoser, golfshoe-licking toady, El Ramon.
- Harley -- Born in a motorcycle repair shop, Harley grew up with a crowbar in one hand and a golf club in the other. Harley perfected her golf swing beating up boyfriends and relatives. She is currently living in a van with her fellow hog-riding, tough-yet-tender boyfriend and caddy, Snake. Harley can frequently be seen on TV, usually being handcuffed and hauled off by local police for disorderly conduct.
- Ice Trey -- Hailing from the rough and tumble, crime-ridden inner city streets of Beverly Hills, wannabe rapper, Ice Trey, dropped out of school to pursue his dream of rapping and playing golf -- a decision that was about as promising as his single digit S.A.T. score. Caddying for Ice Trey is his one-man posse, spinner and tattoo consultant – Fresh Fruit.
- Killer Miller -- Just released from prison strictly on technicality, Killer Miller takes pride in his long game and his short temper. At 6' 5" and 275 pounds of angry, rippling muscle, Killer puts on quite a show -- bringing new meaning to the expression "slaying his audience." Toting Killer's clubs is his caddy, confidant and twenty dollar an hour shyster attorney, A. Lance Chaser, Esquire.
- Scrummy O’Doole -- When he's not out swinging his niblick on the back nine at St. Andrews, legendary soccer hooligan and world-class barroom brawler, Scummy O'Doole, likes to kick back and pass out in his own vomit.
- Summer -- Hailing from the Big Apple, where she splits her time between PHD studies in molecular biology at Columbia University, and entertaining foreign businessmen in the champagne room of the Pink Flamingo, please welcome sultry Summer, and her equally ample caddy, Autumn. Remember gentleman, after the game these ladies will be available for autographs... and lap dances. Bring plenty of singles.
- Trixie -- Trixie has been playing golf at private clubs ever since she was a wee little snob. Dumb as a ball washer and ruder than a slicing drive, Trixie’s handicap is her mouth. She hails from quote-unquote “none of your business, USA.” Carrying Trixie’s bags is her deep-pocketed and dirty old caddy, Ed.
- Mistress Suki – Hitting the links, literally, is one tightly-laced, leather-clad golfing diva whose game is all about discipline. Inflicting maximum punishment on every ball she hits is Mistress Suki, assisted by her bruised and battered, but amiable 300 pound whipping-boy caddy, Puddin'. Watching these two out on the course is an excruciatingly exciting experience.
Once you load up the game and hit the course for the first time you are going to find yourself in for a bit of a challenge. Not due to the analog swing or the course layout, instead it is the lightning fast greens. Once you learn to go back a club and put some backspin on the ball this is easily resolved on the approach shots. Chipping is another issue altogether. Until you unlock the wedges with the ability to give spin you will need to lay off the distance recommended. This is the area I had the most trouble with and found myself putting as much as possible off the green.
The Composure meter is the key to the success in your game. Hit bad shots and your composure meter goes down lowering your ability to hit a good shot. On the flip side as you hit fairways and greens your composure rises making it easier to hit solid shots. This leads into the “caddie beatings”. You are given one at the beginning of the game and get more as you make birdies and eagles. If your composure meter runs low you can bring this side event up. It’s fairly simple and consists of a moving bar that you stop in a small section and will move back and forth where you have to stop 5 times for a complete beating. The more stops the more your composure will rise. It definitely suits the “outlaw” part of the game but after doing it a few times it simply becomes a means to getting a low score. It would have been nice if they had come up with a few different types of caddy beatings to prevent it from being so repetitive.
The swing type is an analog swing that requires you to swing back which loads the power bar on the swing and then once you thrust forward it determines your shot path based on how straight your forward movement was. Once you get the hang of the swing type it becomes way to easy. This is where I prefer the true analog swing from TW 2002 where the pulling back of the swing and the forward movement affect the swing, along with the distance of the shot based on how far you go back vs. a meter.
Putting is fairly straight forward and uses the same swing mechanics and meter. You have access to a grid and by using the “white” button your goal is to line up the shot using the “x” button. You get three attempts to line it up to where the arrow leads to the cup (otherwise it is a guess). It presents more of a challenge then TW 2002 but the three attempts to line up the arrow is a bit overboard. To add challenge to the game you can always not use this feature and go by the grid and guessing the line of the putt.
Other things like the lack of wind affecting the ball early on and the lies of the ball (uphill, downhill, sideways) not having any impact on the shot takes away from the challenge.
No real complaints here and a much welcome kudos on the effort put into the rough. Player models are well done and you have a lot of costumes to choose from the start and many to unlock. Hypnotix adds to the ambiance by having planes flying overhead, overpasses, trailer parks and my favorite the amusement park as you finish out the back nine of El Diablo. The animations are well done (unfortunately repetitive for each character). Other than the rough nothing really wowed me.
The three course have their own personalities and the 3rd course El Diablo offers an extreme challenge due to its length for the early matches before a player gains attribute points. I would have liked to have seen a little more difficulty added to the design of the courses, more water on the first two courses or some better positioned sand traps to catch a wayward drive. One nice touch is when you are setting up for a shot turn the swing marker around to the gallery of people behind you and watch them move and scream in fear of you hitting at them.
Commentary is performed by The Daily Show's Steve Carell and during the first couple of rounds you will enjoy his dry humor. Once you pass those first couple of rounds you will find yourself looking for the options screen where you can turn him off. The same goes with the caddy beatings and player reactions. Funny stuff the first few times they are done, but receptiveness sets in way too quickly. This is all to common in sports games but I am currently playing MLB Slugfest 20-03 where after 10 games I am not only listening to the commentary but enjoy the humor and the effort Midway put into giving a lot of variety. If you are not to quick with the “x” button like myself, you will hear the 10 characters giving flyby descriptions of each hole.
One area “excluding the 3 courses” where Outlaw Golf excels. Mini games that are offered (Driving Range, Putting Green, Chipping Area & Landing the ball on the green) play a big role in the game. By completing the mini games you get to boost your stats for the tour. I spent a good three hours trying to unlock the final putting green challenge where 2,500 points is required. If you are new to the game it is best to come here and get your attributes up before heading out on the tour. All the options you expect to see in the exhibition mode including options like Vegas, Skins and my favorite where you take on the course with two clubs.
The Tour mode is where you head off to with a character to enter numerous events (tourneys, match play to name a few) for each course. Some you play the full 18 and others are only 9 holes (front or back). As you progress in the tour you unlock new clubs, balls, outfits and other players. Once you get through the few events you will find that birdies are par for the course. The challenge gets bumped up quite fast. Fortunately when you start unlocking items shooting really low scores is not a hard task.
Three courses on any console game is just not going to cut it these days. I figured after the Tiger Woods 2001 debacle of only offering three courses we would not have this problem again. I was wrong. Outlaw Golf is a golf game that relies too heavily on gimmicks and forgets about simple things that should be standard in a golf game (simulation or arcade) like the lie affecting the ball.
I refer to repetitive a lot because while there are 10 characters I just don’t see many people going through this game with each. Once for me was more than enough due to the limitations of courses and I would have rather seen more challenges, animations and player reactions for the individual characters even if that means sacrificing a few characters.
The best game of golf on any console still goes to Hot Shots Golf 3. Tiger Woods has made some strides to tighten the gap. While I would be interested in a sequel to Outlaw Golf, they have a lot of work ahead of them to catch up to the pack.