(GameCube)

Game Review

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour Review

Europe PAL Version

Posted by Mark Reece

Mario Fore-Stars!

For many, there isn't a sport on the planet more tedious than golf. To these people the term "a good walk ruined" is about as accurate a description as anyone's ever come up with for anything, and they'd probably be able to reel off a list of far better uses for a golf club — window removal, football hooliganism, that sort of thing. But if there's one company that has proven itself time and time again in its ability to make even the most monotonous of sports extremely entertaining, it's Camelot Software Planning. Frequently tasked with bringing new instalments in Nintendo's Mario Golf and Mario Tennis franchises to both home consoles and portables, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour was the first game to show that tradition would continue on the GameCube and well into the future.

All the usual faces are present and correct — Mario, Luigi and Peach to Bowser, Koopa Troopa and Donkey Kong — with 12 characters available from the outset and a further four unlockable through meeting certain criteria within Toadstool Tour's various modes. As is standard practice for a Mario spin-off title, each character has his or her own strengths and weaknesses such as swing strengh, curve and whether they're left- or right-handed, which determines how well they perform in certain areas and ultimately who players will spend most of their time playing as. The roster is perfectly balanced to cater for any play style, so no player should find themselves penalised if they favour a specific type of swing, or even just want to play as their favourite character.

Toadstool Tour doesn't feature much that long time fans of both the Mario Golf series and more simulative takes on the sport, such as Tiger Woods PGA Tour, won't have seen countless times before. Nonetheless, there's a colossal amount of things to do packed onto that tiny GameCube disc, with a plethora of game modes and mini-games on offer. The self-explanatory Birdie Challenge, Near Pin and Speed Golf are accompanied by Coin Shoot, which tasks players with collecting more coins than their opponents, and Ring Shot, in which players must get the ball through a series of intricately and often downright nastily placed rings spread throughout the course while staying on par. All of these modes are designed to help players hone their golfing skills, while also dishing out plenty of opportunities for them to develop obsessive compulsive disorder of the must-beat-high-score variety. There are also Doubles Matches, as well as Character Matches, the latter requiring you to attain victory over a specific character; doing so unlocks that character's Star version, which adds a sizeable amount of wallop to their swing.

Out of all the modes available though, it's the main Tournaments that players should ideally be delving into first and foremost. Placing first in each one unlocks the subsequent tournament along with a brand new course for use in Toadstool Tour's multiplayer component. Sadly, the number, variety and — in a few cases — design of the courses is one of the few areas in which Toadstool Tour finds itself being a bit of a slouch. There are only seven courses available, and while the latter ones are brilliantly designed and present a meaty challenge, the earlier few are disappointingly humdrum. Thankfully, it doesn't take too long to unlock the more interesting courses and the presence of Chain Chomps, warp pipes and giant bouncy mushrooms certainly inject some trademark Mario character, but this only emphasises how pedestrian and unimaginative the earlier courses are, making it highly unlikely that you'll go near them again and essentially cutting the course count in half.

Despite this hiccup, the strength of Toadstool Tour's gameplay ultimately outweighs the inconsistent quality of its courses. The act of performing a swing consists merely of aiming — taking wind speed and direction into account — and then executing a couple of timed button presses correctly, It's delightfully accessible so pretty much anybody can pick it up almost immediately, while players wanting to up their game can attempt to perfect more advanced golfing techniques like adding spin to the ball, which can often mean all the difference between landing on the green and clinching a game-winning birdie, or having the ball roll back down a hill and land in a Chain Chomp-occupied bunker.

On the technical side of things, Toadstool Tour is definitely one of the jewels in the 'Cube's crown. It's extremely easy on the eyes; each golfer boasts smooth animation and his or her own characteristics — including character-specific special effects that go off whenever you give the ball a proper whack — while every course is bursting with colour, impressively detailed and suitably Mushroom Kingdom-y, even if the earlier courses don't totally capitalise on the game's unique setting within the genre.

Aurally, Toadstool Tour runs the gamut from alright to downright annoying: a couple of pieces are just about bearable, however most of it is irritating beyond belief. Likewise, the stock phrases that each golfer utters can be hilarious at first — especially the small selection of "waaaagh!" noises, courtesy of Wario and Waluigi — but they quickly become intolerable over time.

Conclusion

Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour takes the adorable and timeless charm of Mario and the Mushroom Kingdom setting and weaves it into a solid and comprehensive game of golf. It's jam-packed full of entertaining slants on walloping a ball with a stick for the lone player and, despite it not being as fast-paced or action packed as some of Mario's other spin-off titles on GameCube — such as Mario Kart: Double Dash!! or Mario Power Tennis — it still doubles up as a highly entertaining multiplayer game. Toadstool Tour might stumble in a few minor areas, but it's as good a reason as any to own a GameCube and a game that truly embodies why Nintendo's continued faith in Camelot is well placed.

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User Comments (34)

sc100

#2

sc100 said:

I absolutely loved the N64 version and knew this was probably great as well but never got around to buying it. Too much other stuff going on in my life at the time. This review may make me get this game as soon as I can. I think it'll come to GameCube VC at some point but that could be a number of years from now as GameCube VC hasn't even been announced yet. Better to get this now.

Luigifan141

#3

Luigifan141 said:

I always prefered this over the N64 one. The courses are awesome in concept (loved the later course with the Warp Pipes and Pikmin hiding in the flowers when I was younger), and spanking that golf ball with Petey was great fun.

I hope this also gets a new entry on the 3DS along with Mario Tennis. :)

NintyMan

#5

NintyMan said:

I remember first playing this game back in the GCN days, and I really liked the intro with Wario and Waluigi's misadventures. Camelot must like to have those two star in their Mario sports openings, so here's hoping they have another episode in Mario Tennis 3DS.

I found the gameplay to be nice and the courses neatly varied. My favorite courses were the Mushroom Kingdom and Bowser's Castle ones. It was fun to do the challenges against the other characters and to hear the taunts they would make when the other player was trying to make a swing. Actually, this was the game that got me interested in golf, or putt-putt golf at least. In conclusion, a solid Mario sports title.

cyrus_zuo

#6

cyrus_zuo said:

I remember renting this for a weekend and really being disappointed. In fact I didn't even try Mario Tennis b/c of it. I wonder if I should go back and give it another go now that my kids are a little older. I remember it being hard and slow/boring.

BenAV

#7

BenAV said:

This game has always been good fun.
I hope they decide to make a new one sometime in the near future, as it seems to have skipped the Wii. :(

CorbsAdmin

#8

Corbs said:

Very good, but not nearly as good as the Hot Shots Golf games. I think once I started playing them, it made it hard to go back to Mario Golf.

Mr_Reece

#9

Mr_Reece said:

I think Nintendo really missed a trick not bringing a Mario Golf title to the Wii. It'd probably be my most played Wii game ever if they had.

Link245

#11

Link245 said:

I've never played any Mario Golf or Tennis. I guess I might as well get the N64 versions on VC. Definitely gong to get the Mario Tennis on 3DS though.

grumblebuzzz

#13

grumblebuzzz said:

I loved Toadstool Tour back in the day. When I saw this review, my guess was an 8 or 9 and I was right. It's a very fun, well-made game.

ToadFan

#14

ToadFan said:

I saw this game in the sale rack for new at Costco, they still sell this at some Costco's.

Great review through.

HawkeyeWii

#15

HawkeyeWii said:

Great game. I am still very surprised that they haven't at least ported this or made another Mario golf on the Wii. that was one of the first games that came to mind when I heard of the New Play Control games for Wii,

phoenix1818

#17

phoenix1818 said:

A good review for a good game. While I didn't think this was as good as Mario Power Tennis, it certainly stands out as one of the better Mario sport titles in recent years and one of the best on the GameCube. And as for Mario Sports Mix, I'll pretend that never happened.

One cool feature this review didn't mention was its connection to the Game Boy Advance game Mario Golf: Advance Tour. If you had both games you could link them together using the GameCube–Game Boy Advance link cable and copy data and stats across from one game to the other. It was pretty awesome to see your character from the GBA game play against Mario and co. in full GameCube graphics. You could still gain experience points and level up while playing on either game, even getting to use the custom clubs from the GBA with all GC characters. If I remember correctly I think you could also unlock various mario characters to play with on the GBA game by connecting them together.

It was a shame that the DS didn't take full advantage of the connection between it and the Wii; there were so many possibilities that were never utilized. Hopefully the 3DS will be able to communicate with the Wii U and we'll be able to see more use of this connection between Nintendo's various gaming systems.

Capt_N

#18

Capt_N said:

A really good Gamecube game, though I must confess I do not like how unlike Mario Tennis(N64), you can not delete your custom characters separately from the rest of your game save data; you must delete the entire data.

On the other hand, I must sometime copy my save file to another card, & see if I can overwrite the old characters out of existence, or something.

When Nintendo makes future Mario Sports titles that connect (console/handheld) counterparts, I hope they use the scheme in Mario Tennis(N64), enabling players to scrap custom character data, separate from the rest of the save.

Good reviews, as always NLife. @Mr_Reece: #9 - good review. Edit: Your (sur)name has made me now hungry for a peanut butter cup.

millarrp

#19

millarrp said:

I enjoyed this game...too bad it wasn't one of the "new play control" games. I would have definately got this one for the Wii if it was

StuffyStuff

#20

StuffyStuff said:

I love this game. The first two courses are nice because you can pick up and play with a noob without them trailing behind or getting frustrated.

Mr_Reece

#22

Mr_Reece said:

@Capt_N you can get some when you go out and buy Toadstool Tour. In fact, I might change my avatar to a butter cup just to wind you up :P

CowLaunch

#23

CowLaunch said:

I really liked this game. Some of the courses gave you more of a feel for Mushroom Kingdom than say Mario Tennis.

Chunky_Droid

#24

Chunky_Droid said:

I loved this game to death, loved building up my GBA characters on it, then showing my friends my 450+ yard drive :D

Davva

#25

Davva said:

Great review of a game i still play and enjoy regularly today.

Not sure if i'd buy a NPC version of this (not that one is ever likely to appear) i'll just stick with NGC version thanks. Camelot already did We Love Golf on Wii, which is OK but rather bland, and then it would have to be better than the Mario Tennis NPC update, the motion controls on that game didn't really improve the game (imo). A brand new Mario Golf game though would definitely get my interest though...

Otty_Ott

#26

Otty_Ott said:

This game got more play on our GameCube than any other game. We still pull it out on occasion and play it on the Wii. My favorite golf game ever!

MayhemStaff

#28

Mayhem said:

I always liked the GC incarnation of Mario Golf compared to the N64 version, I felt they were about equal. Unlike Mario Tennis, where the N64 version easily triumphs the GC version, I really never enjoyed the update.

HaNks

#30

HaNks said:

absolutely brilliant game but i feel it was quite a bit easier than the N64 iteration, which remains my favourite.

still, some of the best multiplayer times were had with this on the GC, along with SSBM, Wario Ware, Mario Strikers. great times!

Gridatttack

#32

Gridatttack said:

Really great game. Some of the courses were amazing in visuals and design. My only complaint is that unlocking some of the secret characters is very hard :(

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