Mario is no stranger to appearing in sports game crossovers these days; he’s virtually done it all now from baseball to soccer. This sporting career began of course with his appearance in NES Open Tournament Golf, which is something of a sequel to the original NES launch title “Golf” which strangely hasn’t found a home on the Virtual Console yet.
In the NES open you have three 18-hole courses to choose from (USA, UK and Japan) which range in difficulty, you can play with one or two players in either Stroke or Match Play. The idea in Stroke Play is to compete for the lowest over a 18 hole course. Match Play is focused around winning holes one green at a time. As this was one of the later NES games it features a save mode so you can record your progress in the game. Aside from the normal golf game you can take part in contests like doing the furthest drive and hitting the ball closest to the pin to make some quick prize money.
Mario’s swings are governed by a traditional power gauge, you know the drill, press the action button to start the meter’s cursor moving to the left, then tap it again to set you power, then a final time to determine how accurate your shot will be. This simple system works perfectly as you might expect. There is a nice selection of clubs, you can use a bit of topspin or backspin in order to fine tune your shot too.
This is easily the best golf game on the NES, if you are getting a bit bored Wii Sports Golf then you might want to give this a try. It’s a perfectly good game for only 500 Wii points and you will get many hours of enjoyment out of playing through all the courses and game modes. Of course this game is overshadowed by the superior Mario Golf on the N64 which should hopefully come out on the Virtual Console one day, but until then this is a solid purchase.