Golf has never been so zany!
I am going to start this review off by telling a story. This fanciful tale may seem outlandish, it may even seem like total fantasy but I can assure you that it’s actually completely true! Once upon a time there was a company called Electronic Arts and they made some of the best and most original games on the market. Back then EA were actually good and their games library didn’t just consist of the same old generic paint-by-numbers updates being released year after year for a quick buck. The 16-bit era was without doubt Electronic Arts’ finest hour. After producing hit after hit for home computers, EA turned to the console world and specifically the Sega Mega Drive and Genesis, becoming one of the system’s very first third party publishers. Zany Golf was one of their earliest titles for the 16-bit Sega and is a conversion of the Atari ST, PC DOS, Apple II and Amiga game of the same name. Coming out long before they had even thought about a FIFA, John Madden or Tiger Woods game, Zany Golf is a perfect example of the quirky, fun and original games that EA were once renowned for.
Zany Golf is a fun but frustrating crazy golf game set over 9 holes (with a bonus hole for those good enough!). As per usual with crazy golf games you have a course made up of wacky and imaginative holes containing things like giant burgers, lighthouses and the obligatory windmill. But where Zany Golf differs slightly is in the way it uses the medium of video games to produce holes that wouldn’t be possible in the real world. Each of these holes has a set par and records your number of strokes to either determine a winner (in multiplayer) or decide if you get to progress (in single player). Now the first of these is normal for a golf game but the latter is really annoying. If you run out of strokes in Zany Golf then it’s game over. So unlike just about every other game of this type you don’t even get to play your way around all the holes unless you play a perfect game. So if you want to see everything that Zany Golf has on offer you are going to have to really practice and make sure you don’t miss a single trick, which is definitely easier said than done!
The controls In Zany Golf have obviously been compromised by converting them from the mouse control of the computer versions. Trying to play Zany Golf on a joypad can be quite a troublesome experience as it quite hard to get the precise movement you need at times. The graphics in Zany Golf do look really nice though, with lots of bright colours and a detailed isometric perspective. The music however is rather annoying. But I suppose it does suit the style of game, so probably shouldn’t grumble about this too much. Despite its flaws, fan of real crazy golf will certainly get a kick out of Zany Golf and it does get extra points for the much more fun multiplayer mode. It’s also the only game of its type on the system, so you don’t really have any more superior alternatives to choose from!
Final Verdict: 3/5
Available on: Sega Mega Drive (reviewed), Apple II GS, PC DOS, Commodore Amiga, Atari ST ; Publisher: Electronic Arts ; Developer: Electronic Arts ; Players: 1-4 ; Released: 1990 ; ESRB: N/A ; MSRP: N/A