36 Great Holes (Fred Couples)


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 6

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 8

How hard would it have been to name this game "Fred Couples Golf?" It certainly would have saved the gaming journalists time instead of being forced to write (deep breath) "Golf Magazine Presents 36 Great Holes Starring Fred Couples." Not that it matters since any press the game received was minimal, shoving it into the realm of the forgotten. That's a real shame since this is one of the best simulation golf console games ever produced.

The basics of the game allow you to create a golfer, just selecting the minimum like shirts, clubs, and then naming him or her. You can create up to 24 golfers in total, which is not a small number. It will also save various stats like your longest drives, handicaps, and more.

You'll earn your statistics in a variety of modes, six in total (seven if you count practice). From the basics (stroke, match, skins) to more specialized way to play (scramble, shoot-out). It's a very robust package that keeps things interesting, creating plenty of replay value in the process.

Even if didn't offer all the different ways to play, there's no question this would be a top-tier golfing game. It has a fantastic feel on the course, using a simple 3-click swing method to get shots off. This is the type of system that allows the player to gauge power, but make a mistake just as easily. The physics imbedded in the cart aren't the most realistic as the ball always seems to stop earlier than expected. It's something you can easily compensate for and it doesn't take long to get a feel for it.

The biggest complaint to be made here is course selection. There are none, at least not in full. Thirty-six holes from across the country have been selected, as the title obviously suggests. These are either randomly selected or a custom-edited 18. There are some pre-selected ones as well, like Fred Couples' personal favorites. The holes come from a diverse selection, including Poppy Hills and Sawgrass.

Each one of these famous holes is instantly recognizable on the 32X. There's no motion, everything is static except for the golfer, which is a little bit of a letdown. Even when the wind is howling, the trees remain still. This is likely a sacrifice to make sure the holes load up as quickly as possible. In this case, that's fair. The animation of your digitized golfer is superb, and always appropriate for the shot you're taking.

You can play around with the audio options a little bit, turning on or off the ambient noises or commentary. There's not much to the latter, provided by Couples himself. He'll only chime in when something disastrously wrong happens or on a nice putt. The menu music is grating, but you should be able to make it through quickly and get into the game.

It's a real shame the proposed 32X CD version never made it to stores as it planned to correct this game biggest flaw. Having complete courses would almost make this a no-contest in the competition between golf games from the era. As it stands though, simply based on the well-programmed gameplay, this is easily the most under appreciated game in the 32X's library. There's just not enough respect for golf games out there.


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Last updated: Sunday, May 01, 2005 09:33 AM