The Final Round


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 7

Sound: 5

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 7


Konami's early Playstation sports titles were a nice diversion from the 16-bit era, offering uniquely styled arcade play and the best graphics available. They didn't always work as games, but they were nice showcases. The Final Round is an easy play golf title (though the title may suggest it's boxing), with a nice feel, odd physics, and a depressingly small number of courses (one, actually).

finalround1.jpg (38848 bytes)Four players can compete against each other in three separate modes (skins, match, and stroke). This is an easy title to pick up on, making swinging easy and judging yards left even simpler. The graphics show off distance accurately, and you can get a general idea of what you need to do by just looking.

This is a fully 3-D title, so the load times and pre-rendered graphics associated with other early golf titles are gone. The polygonal golfers are primitive, as is some of the course detail. What this allows for is limited load times to set up the next shot and extensive cameras to make sure your shot it right. This game moves quickly through the sole course, even with multiple players.

finalround2.jpg (40486 bytes)That leads to some nice competition, though real golfers will have trouble adjusting. Putting is far too simplistic, and a straight shot is usually enough to put it in the hole. The wind plays a tough role when driving the ball, so even a light breeze could be deadly. After hitting the ground, it doesn't roll as it should either. It's almost a dead stop.

Reassuring this is an arcade golf game is the unique swing system. Unlike EA's PGA Tour, the three-click system here is far easier to grasp. Hold it down to select your power and once there, double tap quickly to lock it in. Spin (and any hook or slice) is determined in the previous step with moving horizontal and vertical lines. This isn't a system for pros due to its ease of use, but it does allow for mistakes, and the empty play-by-play will let you know if you made a mistake.

It's not hard to draw a comparison to this and SNK's Neo Turf Masters, as Final Round has the same basic feel. It's a little slower than SNK's masterpiece, but the mechanics and course design seem to feel the same. This is an introductory golf game, and a surprising one at that. If it featured more courses, this would stand out. As such, it's disappointing this quirky engine can't be used for more than 18 holes.


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Last updated: Tuesday, September 13, 2005 04:54 PM