TURN TO CHANNEL 3: PS2’s ‘Hot Shots Golf 3’ can make everybody a golf fan
Earlier this week, your scribe celebrated his 37th birthday and, man, there’s still something so awesome about going to an arcade, picking up DVDs of some of my favorite old school cartoons and television shows and, of course, getting new games to play.
This brings me to this month, where I’ll feature some of my favorite games. This year it was a little bit difficult to narrow it down to just a few, but we begin in a somewhat unlikely place – on the golf courses of “Hot Shots Golf 3” for the PlayStation 2!
Let’s go to the clubhouse!
“Hot Shots Golf 3” (PS2, 2002)
Taking nothing away from the smooth tunes on this game’s soundtrack, it’s no secret that the sound effects, most notably from the characters themselves, that make this game so much fun. I still get a chuckle over Caddy Mel (who was a golfer in previous “Hot Shots” titles) yelling out “Cream cheese!” whenever you have a particularly good and powerful swing and “Have you seen my pants?” whenever you bogey.
The crowd sounds are pretty funny too, with the quips about the rain being the most hilarious. Don’t get me wrong – the actual golf sound effects are great, but this was a series built on funny, witty, charming characters, and they are on full display in this entry.
While you aren’t looking at anything too impressive (with close-ups looking incredibly choppy and like cardboard cutouts in appearance), for a PS2 game, I still find the courses, as limited as they are, to look super awesome, with the added plus of all four seasons present on each and every course to give it a bit more flavor and requiring different strategy for each instance.
Whether you’re swinging hard on the coastal courses under a bright blue sky or battling the rainy, chilly winds of the U.K., you feel, despite the over-the-top characters, that you are actually playing golf.
At first glance, the straightforward vibe of this game would lead you believe there isn’t much to it, but boy would you be wrong. Not only does “Hot Shots Golf 3” task you with completing tournaments for trophies and items, but a versus mode has you facing off against other characters in order to unlock them with an ultimate double “boss” faceoff at the very end of it all.
That’s not all, as a short course mode allows up to four players on one PlayStation controller to battle it out in a fast and furious mode that proves it isn’t always about who can hit the ball the furthest. You will find yourself enjoying all of these modes and wondering why other staunch and traditional golf games can’t be this fun.
You can never go wrong with an inexpensive fun game that changes the way you look at a particular genre – in this case, sports games. While the traditional formula being tweaked is nothing new, with games like “NBA Jam” and “NFL Blitz” carving a new niche within the realm of sports titles, there’s some extra skill involved if you can do it with the game of golf. “Hot Shots Golf” scores a hole in one with entertaining golf for no more than a mere $5 price tag at most. This is a game for those who aren’t even fans of the sport, living up to the Japanese title for this series, “Everybody’s Golf.”
Join me next week as head off the greens to the intergalactic worlds of one “Bucky O’Hare” on the NES!
Until then, enjoy, enjoy, enjoy this weather that has finally arrived and, hey, do yourself a favor and game on!