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Retrospective: Mario Golf Advance Tour • Page 2

A links to the past.

"Grampie, remember your bad back, now... And your knees..."

That's to ignore the four major tournaments, each with their own sets of bonus competitions. Win those and you can then play them again, directly competing against the former champ who wants revenge.

In the doubles, you team up with your buddy, who walks around behind you, and you can play all the major tournaments in this completely daft version where you take it in turns to hit the ball, against other paired-up teams.

Am I managing to portray how much there is to do in this game?

Yet I've not really covered the levelling. As you win tournaments, matches and challenges, you gain XP. This is shared between your character and your partner (whom you obviously want to improve to succeed in doubles games). You can focus on various aspects of your shot, and most of all increase the distance you can hit the ball.

But my favourite is the spin shot. If you boost this as high as you can, it lets you, with a double tap of B as the swing meter retreats, put such fantastic spin on the ball that it will land, then change direction on the green, ideally rolling itself backward into the hole.

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Why yes sir, I do. And sir, I shall win it.

Shots can be very complex if you choose. There's an option to have the game do it automatically for you, only having to hit A when the bar reaches the top, and then again when it returns to the bottom. But bring out the B button and you have far more control, able to put extra spin on the ball during the backswing, and double-tapping either A or B to put special spin on the ball as it lands. Deliberately fading the ball can let you curve elegantly around obstacles - a trick that's pretty vital for completing the slalom pole holes.

It's still fantastic! It's still my favourite golf game. Obviously it has nothing of the peculiar approximations of realism that you might find in the latest Tiger Woods, nor the hardcore simulation of the now-defunct Linx series. But despite its outlandishly cartoony appearance and excellent sense of humour, the golf game is still extremely solid.

It's enormously big, too. And there's a real sense of getting better at it, as you unlock new specialist clubs, level up the correct aspects of your game, as master the tricks of curving balls. (Oh my goodness! As I write this paragraph I just scored a hole in one on the 'Linx' course! I'm the best! Apart from Bonkadera, who's one shot ahead of me.)

Oh, I'm sorry. I've just realised I've only described Story mode.

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This nice man is making me my specialist backspin clubs.

You can have a quick game or VS multiplayer, playing as favourite Mario characters.

But who cares, because I just won the Links tourney - a sort of end of game moment, credits roll, etc. But then there's loads more! It may never end! All the (dozens and dozens of) characters are congratulating me! And I've just received a mysterious letter from Princess Peach telling me to stand in front of the stained glass Mario window in the Lodge...

There's beam of light from the window that illuminates the carpet below. And floating within it is a yellow orb. And Toad jumps out!

"Wouldn't you say competing against the likes of Mario and Luigi would be any golfer's dream?"

And then I'm teleported to the castle, and meet the whole Mario crew. I kind of regret calling my golfer Botty now, in this company. There's a whole new course, the Mushroom course, at the other end of a drainpipe. And the game continues. Mario-themed holes, floating in the clouds. I'm so happy.

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