We've seen a few of these in the past; pick-up-and-play golf games that fuse accurately modelled physics with comical characters and fun 3D environments. That is by no means a bad thing though, for any game that can even come close to matching the brilliant Mario Golf should be given serious consideration. Well, Ace Golf is such a game, and it does indeed bear more than a passing resemblance to Mario Golf, conceptually at least.
The joint-first golf game to get a release for the GameCube in the UK - along with Tiger Woods 2003 - Ace Golf offers the usual array of game modes, allowing for both short, quickfire matches and the more intense, longer tournaments. To be more precise, there's Tournament, Stroke, Match, and Short Course modes available, as well as a collection of fun mini games, such as 'Nearest Pin', which is played on a nine-hole, par-three course.
Six different courses are playable in all, featuring diverse terrains that range from a cactus-filled, red-rock desert to a classic English course with deep rough and pot bunkers. And no game such as this would be complete without a wacky cast with which to take to the courses. Ace Golf doesn't disappoint, offering a total of 14 offbeat characters, each complete with their own distinct personalities and sporting abilities, from a rowdy, leather-clad biker to an ultra-fit ex-military girl. You can also select from a crew of six fast-talking caddies who help you out along the way, providing encouragement and advice.
A novel and intuitive control method means the game is easy to play yet difficult to master. Pulling back on the analogue C-stick sets the power, while pushing up makes the shot. The trajectory of the down-to-up motion sets the accuracy of the shot.
With support for up to four players, Ace Golf represents a fine golfing title. It doesn't take itself too seriously yet manages to simulate the sport extremely well.