Power Golf is a decent, no-frills rendition of golf, but you'll need a second controller to exploit all of its features.
- The physics are solid and the controls easy to learn
- Each hole is radically different
- Courses are detailed and somewhat lush.
- There's just the one course
- You need a second controller, even if you just want to sign up a CPU opponent.
If you're looking for a solid, no-frills rendition of golf, then you need look no further than the TurboGrafx-16 version of Power Golf that's available for the Wii's Virtual Console service. Be aware, though, that you'll need two controllers to take advantage of all of its features, even if you just want to compete against the computer.
For the 600 points download fee, you get a single 18-hole course and three modes of play. While one course doesn't seem like a ton of content, each hole is radically different, and it'll still take you an hour or so to get through the course the first couple of times you play through it. Play modes include single-player stroke play, match play for two players, and competition play for up to three players. There are two male golfers and one female golfer from which to choose. They're each radically different in terms of accuracy and shot distance.
When you choose stroke play, you select a golfer and then choose whether you want to take the controls or watch the CPU play. It may seem silly to watch the CPU demonstrate the game for you, but watching the computer take some shots is actually a great way to learn what each club does and how the controls work. If you select match or competition play, you'll immediately discover that the developers made a boneheaded design decision regarding multiple players. To select the second golfer and get a game started, you must hook up a second controller, which is true even if you merely want to play against the computer!
Aside from that one goofy quirk, the game delivers a solid round of golf. The 2D top-view courses are sufficiently detailed and the soothing music provides an appropriate undercurrent for making your swing. You select a club by simply pressing up or down, you make a shot by double tapping the button to place tick marks on a meter, and you can influence arc or spin by holding a direction on the controller during your golfer's swing. It is also easy to get the hang of the meter-based swing mechanic. To make a perfect shot, you want to stop the first tick mark on the far left of the meter and the second tick mark in the red hot spot. If you stop them anywhere else, the shot won't have full power or it will veer sideways. Initially, the tick marks seem to move too fast, but if you give it a few shots, you'll adjust to the timing.
All told, Power Golf won't blow you away, but if you're looking for satisfying round of golf, you will find it here. It's just a shame that Hudson didn't tweak the Virtual Console release so that people could play against the CPU with only a single controller.