Every system needs a golf game. Sure, golf games aren't exactly the most mainstream games in the world, but every single platform out there has at least one to fill the niche. Acclaim's Tee Off fills the golf game requirement for the Dreamcast in the same lighthearted way that Hot Shots Golf does for the PlayStation and Mario Golf does for the N64, but the game lacks the personality that made those two games big hits both inside and outside the golfer set.
Tee Off has you select one of several big-headed golfers, each of whom has different strengths and weaknesses. Once that's finished, you choose what type of balls, woods, and irons you'd like to use. The different items alter the rising and falling angles of your shots. Then you're whisked away to the course. The gameplay doesn't stray very far from the standard golf game conventions. Each club has a standard mode and a cautious mode, which makes the swing meter move a little slower at the cost of a big chunk of distance. The swing meter lets you swing anywhere from 1 to 120 percent of a club's actual distance rating, using the standard three-press system. So (sing along with me here, folks), the first press starts the meter, the second selects your strength, and the third press hits the ball. The slight difference here is that if you miss the flashing bracket at the bottom of the meter with your third press, the shot strength is cut in half, resulting in a wasted shot.
Graphically, Tee Off gets the job done, but you can't help but think that a lot more could have been done with the game. For instance, it would have been nice to see some particle effects used when you launch the ball out of a sand bunker, or perhaps some grass tossed up when you are swinging in the rough. The soundtrack is made up mostly of the same style of guitar rock that flourished in Sonic Adventure, but it doesn't exactly fit terribly well here. The sound effects are tolerable, but the speech used in the game is extremely limited and gets annoying quickly. Each character has only a few phrases. So when you hit a long shot, you'll hear the "I just hit a long shot" phrase. Ditto for sinking a birdie, bogey, or making par - each has one specific phrase and one phrase only.
Rounding out the four-player game is a little mode called Gate Ball, which trades the golf course and clubs for a futuristic game of croquet. This may be a decent multiplayer game, but the computer can't play Gate Ball to save its life, making one-player games a real bore. It's a neat diversion, but don't expect to find it addicting or worthwhile in any way compared with the golf portion of the game.
Tee Off is a good, albeit generic, take on the new style of golf popularized by the people at Camelot, the developer of Hot Shots Golf. Golf fans with a DC hooked up to their television will surely have a good time with the game, even though it isn't quite as compelling as similar games appearing on other platforms.