Hole-in-One Miniature Golf is a simulation of the popular and entertaining "sport" of miniature golf. The game features five complete 18-hole courses with different themes including a Tutorial Course that walks the player through every aspect of game play, a Classics Course which is patterned after the basic traditional miniature golf course, an Intermediate Course that adds more obstacles, elevations and difficulty, an adventurous Fantasy Course with designs ranging from castles to pinball and the Expert Course for those who master the game. Up to four people can play using the same screen by taking turns. The game features all the normal designs seen on most miniature golf courses (windmills, tunnels, etc.) and includes a plethora of unique and innovative designs as well. The interface supports keyboard, mouse and joystick input and keeps track of the top five scores on each course.
Hole-In-One Miniature Golf provides an overhead view of each hole. The game play is controlled entirely with the mouse. You place the ball on the starting pad and click the left mouse button. Once you have placed the ball, "stretch" a line from the ball to the pointer. The direction the line is pointing is the direction the ball will go. The length of the line or the distance between the pointer and the ball is relative to the power on the shot. Once you are satisfied, click the left mouse button to putt the ball.
You are allowed to go three shots over par. Any more than that and you will get a penalty stroke and must advance to the next hole (or player). You can also get one stroke penalty for going into a water hazard. Your scorecard will be displayed after the first nine holes but can be viewed at anytime using the Options Menu. After completing the course the scorecard will be displayed again. You can print your scores or exit to continue.
The game features five complete 18-hole courses with different themes including a Tutorial Course that walks the player through every aspect of game play, a Classics Course which is patterned after the basic traditional miniature golf course, an Intermediate Course that adds more obstacles, elevations and difficulty, an adventurous Fantasy Course with designs ranging from castles to pinball and the Expert Course for those who master the game. The game can be installed on a hard drive.
A humorous miniature golf game with a lot of innovative ideas, Hole-In-One Miniature Golf from DigiTek is a severely underrated game that deserves a closer look. The game takes the standard approach of using the overhead view for play: you first place your ball on a starting area, then aim your shots using the mouse to guide a simple targetting bar - the distance from the ball represents the power, the angle represents chosen direction. Nothing novel, but as they say, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
Anyone who prefers realistic golf games will immediately find that Hole-In-One is flawed for all sorts of reasons. First of all, the ball doesn't always bounce convincingly, especially from corners of a course. In addition, the graphics are quite amateurish and two-dimensional, and it's hard to tell the "3D" obstacles on the course apart from background graphics. This means you can never be certain which bits of scenery the ball will bounce from, and which it will pass over. Despite these faults, though, Hole-In-One is a lot of fun to play, mostly for the ingenious course design and gameplay twists. For example, the "Out Of This World", uses computer tricks that would be impossible on a real course, with teleports and funky gravity. The black hole level in particular is such a very good idea that I was amazed nobody thought of it earlier.
The bottom line: if you like miniature golf games and are willing to lower your expectations on realism, Hole-In-One is an enjoyable experience. There are enough creative ideas and cool courses in the game to keep golfers happy for hours.
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