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Outlaw Golf - XBOX web Review

outlaw golfDeveloper - Hypnotix, Publisher - Simon & Schuster Interactive

In with the old, out with the new: Outlaw Golf brings putts, pimpin,' and masochistic caddies to Xbox.

One of the funny things about translating the sport of golf into a video game is that it ever works. It's not exactly the sort of hi-octane, thrill-a-minute sport that regularly features the kind of thing that gamers look for, such as teeth-rattling collisions and bones protruding through skin.

Sure, there are slower-paced video games, but most of the games that grab our attention involve blowing up stuff or, conversely, blowing up people. Sometimes, to keep matters interesting, you're asked to protect stuff from being blown up, but this usually involves blowing something up anyway, so there's pretty much no getting around the fact that you have a very large gun and someone is going to find out how well it works.

All of this, of course, leaves little room for a sport that involves patience, dimpled balls, and ugly pants. Somehow, however, a smattering of golf games have turned out to be worth the price of admission. From Mario's trip to the links on the NES to the super-deformed freaks of Hot Shots Golf on the PSone, good video game golf is a rare but delectable treat.

Where Outlaw Golf for Xbox will fit in is hard to say, but we know it at least has the potential to be a great game. Part of its appeal is that it eschews some of the traditions that slow the sport down, such as pretentious, country club players with bad fashion sense and announcers who talk like they're in the Library of Congress.

outlaw golf girls screenshots

No one thinks of golf as an extreme sport, but the developer plans to push the envelope with Outlaw Golf (hence, the name). The lineup of players reads like the in-patient roster of a mental ward. You have Doc Digler, an off-kilter physician with stripper girlfriends and a mean slice - both in his golf swing and in the operating room. Then there's Killer Miller, a convicted murderer who traded cell bars for fairways because of a legal loophole. Rounding out the list is an array of similarly deranged players, including an Eminem clone and a pimp who spends a lot of time working on his putts (*ahem*).

As you might expect, the golf courses follow suit. One course, located in Newark, tests the player's concentration with the thundering noise of commercial jets landing and taking off. Another course, set in a swamp, offers a rather unorthodox challenge in the form of man-eating alligators. Needless to say, none of the courses in the game will feature Jack Nicklaus's stamp of approval.

xbox nudesOf course, there's no f-u-n in "wacky gimmicks." The classic golf games mentioned above made their name on the strength of their sterling gameplay. Apparently, the developers of Outlaw Golf have been taking notes. They're pouring as much effort and ingenuity into their game engine as they devote to the bells and whistles.

The most intriguing aspect of the game is the "Composure Response System." According to the CRS, the better you play, the smoother the controls become. The worse you play, the more difficult the controls - not unlike the actual sport. Any golf aficionado can tell you that when it rains, it pours - bad days typically turn into horrendous ones as your composure goes down the tubes. Fortunately, in the game, as in real life, players can regain their composure by pounding the crap out of their caddies. Yes, that's right: frustrated players can get back on track with a cathartic thrashing of their number 2. Just try not to dish out too much punishment, because your caddie might abandon you mid-game, and take his valuable advice with him.

The game's inventiveness also extends to the gameplay modes. In addition to the standard golfing tournaments and match play, you'll also be able to hone your skills at the driving range. As might be expected, this is no ordinary range, featuring such challenges as "golf darts" and "automobile windshield smashing."

Not much is known about how the game will look, but we don't expect it to be a slouch in the visuals department. Screens, movies, and more details will be made available at E3. Until then, keep your head down, rotate your hips, and don't forget to follow through.

Tony Scinta
Head ball-washer.

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