I love it when sports games go against the norm to create something unique. A great example of this is Blood Bowl, which combines Warhammer and NFL – a ridiculous idea on paper, I know, but it works exceptionally well in the video game world. The same goes for Dangerous Golf by Three Fields Entertainment which blends the classic game of golf with utter destruction! Your goal isn’t to put the golf ball in the hole, however. It’s to rack up cash and bonuses by breaking as much furniture and expensive items as possible. Originally released in early June to a mediocre reception, the team at Three Fields listened to fan feedback and have already released some game-changing updates. Having not played the launch build, I’m glad we waited, as the latest version actually introduces a brand new control system.
The World Tour mode makes up the core of the game, where you’ll play through a variety of indoor courses from around the world including the USA, England, France, and Australia. The indoor courses are all different in design for each country, and vary from kitchens to dining rooms to wine cellars and even a petrol station; meaning no location is safe. The idea of the game is that the more objects you smash with the golf ball, the more your score multiples; however, you do still want to sink the ball within the three offered shots.
The first shot you take is the tee shot, where you can aim in any direction. It’s a standard shot with no power-ups but is an excellent opportunity to start breaking stuff for points and setting up your next and most important shot. This is called the SmashBreaker, where you create the real damage for mega points. The ball will catch fire, and you’ll notice a power meter in the bottom of the screen that indicates how much time you have. Once you start the shot, you’ll begin bouncing and obliterating as many items as possible, with each adding dollars with every impact until the meter runs out. Finally, there is a putt shot where you must sink the ball in the hole – you can end the stage straight away, or you can perform trick shots like ricocheting against a wall for extra dollars. There are times when you can’t find the flag underneath all of the destruction, but luckily there is a flag indicator button that will help point you in the right direction.
Though it is a sports game technically, I found Dangerous Golf to be more a mix of strategy and puzzle solving. The best way to play it is to explore the room first and find all of the expensive items before you start destroying things willy-nilly. While you want to create as much destruction and dollars as possible during the SmashBreaker sequence, you also want to land your ball in an ideal spot for an easy final putt.
The presentation quality throughout is impressive, with every level littered with detail. From a busy restaurant kitchen to lavish lounge rooms, each room is chockful of well-designed items that look too good to smash. The demolition of objects is also beautiful to watch, and the impact the golf ball has within the environment is animated perfectly. The shattering and explosive sound effects make the game even more satisfying when destroying the rooms; no sound is overused or painful to listen to which is a plus. The addition of DJ Ted Stryker from Burnout 3 in the new tutorial videos is a nice touch also. His booming voice and instructions do a good job in getting you pumped to start the game. It would have been a great idea if he was also announcing over the gameplay, though; such as when getting the ball in the hole or during the SmashBreaker sequence. It would have given the game a more complete arcade feel.
Despite its merits, however, the biggest problem with Dangerous Golf is that the novelty of its destructive gameplay can quickly turn to tedium after an hour or so due to the repetitive nature of the single-player. Fortunately, there are a few additional modes to help alleviate this problem, such as the co-op World Tour, where two players can complete in the career mode together and take turns teeing off, smashing items, and racking up the dollars collectively. In addition, there is also a Party Golf mode where you pass the controller and take turns at setting the highest score, which can be played both online and offline. Although, the former is where the game shines brightest. I have to admit I’m glad there are multiplayer options because the game lacks longevity without it, so best to keep that in mind before you buy.
Dangerous Golf is a fun arcade title with a lot of destruction and mayhem, but it’s also one that’s best enjoyed in small portions. While there is a good assortment of courses, the gameplay doesn’t change or add anything new as the game progresses. Visually it’s well-designed, and the destruction animations are gratifying to watch, but the novelty of it begins to wear thin and feel repetitive after an hour or so. It’s commendable that Three Fields Entertainment worked so swiftly to implement player feedback, but the fact remains that the game lacks longevity. If you can find a friend to play with, the co-op mode adds more substance and is a lot of fun, but it’s important you consider this before buying.