Genre: Sports Developer: Microsmiths Inc. Publisher: Accolade Players: 1-4 Released: 1993
On the surface, Jack Nicklaus’ Power Challenge Golf seemed to be a great idea. It had a great license, a big name pro golfer backing it, and all that should have made for a great combination. Unfortunately, it all fell pretty flat in the execution department on Accolade’s end, and today it’s all but forgotten as far as classic golf games go.
I don’t really know why, but I actually still really enjoy those old golf games. They really seem old compared to the new and improved released that take advantage of analog support, but there’s just something about them that keeps me interested. Even some of the more unimpressive golf sims seem to hold my interest. Despite me saying this, Jack Nicklaus’ Power Challenge Golf isn’t one of those games that holds my interest. If I wasn’t playing it for this review’s sake, I wouldn’t have given it the time of day aside from the first time I played it. It’s really just a mediocre golf game that does nothing to stand out from the rest of the pack of golf games released on the Genesis.
Jack Nicklaus’ has all the standard fare options: skins and stroke matches, three courses to choose from, an ability to create a simple golfer, club selection and more. Before each new hole Jack Nicklaus will give you hints on how to play the hole, so with all of these features you’d think it’d be good to play. Well, you’d be wrong in thinking so because the single worst thing that kills this game is the draw in times. That’s right; they gave this game – an already graphically weak game on the Genesis (that looks worse than Arnold Palmer and the PGA series, I might add) – some of the slowest draw times seen in a golf game to date. With some patience, I was able to put up with it until I got to the green and was trying to putt. It gets pretty infuriating when it redraws every time I tried to adjust my putt, and it often never gave me a good angle to putt the ball, causing me to to mess up a birdie or an eagle just because there was no way to line up a putt. It’s really bad and to be quite honest, even the driving mechanics would get pretty inaccurate at times, making many of the strokes pure luck in regards to whether or not they would go where you wanted.
As I stated earlier, the graphics aren’t even as nice to look at as Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf and are below average as a whole. You can choose several golfers to use, but they too look overly simple and badly done. The visuals on the courses are also less than what you’d expect. The graphics are fairly blurry and grainy and give the game an overall cheap feel. Since everything looks this poor, there is simply no excuse for Accolade to have given this game all of these overly long draw-in times, let alone have them at all.
Accolade gave another lackluster effort when it came to sound as well. Power Golf Challenge has all of the ambient sounds on the course that golf games of the time had; there are birds, streams, slight wind sounds and a couple more. The sounds of the club and the sound of the ball falling in the hole are all about accurate and passable for an average golf game, but that’s just what they are: average and nothing more, when we all know that the Genesis was capable of far better. A birdie and an eagle simply net you only a miniscule and weak crowd cheer, and that’s about it. At least some voice acting of any kind would have been welcomed. There is some music present in the game, but it’s only after you finish a course or when you’re in a menu. The music isn’t bad per se, but still it’s average at best. It also comes off as too loud and annoying. You just have to hear it to know what I mean, but it’s not easy to listen to.
When it’s all said and done, Jack Nicklaus’ Power Challenge Golf is a mediocre to below average and forgettable game at its best. I don’t know what to say about Accolade. I’d like to say this was its low point and to play one of its other games instead, but it seems that most of its games are its low point, as it didn’t seem like the company tried with anything that it produced. Needless to say, this game is killed by its draw times and gets a great big pass from me. I’d suggest you to do the same!
SCORE: 4 out of 10