There’s a golf ball pinging around the kitchen and it’s caused thousands of dollars worth of damage. This is of course Dangerous Golf from the former developers of the fantastic Burnout franchise.
After a short intro with commentary, effects, a menu and even a font that will take you back to the early days of Burnout, you’re presented with a rather simple task of smashing a gold ball around an enclosed area as you try to cause as much damage as possible.
The initial shot doesn’t come from Tiger Woods or even a virtual golf club, instead you aim with the right stick and flicking the left stick forwards propels the ball at pace towards whatever breakables are unfortunate enough to be in the way. After a few hits the ball will drop to the ground and you’ll hopefully have a smashbreaker at your disposal, this takes us back to the Burnout crashes, where you could explode your car and veer it towards other traffic to cause more damage .While the camera feels quite awkward and it’s often difficult to judge exactly where the ball is heading it’s still easy enough to ensure you’re smashing up plenty of items.
After the smashbreaker has been spent, the ball drops back to the floor ready for a put, you get an initial shockwave to clear any surrounding obstacles and then you can drop the put to complete the level.
As with Burnout before it, Dangerous Golf isn’t just about completing the level. You’ve got to blow up as much stuff as possible, and so carefully reading your surroundings and using the smashbreaker time to achieve as much destruction as possible will build up your scores both through damage, combinations and signature smashes such as anhilating more expensive items, landing your ball inside a microwave or dropping to put inside a mop-bucket.
Even when the time comes and you’re ready to put the ball, it’s worth surveying your surroundings because you’ll sometimes have additional flags which can rack up additional score, or maybe even the chance of multiple ricochets to get further combo’s for sinking the put.
While these risks carry the reward of a boosted score, there’s also major point punishments if you fail to pot, so sometimes it’s better to play it safe if you’ve had a good run so far.
While Golf doesn’t carry many similarities to street racing, Dangerous Golf feels more familiar to the digital title ‘Burnout Crash’ than the earlier racers in the franchise, simple junctions, or arena’s where you’re tasked with causing plenty of damage, and you’ll find plenty of options for doing so. The World tour which can be played solo or local co-op takes you through France, USA, Australia and England, with around half a dozen locations in each, and a further handful of tasks for each location. This totals 100 challenges with the ultimate aim to get a medal on each, a Bronze medal is enough to open up the next level, but you’ll want to be aiming for Gold and Platinum medlas if you want to top the leaderboards which are displayed before and after each level showcasing your best attempt against those of yoru friends.
I found the constant friendly rivalry more than enough reason to have one more shot, even after hitting a gold medal and while some levels feel a little repeitive as you’re in the same location with a different layout, pin or items around you.
Everytime you unlock a new location there’s the fun of testing out everythng you can see to see what will trigger an explosion or signature smash and the occasional Smash headline keeps things interesting.
You can keep track of your progress in the clubhouse or head to the online clubhouse to create or join an online game for upto 8 players, it all adds a decent level of value and with the final option of party golf for four local players Dangerous Golf is happy to cater for all eventualities.
Graphically, there’s plenty to look at with textures well done and a pleasant sharpness, there’s quite a gloomy nature as even outdoor scenes feel quite dark, great for showcasing those explosions, but not so much for spotting smaller details when looking for items to aim for. Tanks to burnout much of the menu and presentation feels a decade old, and I really would have liked to see something new, maybe a slow motion scene as you trigger an explosive and the camera follows as shards of glass penetrate the wall or smash into other objects. While explosions seem grand enough, I would have liked them to stand out as something a little more special.
Audio has to be a weak point for me, the initial menu greets us with a familiar soundtrack that wouldn’t have felt out of place in Burnout Crash, however during gameplay things are errily quiet at times, Efects, crashes and explosions all sound good enough, but don’t expect Dangerous Golf to be the game to showcase a £200 headset.
Another sour note are the controls, flicking your left stick forward doesn’t make me feel like I’m doing much to alter the power or efficiency of my balls and all men prefer to know if their balls are working to the best of their ability.
Then when you’re trying to control your smashbreaker, you’ll inevitably want to move your camera and while necessary it’s sure to leave you fighting to try and move the ball in the desired direction, Burnout Crash felt easy and accessible because you could throw your vehicles across a 3 lane motorway to accurately explode the pizza van, but with Dangerous Golf it feels like I can’t accurately move a golf ball across a table.
Finally Dangerous Golf’s best point has to be the variety of regions, locations and challenges, unfortunately there’s just not enough variation across the spectrum of events and things start to feel a little too familiar far too soon.
Thankfully there’s the co-operative and competitive modes as well as friends leaderboards so there’s just enough to keep you battling through the challenges.