The Game Boy Color version of Mario Golf was developed by Camelot, who also developed the Nintendo 64 version. Both games were released within the same year in 1999 and share the same golf gameplay mechanics. However, the Game Boy Color version provides a different player experience than its console counterpart by providing a single-player RPG-like campaign.
Golf Shot on Course
Before the player goes into the mode where they perform the shot, the can indicate where the shot will go by moving the arrow cursor on the course. Players may also choose to use a power shot to increase the distance of their shot, or use approach shots if they are within 60 yards of the pin. Once the player is satisfied with the power and location, they move on to the phase where the golf swing is performed.
Mario Golf uses a three-button power gauge scheme to determine the distance and destination of the golf shot. The first button starts the golf swing by having a white bar moving left along the gauge on the bottom of the screen. The second button places a mark along the gauge to determine the power of the shot. The farther left the marker is placed on the gauge, the longer the shot will go. The final button places the mark along the "contact zone" of the gauge. The closer the marker is to the white line and within the red line of the contact zone, the closer the shot will land at the desired location.
Power: The player is allotted six power shots to use over an 18-hole golf course. Power shots can be retained by attaining a "nice shot", where the markers for distance toward the far left of the gauge and accuracy on the middle of the contact zone are perfectly marked. If the player fails to perfectly mark either the distance or accuracy portion of the swing, the power shot is used up.
Approach: The shot is available when the ball is within 60 yards of the pin. The player can choose between a 30-yard and a 60-yard approach shot.
During the three-button phase of the golf swing, the player can add spin to their shot by holding the directional pad over the entire swing process.
- Up: Topspin. The ball will roll forward as it lands.
- Down: Backspin. The ball will roll backwards as it lands.
- Left/Right: Curve. The shot will curve once it is struck. Holding the pad left will have the shot start left, then curve right, vice versa for holding the pad right.
Golf Shot on Green
Likewise, the player can locate where they want to aim the putt and determine which power range to use before they head to the swing portion. The game displays arrows of differing sizes and directions to indicate the severity of the slope on the green.
Two buttons are used to determine the distance of the putt. The first button starts the swing. The second button places a mark on the gauge to determine the power of the putt. The farther left the mark is placed on the gauge, the farther the putt will go.
Main Character Creation
Mario Golf offers a couple of options for the player to create their character to use for all the playable modes in the game. Three slots are available for the player to create different main characters.
First Selection - Gender: Male or Female
Second Selection - Age: Young Golfer or Adult Golfer
Third Selection - Hand Preference: Right-Handed or Left-Handed
Main Character Attributes
All main characters have four attributes that the player can improve upon when they accumulate enough experience points to reach the next level. The player can select one attribute to improve upon once they pass a level. However, at each level, whichever attribute that is not selected has that attribute deteriorate in quality.
Drive - The 1W normal power distance for the MC.
- Improvement: The MC's 1W drive improves 2-3 yards.
Height - The height of the MC's golf shot. Ranges from mid-lo (best) to mid-high (worst).
- Improvement: The MC's height is decreased toward mid-lo.
- Decrease: The MC's height in increased, causing it to be more affected by strong wings.
Shot - The player's golf shot style. Ranges from straight (best) to extreme fade or draw (worst).
- Improvement: The MC's shot is less extreme in fade or draw, the best being a straight shot as the player can easily aim where to target their shot on course.
- Decrease: The MC's shot is more fade or draw, where the shot starts off to the left in a fade, or right in a draw, then curves back. However, the fade or draw shot can be affected by crosswinds, causing the shot to land elsewhere than the intended destination.
Meet Area and Control - The MC's "contact zone" during the three-button phase of the golf swing. Ranges from wide and good (best) to narrow and poor (worst).
- Improvement: The MC's contact zone is widened and their shot control is improved. The increased contact zone allows the player to still shoot a good shot if they don't hit the center mark of the zone.
- Decrease: The MC's contact zone is narrowed and their shot control gets worse. The narrowed contact zone increases the player's likelihood to hit a poor shot if they miss hitting the final portion of the swing in the zone.
The main campaign of Mario Golf features a world map that includes all four clubhouses and Peach's Castle once the player unlocks that location, along with other locales that provide special shot challenges for the player to partake. Each clubhouse has a driving, approach, and putting ranges that contain gameplay tips and contests. Completing tips, challenges, and winning contests earns experience points for the MC.
Other Playable Golfers
All other playable golfers can only play stroke and practice game modes.
Mario and Luigi are available to play from the start.
Luigi - 220 Yards, Fade
Mario - Peach's Castle Champion; 270 Yards, Draw
The club champions and Wario can be unlocked by defeating them in a match game.
Putts - Marion Club Champion; 200 Yards, Draw
Grace - Palm Club Champion; 220 Yards, Straight
Tiny - Dune Club Champion; 250 Yards, Draw
Gene Yuss - Links Club Champion; 240 Yards, Fade
Wario - 250 Yards, Fade
Marion Club - The main character's home club and serves as the game's beginner's golf course.
Palm Club - A golf course set in a tropical setting.
Dune Club - A golf course set in a desert.
Links Club - A seaside course with heaths and bunker traps on the fairways that pose a challenge to golfers. The club's symbol is the Legend of Zelda triforce.
Peach's Castle - This course is unlocked when the player wins the four club tournaments. A number of holes depicts a recognizable Nintendo figure.
Golf Guru's Pitch and Putt Course - An all par-three 18-hole golf course. This course is unlocked when the player successfully completes the golf guru's mini-game challenge.