KRAZY ACE MINIATURE GOLF
I was elated to learn that this game was finally available. I ordered it with visions of Zany Golf and Hole-In-One Mini Golf for the ST running through my head. I would have been happy with a solid 9 holes of mini-golf, but the cart doesn't even give you that much.
The game comes packaged in the standard Lynx box, but in place of the manual is a single page of xerox'ed instructions. Basically the docs tell you to insert the cart, turn on the Lynx, enter up to four players' names and have at it. Actually, not much instruction is needed since there's not much of a game here.
When you power up the game, you are greeted by a half decent title screen with music. Next you select the number of players, enter the names of each player, and select a ball color. You are now presented with a scorecard that scrolls from holes one through nine. Below each hole is the par for that hole, and a bottom line marked HCP (for handicap, I assume). The handicap does not exist and a random number from 1 to 9 is placed in these boxes. Also, as you play the game you'll notice that the scorecard has the wrong par listed for holes 2 thru 5. It lists the pars as 2,3,2,3 when they are actually 3,2,3,2. The correct par is listed when the actual holes appear.
Use the joypad to scroll around the hole and view your objective. Press the B button to switch between the three tee-off spots, and button A to lock your cursor on the ball. After locking, button B will unlock the cursor. Once locked, you must position the cursor behind the ball; similar to hitting the ball with a cue in pool. Move the joypad up and down for the amount of power you want, and left or right to aim. To shoot left or right, for example, you must first move the pad down for power and then left/right to aim instead of just moving the cursor left/right the distance you want. Granted this is only a minor irritation, but it helps make a bad game worse.
The next oddity you might discover involves the ball movement. If the ball hits the wall at a 45 degree angle it should bounce off in a 45 degree angle keeping its forward motion. Maybe this is where they get the KRAZY in the title because more than likely the ball will bounce right back at you. The walls have plenty of bounce in them, though. A putt at maximum power in a small space goes on for what seems like an eternity. I've seen plenty of shots that defy all laws of force and motion.
There are no features of any kind in this game other than being able to play up to four players. The PAUSE button does nothing, although since there's no time limit I guess it's really not needed. There's no option to toggle the music on or off either.
At this point, if you're an Atari fanatic or a mini-golf nut, you might be willing to tolerate these shortcomings just to get nine holes of fun. Think again! Surprise! There's only seven different holes in the game. After hole 7, the game repeats holes 1 and 2. At least the scorecard reflects the correct par for hole 2 the second time you play it. Here's a brief description of each of the *ahem* 9 holes:
Hole #1 - Putt the ball through the two moving teeth into the clown's mouth. His head turns and spits you toward the hole.
Hole #2 - Shoot between the cactus and into a hole that has a timed cannon blast covering it. You drop out of the Alamo towards the hole.
Hole #3 - Watch the Tic-Tac-Toe board to see where the hole appears down course. Shoot it in the randomly moving hole to come out in one of three holes near cup. Or bypass the holes and work down the hill instead.
Hole #4 - Smoke the ball up the ramp into a water fountain. Which level of the fountain you land in determines where your ball ends up.
Hole #5 - Putt the ball up a ramp over the ducks and avoid the frog at the hole. The moving ducks are made up of two different screens being page flipped for some very jerky animation. This hole is almost impossible to complete.
Hole #6 - Whack the ball up the ramp and try to hit the open eye in the pyramid for an almost guaranteed Hole-in-One. Or try putting over the bridge instead. * Hint * - The eye opens every 20 seconds.
Hole #7 - Straight out of Moby Dick. Knock your ball into the whale's mouth (when it's open of course) and be propelled to the upper level through his blow-hole.
Hole #8 - Exact duplicate of Hole #1.
Hole #9 - Exact duplicate of Hole #2.
* NOTE * --- If your ball goes into the water at any point on a hole (except Hole #4), you will have to start back at the tee.
One interesting bug that I found shows up on the first hole of a multiplayer game. The first person to shoot his ball into the clown's mouth causes the clown's head to spin. The problem is that the head doesn't reset so the remaining players are stuck on the first part of the green. With a little experimentation, I realized if you hit a ball into the area where the mouth should be, the clown's head will reset. Unfortunately, you will have wasted a shot in the process.
Overall, what little game there is, isn't very playable. I found myself getting sleepy every time I turned the game on. Even the minimal sound effects couldn't keep me from snoring away. Zzzzzzzz.
Just to remove any chance of me jumping to conclusions, I contacted Telegames to ask if I might have received a defective copy of the game. I spoke with TERRY (GRANTHAM?) and he told me that the repeating levels was an intentional thing as was the "BUG" involving the clown. He told me this "FEATURE" was designed to penalize your opponent. According to him, the speed, position, and angle of the ball are calculated in some formula and compared to a table to see if this should happen. Oddly, after playing hole #1 a gazillion times, I still couldn't get the head to reset. As for the mistakes on the scorecard, he said they were aware of only one hole being mis-marked instead of four. He also alluded to the fact that we Lynx owners should be happy to see something new and fresh considering that there haven't been any new games in a while. Of course we're happy, but not for an unfinished game at a hefty $40.
Obviously, this game is an unfinished prototype that has been laying around since 1992. Burn a few EPROMS and slap them onto boards. Box them up and see how many suckers we can get to shell out $40 apiece for them. Well, they got one chump already. At the last few CES shows, I personally pestered Telegames to release KRAZY ACE. I'm sure others did the same, but it pains me to think that I could have somehow encouraged them to release this garbage. If you have an extra $40 laying around taking up space, go ahead and order it. It might end up being a collectors item someday. For the record, let it be said that there's a new Lynx game available. Unfortunately, some things are better left unsaid.