Top Players Golf is a rather interesting release for the Neo Geo. SNK, now SNK Playmore, were well versed in many genres of gaming prior to their launching of their own console. The SNK Neo Geo was originally an arcade unit that allowed arcade owners to simply swap out cartridges. Much like home consoles, and maybe just maybe swap out the marquee graphics. Most just used the generic SNK graphics and only swapped cartridges.
The Neo Geo solution
This was a boon for arcade owners. They no longer had to purchase all new hardware, or often complicated to install JAMMA boards, when purchasing new games. The only real downside to the Neo Geo was that arcade owners were stuck buying games from one source- SNK. This was not really all that big of a problem though. SNK made sure to offer many different titles across many genres. Fighting, sports, brawler style fighting, racing, one on one fighting and more fighting games were all represented. Golf was one of the genres that only one or two releases (there is a Frisbee game too).
Top Players Golf stood out
Top Players Golf, being the lead off greens game for the new console, carries its responsibilities quite well. The graphics are quite detailed. With the expansive amount of memory available, sound effects, music and digitized voices are quite abundant. The home market was squarely Super Nintendo versus Sega Genesis (NEC's TurboGrafx-16 was never a contender). The Neo Geo was pointed squarely at the arcade. Even the home unit featured games that cost more than the competing consoles themselves. Top Players Golf was no exception, weighing in at a hefty 60+ megs in 1990. This was amazing as Sega and Nintendo would take several years to reach 48 meg cartridges.
That Neo Geo visual feel is strongTop Players Golf features sweeping shots of the course and animated golfers taking their swings. The camera zooming effects were better than just about any that the Super Nintendo pulled off. That is to be expected though, considering the power under the hood of the Neo Geo. It better to because of that bone crushing price tag. There are many comments and praises coming from your caddy all in digitized voice. A rarity for the time, and something SNK took full advantage of in their games. Top Players Golf offers plenty of music and such, nothing you wouldn't expect from a cheaper console.
Arcade and Neo Geo exclusiveTop Players Golf also holds the unique position of not being ported to a home console. For a period of time there, most SNK games were seeing home ports. That was mostly the one on one fighting games.
Interested in getting a copy of Top Players Golf for yourself, or that home arcade you are building? Head over to eBay or Amazon and see what is available. Check these other Neo Geo articles for more arcade in your home fun.
This article was originally published on Retro Gaming Magazine.