Review by Megnetto

"FORE!"

I never play real golf, but I know some people who go to a country club to play and watch on TV from time to time. I played video golf game at a store a while back, but don't know the name. I rented this first Sega Sports game before buying it a few months later. Like Hockey, there are not many golf games for the Saturn. I heard only two, this and PGA '97, which I didn't get a chance to check out. I wish I could say that this is the best golf game, but it's pretty good on its own.

Up to four people can play this game, but you can store as many as ten for record. You play on the famous Pebble Beach area in 7 play modes, including Tournament, Stroke, Skin and Match plays. In Tournament, you play against the game's residential PGA representative, Craig ''the Walrus'' Stadler, who gives you advice and encouragement in the game. You also play against a female golfer, Marie McGuire, sometimes. You can also play as her if you want. There is a way to save your game, but can't save more than one game play event. You can also choose which clubs to use and has a replay feature to relive those miracle shots you made.

The digitized graphics and FMV look great, but primitive compare to today's standards. The images taken from the golf course shows every hill and bunker and looks almost real. The problem is that it has 2D objects in a 3D like environment and they get pixilated and distorted when you get too close to one of them. There are 3 golf views, from the back, from the front, and ball cam, which follows the shot from the ball perspective and animates everything in the area. The ball cam is fun to look at, but it's not very detailed and looks cartoonish. You can choose to have caddies to follow you, but they are no help, a bit distractive and the animation's choppy. You're better off using the map option instead.

There is music in the game play, except when you're in the green, making a putt. Also, in option menu. Some of it is pleasant and might take away the frustration you get playing this game. There are no audio music tracks, just a thank you from T&E Soft. There are no announcers, but if you want, you can hear Stadler give detailed strategies for each hole. When you play against him in Tournament or have him pitch hit for you in Skins or Match plays, he'll pop up from time to time, saying things like, ''Great birdie'', ''You missed an easy putt'', or, ''Thanks for letting me hit''. He has 60 lines to say in this game. You'll this if you like him.

The controls are solid, but the layout is very tricky. You have five steps in addressing the ball (hello, ball. Sorry, couldn't resist) and many factors to consider. Compensation for the wind, direction and distance for the ball, which club to use and so on. In other golf games, the PC can do all the work for you, but not in this game. The only thing it offer is an easy shot option which takes out hooks and slices, but that's it. This could be troublesome for beginners and newcomers of golf, but a challenge for people who are pros at it. At least playing against the A.I. is realistic. It doesn't make double eagles or hole in ones on a whim, but it doesn't make double bogeys all the time either.

If I have the opportunity to play any other golf game for the Saturn. I might choose that one over this one. The graphics are outdated and the courses are tough. I did enjoy it because it gave me a challenge from time to time. Also, the music and the appearance of Stadler help. Rent it to see if you like a good workout.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 04/24/01, Updated 04/24/01


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