Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
£24.99; 4 players
Urgh, what's that spot on my shoulder. I think that could be a birdie...
Putt, putt, putt, putt, putt, putt...
If you're the sort of person that likes the idea of hacking your way around the golf course, but would really prefer to be indoors by the fire, then this could be the game for you. Armchair golf has been a popular pastime ever since video games have been invented. There is a certain appeal to the swish of the club, and the precise angle and stance that sends your ball arcing gently through the sky straight into a bunker. But if you like a game for real men in sta-prest trousers, then here you are.
Play is limited to a one-on-one match play game or a stroke game between up to four people. In the match game, you play by holes: ie, the first one to get their ball down the hole wins that hole and gets a point. The player with the most points by the end of the 18 hole course is the victor. In stroke play, the player with the least total shots taken over the full 18 holes is deemed the winner.
You've only got a small golf bag, (speak for yourself, lovey) which carries just 14 clubs, so you have to choose them with care.
At the first tee, the split screen offers a plan view of the hole, with a 3D view of the course. After each shot this view is updated as you move around the course, giving a realistic 3D simulation of a real golf course.
A plan view of the course is shown on the left, so you can see any major hazards such as bunkers, water, regions of intense radioactivity, that sort of thing. A panel at the top of the screen gives the remaining info on distance, wind speed, time of day, angle of the moon and all that essential guff.
As with most golf games, each shot is made using a number of different menus and controls. The shot itself is dependent upon the type of club, the direction of the ball when it leaves the club head, the stance of the golfer, and the strength of the shot. The only vaguely tricky bit is setting the shot strength, which is accomplished by stopping a moving barmeter. Hit the button to stop the bar, and depending upon how near the top of the meter the bar stops, the stronger the shot. Easy. Well, semi-easy, anyway. Most of the time you get roughly the effect you were looking for, just like the real thing. So hopefully, the ball should fly through the air and land nearer the hole than when you started. And you do the same thing again. And again, until you get on (or at least very near) the green. Then it's out with the putter.
Putting is more of the same only different. Here, you simply check the slope of the green, aim the putter, and let rip when you think the barmeter shows the right strength.
It's easy for golf games to get a bit complex, with all manner of tricky meters and wind speeds and stances and stuff. Great Golf is unburdened by too many twiddles and is a straightforward game of pointing in the direction you want the ball to go and whacking it with the club. Our only real niggles fall mostly into the graphics department, where the animation is not so good. The map is small, and gives you the feeling of looking at the course through a letterbox.
Al the menus are easy to use, and the strength meter is a breeze
Nice 3D view, although the overhead map could be bigger. Animation is weak.
Sampled chipmunk says 'great shot' (how do you sample a chipmunk?), plus the normal jingles and effects.
Just like the real thing, there’s no pressure to think or act quickly at all!
You really have to think ahead and plan each shot if you want to keep under par!
No competition against the Sega, but you can challenge up to four friends for a quick round!
Not much to look at, but a tough cookie to crack and great to play a round with!
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