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Golf Tee Golf (PC) Review

Publisher: Incredible Technologies

Background Info

While the baseball or football game markets are always open to some competition, golf on the other hand, is a little tougher to get into. Access' Links and EA's PGA Tour series have long dominated the golf market and these titles aren't likely to be dethroned anytime soon. Enter Golden Tee Golf (GTG), a game that relies more on fast gameplay and arcade action than green-reading and course design. The results may appeal to those gamers looking for a way to have a round of golf in a reasonable time, but if you're looking for a Links LS-beater, you'll have to look elsewhere.

Presentation/Graphics : 70
Visually, GTG pales in comparison to the Links and PGA series. No 3D support is included and the players and background objects look dull and pixelized. Access still hasn't made the jump to 3D acceleration in Links, but the graphics are still highly detailed and look almost photo-realistic. GTG's graphics, in contrast, have an almost cartoonish look to them. The first thing you'll notice about the graphics is the lack of variety in the golfers. There is actually only one player style to choose from and the swing and celebration animations are choppy and boring. The courses do look decent however with such atmospheric effects as dense fog and pretty water reflections. Other landmarks such as houses and trees aren't all that pleasing to the eye, but they get the job done. Groups of spectators and ball washers are also strewn about and do add to the atmosphere of the game. Overall, a dose of 3D could have spiced things up a bit.

Presentation/Audio : 65
Perhaps the weakest aspect of GTG is its repetitive and inane sound package. As in most golf games, sound effects are (thankfully) few and far between but the limited audio is enough to be annoying. The announcer seems more interested in making fun of your misfortune than actually giving his opinions on the shot/round. As a matter of fact, if he would have sarcastically jeered "it's in the drink" once more in his wannabe British accent, I would have unhooked the speakers. Then, there's the monotonous crowd applause (or lack thereof in my case) which sounds the same for nearly every shot. Luckily, the atmospheric effects aren't all that bad and include realistic representations of chirping birds and, perhaps the sound I've become most accustomed to, the splashing water.

Interface/Options : 89
There isn't much to navigating the Golf Pro as you can run almost all options with the mouse. The front end is very simple with only 4 or 5 menu selections. Checkboxes rule the options screen as you can select what you want to include into the game. You can select items quickly and easily and it takes the chore out of getting a game going. In fact, to make things easier, you can preset a defined setting for a "Quick Play" option at the main menu for fast and easy links in a hurry!

Gameplay : 67
After breezing through the menus, its time to get down to business. There are three fictitious courses to choose from and several different types of game to play, including best-ball, skins, etc.. Swings are conducted using the back and forth thrust of the mouse and left and right to aim. This does take some getting used to but many golf sims are starting to implement it so it's obviously the wave of the future. Personally, I believe that this swing style should be optional with the standard click method as a choice as well. I had a difficult time hitting straight shots as it seemed that any nervous twitch sent the ball careening to one side.

More fun can be had with the convoluted effect the wind has on the ball in-flight. It seems logical that if the wind is blowing strongly to the right, you'd aim your swing to the left to compensate. Strangely however, it seems that the further you aim to the left, the further the ball sails to the right. This makes for frustrating shot placement and lots of balls in bunkers and lakes. In fairness, the game does allow some tweaking in the mouse sensitivity, but I couldn't get swinging effectively down to a science. Also, the wind seems extremely exaggerated so five mile-per-hour gusts seem to send even the hardest drives way off-course. Often, it's difficult to distinguish if your shot was off due to wind or if you didn't keep the mouse straight during the swing. Therefore, improvement is difficult and gameplay is frustrating.

True to its arcade nature, putting in GTG requires more luck than skill. A small graphic in the corner of the screen indicates the slope and slant of the green, but this does little to help you prepare for the shot. Again, a small, erroneous, hand-movement will send you put rolling way off line and it's difficult to decide how hard to hit the ball. Luckily, the seemingly larger-than-standard hole is pretty forgiving as the ball seems to drop even though the shot appears off or if you hit it too hard. Despite its quirky control and wind problems, the game does offer some innovative options. Perhaps the coolest is the ability to save a "shadow game." Shadow games allow you to save previously played rounds and then play against your shadow. Even better, Incredible Technologies allows you to upload your games or download others' games so you can see how you stack up to other players around the globe.

Multiplayer options are also abundant in GTG. Incredible Technologies has a free match-making service and gameplay over LAN and modem is also included.

Difficulty : 75
The box hails GTG as "easy to learn but impossible to master." Both statements are true but this isn't necessarily a good thing. You'll have to keep you wits and a steady hand to keep your score low. For those bored by players who take five minutes to read a green, the game just may offer a breath of fresh air. Unfortunately wind and mouse sensitivity issues make the game harder than it should be, but if and when you get used to it, a challenging round of arcade golf awaits.

Overall : 75
GTG has been a popular arcade game for a good few years now and the game has been faithfully translated to the PC. Unfortunately, as is the case for many arcade translations, the game gets old rather quickly and you'll be yearning for a more realistic golf experience. Unless you're a die-hard fan of the arcade game or just don't care much for golf, stick to the Links or PGA series. Those games may take a little longer to complete but are much more gratifying and fun to play than GTG.

By: Doug Pierce 8/3/98

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