Search For Posters!
  Join the SGN staff!
Help Wanted
Release Dates


About Us

The Sports

Partner Links
Auto Insurance Quote
Irvine Moving Companies
LA Moving Companies
Brand Name Shoes

[an error occurred while processing the directive]

Tiger Woods 99 PGA Tour (PC) Review

Publisher: EA Sports

Background Info

EA (Electronic Arts) Sports has long been known for its popular series of games based on professional sports leagues/organizations. Both the Madden (football) and NHL series are perennial choices as among the very best in their respective sports, combining ever-improving graphics with very exciting gameplay and a good amount of statistical interface. Why, then, has the PGA Golf series not arisen as the premiere golf game on the market? Quite simply because it has not, to date, provided the level of graphical, gameplay and option-oriented detail and quality of the Links series by Access. Nor has it equaled the progress of the Jack Nicklaus series (Accolade, now Activision). Can the introduction of golf superstar Tiger Woods and 3D acceleration bring it into the top tier of PC golf games?

Presentation/Graphics : 93
Tiger Woods '99 is the first in the EA PGA Golf series to utilize 3D acceleration, and it brings a graphical excitement to the game that none of its predecessors really even approached. The acceleration doesn't really show its teeth until the ball is actually struck. At that point, the ball can be viewed from a number of angles (reverse, gallery, ball view, etc.). The game program automatically selects one of these perspectives after your golfer strikes the ball, and all are impressive. The option that follows the ball through its flight is most impressive, as the 3D terrain of trees and bunkers, mounds and contours scrolls by in front of you. An important point should be addressed here. The game is really not worth purchasing, in my opinion, unless you plan to run it on a system with a 3D accelerator. Without this capability it is not much more than a slightly improved version of the prior game in the series - PGA Tour Pro. So unless you are a Tiger Woods fanatic and absolutely can't imagine playing a PC golf game as another player I don't recommend the game if you don't have 3D capability. While the 3D acceleration is visually stunning and adds immensely to the pleasure of playing Tiger Woods '99, there are certain factors and limitations that must be noted. The first is your processor speed. I play the game on my home PC, which has a Pentium 233 processor. With my system, the smoothness of the movement in the game is most definitely effected by the level of rendering detail chosen. In my personal quest for the ultimate in detail, I opt for the highest detail possible. While making the various objects and backgrounds as crisp as possible, this does somewhat adversely effect the smoothness of my golfer's swing and the movement of the ball and the passing terrain. I would imagine that a Pentium II 400 would not present the need to choose better detail at the sake of motion smoothness. The second is the integration of the 3D into the game screen itself. The entire view is not rendered in 3D. For example, from the default point of view at a greenside chip, the golfer, green and surrounding spectators (rendered well, but not as realistically as in Links LS '99) are in glorified 2D, while the background trees, mounds, etc., are presented in 3D. This can look very awkward, for example, when looking at a reverse view replay of a great tee shot. On the tee, the sky and background objects are rendered in 3D, while the tee area and player are not. This can sometimes be visually annoying, but with the ball in motion, the 3D does really shine. Finally, ball physics are improved, but still fall far short of Links LS '99 in their realism.

Presentation/Audio : 83
The "announcer" audio option can become annoying pretty quickly in a simple round of 18 hole stroke play. He becomes more varied with his comments in the tournament mode, which, by the way, is the overall most entertaining and interesting mode for this game. Otherwise, the audio here is average and not much improved over prior versions of the series. Ambient sounds are too few and far between and this generally hurts the overall realism of gameplay.

Interface/Options : 92
Much like the game set-up interface in other EA sports games, that of Tiger Woods '99 is generally user-friendly and appealing to the eye. Unlike some other games that utilize Windows-based interfaces with dragdowns, check marks, etc, the interface here is much more "arcade" styled with moving icons and sounds accompanying the choice of various game options. Movement between screens is relatively quick and clean and can easily be mastered without reference to the game manual. The interface allows you to quickly navigate through the various options before getting into the reason you're playing the game in the first place - to tee it off. During gameplay, EA has left virtually unchanged the swing meter from its prior incarnation, except for a few adjustments I will note later. To eliminate "option clutter" at the screen's bottom, they have also incorporated a colored "button" on the edge of the swing meter. Click here and up come your "plain English" gameplay options.

Gameplay : 85
Speaking of gameplay, Tiger Woods '99 moves along at a pace brisker than any other PC golf game I have encountered. Shot set-up is rather quick and painless, and the user-friendly swing meter allows quick swing adjustments (e.g. fade, backspin) to be applied. Changing a club is a snap. All of the above begs the question - well, then, how does it compare to real golf? Simply put, it doesn't. The time it takes to set up a shot in Links LS '99 or Jack Nicklaus 5, for example, is much more akin (if not longer) to the time I think the average golfer takes for setup of a shot. The game box boasts on its back, "18 holes in under 30 minutes...unparalleled real-time 3D acceleration keeps you playing, not waiting." This may be a not-so-subtle stab at the screen redraw times that other popular golf games require, but, frankly, golf is not a game of speed. If time is an issue, playing a round in under 30 minutes (which can be done under par by a good player) is a great option. But for those cybergolfers who have not experienced the real thing...dream on. I'm not of the opinion that 18 holes of cybergolf should take 3-5 hours, but with all of the various "assistance" options engaged (power level on, risk meter on, caddy advice on, tap-ins on, green grid on), the game can quickly become an easy exercise in the sub-par round. EA has used the popularity of Tiger Woods and these options to "arcadize" the game as much as possible. It's a lot of fun, but not very realistic. Golf is a game of many things, patience and thoughtfulness among them, and with these options on, these factors are all but removed. Turn the options off, and you get a better sense of realism, but the challenge remains a bit on the easy side, making Tiger Woods '99 a generally less difficult game than either of the "big two" - Links and Jack Nicklaus.

The game offers the option of a mouse swing ("pro-swing") which is not much of a challenge. Some may argue it is easier to master than EA's "traditional" 3-click swing and it too often results in shots of exaggerated distance (an ode to Tiger?) I feel that the mouse swing here is a big disappointment - if you share my belief that a mouse swing should as realistically as possible simulate a real golf swing. Game mode options presented are also somewhat disappointing, especially in light of Links LS 99's introduction of its "Modes of Play" feature, with over 30 modes included and the ability to create more. Here EA provides the eight most common forms of golf play. The only bonus is that the ninth option is the practice tee - which may be helpful for those who want to hone their shotmaking without the aid of the aforementioned "assistance" options.

Finally, on the plus side, EA has expanded the library of courses available to players. The games ships with three courses (the timeless Pebble Beach, the ever-popular, albeit controversial TPC at Sawgrass and the rather boring TPC at Summerlin). There are two add-on disks available for Tiger Woods '99, however. The first is the "TPC" disk, which features the TPC courses at Southwind, Las Colinas and Scottsdale (the first two are interesting layouts, but the latter is a bore.) The second is the "Tournament" disk, which is kind of a misnomer because all of the courses currently available for Tiger Woods '99, with the exception of the Links at Spanish Bay, annually host PGA tournaments.

The courses here are Colonial, Cog Hill and Bay Hill and they are all superior layouts. The games also runs the previously released "Classic Courses" disk, which provides the fun but overrated Spyglass Hill and the beautiful TPC at Avenel, which has a British feel to it. These add-ons give a player a maximum of 12 courses to play on - a great improvement over previous incarnations of the PGA Tour series.

Difficulty : 75
As I've intimated, even with the "assistance" options turned off, Tiger Woods '99 is a game of moderate difficulty when compared with Links LS '99 or Jack Nicklaus 5. I think the "arcadization" of the game has a lot to do with this. Don't get me wrong, it can be a challenge for the cybergolf newcomer, but for dyed-in-the-wool cybergolfers, the challenge curve may quickly drop. Also, as mentioned before, the mouse swing option provided does nothing to increase difficulty and I feel that in any PC golf game this option should inherently do so.

Overall : 87
Tiger Woods '99: PGA Tour Golf is a step in the right direction for the EA Sports golf series. It is entertaining, visually stimulating - and fast-paced, with its use of 3D acceleration. If this is what you are looking for in a PC golf game, and you have a 3D accelerator, I would recommend it. As to the question of simulating real golf? If you haven't already realized my opinion here, let me reiterate it. This is more arcade play than golf simulation. It's more MTV than rock and roll. If realism is your desire, Tiger Woods '99 fails to deliver. Even with its gameplay options set to make it as realistic as possible, other factors make it fall far short of the simulation benchmark set by Links LS '99 and the second place Jack Nicklaus 5. Links provides almost 30 courses on which to play (vs. Tiger's 12), 30 plus options for modes of play (vs. Tiger's 8), a more realistic ability to come close to simulating the difficulty of the real game and far superior ball physics. If you play real golf and value the ability of a PC to simulate it, this game may only be for you if you are the type - like me - who is simply a PC golf game junkie.

By: Chris C. 11/18/98

© 1998-2006 Sports Gaming Network. Entire legal statement. Feedback

Other Links:
[Free Credit Report  |   Car Insurance Quotes  |   Designer Shoes  |   Outdoor Equipment

MVP Baseball 2003
Street Hoops
Mad Catz Xbox Hardware

Inside Pitch 2003
MLB Slugfest 20-04
Tennis Masters Series