Jack Nicklaus Golf (Accolade) Review | Amstrad Action - Everygamegoing

Amstrad Action

Jack Nicklaus Golf
By Accolade
Amstrad CPC464

Published in Amstrad Action #53

Jack Nicklaus Golf

Golf is one of those rare sports that's actually easier to play on a computer than in real life. You're given a bevy of helpful hints and advice, and a bad shot doesn't entail hours of scratching around looking for the darned ball!

All the usual bits and bobs are here in Jack Nicklaus Golf but there's much, much more besides. You take to the course with a variety of options relating to skill level and number of players etc. but then you immediately have the choice of three whole courses, a practice driving range and putting green to dig your club into. The package is bound together by Uncle Jack's comments on your performance, some of which are none too complimentary.

The three courses are ones designed by Jack, or part of his personal ultimate course cobbled together from many world famous golfing venues. Castle Pines in Colorado is a lush green parkland that has more trees than you dare to imagine at the first tee, while Desert Mountain is a course that was built in the arid Arizona wastelands, where the sand still runs on either side of the fairway. Jack's 18 are the best, however, as you're taken around the world in eighteen holes (immediately recognisable from watching too much Grandstand). All the holes appear in plan and 3D. They are full of character and look convincingly tough, although to get the graphic realism right, the speed with which they're drawn results in long gaps between shots.

Jack Nicklaus' Golf

On the left of the screen sits the all-important power bar that determines how hard you hit the ball. Underneath is a wind meter, while below the course view is the club selected and the stats on the hole itself.

Driving down the fairway to start with couldn't be easier, you simply watch as the swing builds up power and hit fire when it has enough welly on it to send the ball where you want. Then watch the bar speed down trying to judge how much slice or hook you want on the shot. Well that's the theory, but throw in the wind factor and the devious design of most of the holes and you know golf ain't the cakewalk it first appeared. The impressive 3D effects add extra difficulty to the game by introducing rolling hills and dales for your round. So remember that the flag may be hidden by the lip of bunker in which you've buried your ball, as well the huge pine tree in front of you.

Add these factors to the array of computer opponents and the styles of game and you know you're in a real golfing experience. The choice is between stroke play, where it's your final total that matters, or 'skins', where you have a rolling jackpot for each hole. Both demand different approaches and both are tough to win. This is doubly so if you're foolish enough to take on any of the computer players. They vary in their ability, but are all pretty hot. You can even play Jack himself if you really want an ego-bashing!

Jack Nicklaus' Golf

The fun in Jack comes from the ability to build up golfing skill as you play. The first few rounds are merely research - only afterwards does the real game begin. Each hole needs a definite technique, which is outlined in a terse comment from Uncle Jack as the course map is unfolded. Listen and learn - the advice is invaluable!

However good the package - and it is very well put together - it will, however, only immediately appeal to those people who have played computer golf before, or are keen followers of the sport. These limitations will unfairly cripple the game's popularity - a crime, because it's an entertaining and well-programmed sports sim. The head-to-head match for cash injects enough excitement to win over the most diehard anti-golf fanatics. (If you can get them to play in the first place!)

Jack sets standards that make even the Leaderboard pale in comparison. The graphics are convincing and give each a course personality that's reflected in the way it plays. The golf mechanics are easily understood, and complete novices can be playing within minutes - but the game does demand maximum concentration, if hopes of a par round are to be kept alive.

Jack Nicklaus' Golf

So if you've ever wanted to try your hand at golf but been put off by the silly trousers, now's your chance for glory.

Second Opinion

A truly excellent golf sim, streets ahead of anything else. In fact, It's enough to make non-golfers buy a set of clubs!

First Day Target Score

A five over par round on Beginner.

Green Screen View

Jack Nicklaus' Golf

Still clearly superior.


Graphics 84%
P. Awesome course detail.
N. Slowly drawn.

Sonics 5%
N. The occasional 'phutf.

Grab Factor 88%
P. Golf made easy (on the lower skill levels)
P. Three different courses.

Staying Power 88%
P. 54 holes to master.
N. Multiple computer opponents, two styles of play.

Overall 89%
Beyond a shadow of a doubt, the best golf sim ever on a CPC.

Par For The Course?

Leaderboard has been the benchmark for golfing excellence on all formats since time immemorial. There have been many competitors, but only Jack Nicklaus stands out from the crowd.

What makes the sport such an ideal target for computer games is its stationary nature. The guy in the funny jumper and plus fours stands still, hits the ball and then reappears further down the course. Hardly any animation, and just the courses to worry about. Complex maths are required to work out how far the ball travelled and where it landed, but with little code for animation there's plenty of K" left to muck around with.

The first few forays onto the course came way back in AA 1 when Amsoft brought us Amsgolf (67%). It scored well as the first game of the genre to be seen by AA. This was quickly followed by a horde of imitators, most notably Nick Faldo Plays The Open. This scored a round of 65% which was below par when compared to the Amsoft original. The stage was set for a dramatic improvement, though.

AA20 saw the birth of a games phenomenon called Leaderboard. This scored a massive 83% and bought golf into the computing age. You saw your player prepare his shot, and used a bar indicator to control swing, slice and power. The whole course was seen from eye level and the graphics were incredible for their day. The only drawback was that the areas off the fairway always counted as out of bounds, giving you no chance to recover from an errant shot.

This all changed when the series peaked with World Class Leaderboard (AA28 83%) which at last introduced incidental items such as trees and bunkers as visible, tangible obstacles for you to play around. It used the same control system as its predecessor, but relied on graphic prettiness to provide impact. This game too introduced the concept of "add-on courses' to the market and the idea, it seemed, was finally done to death as replicas of the world's great courses appeared.

US Gold capped its moment of glory by producing Leaderboard Par 3, a truly staggering collection of its golf sims' greatest moments. Interest in the sport since then has been muted. Even with outstanding international success, licences weren't sought. It looked like the end of the road (fairway?) for golf sims.

Then out of the blue up pops Jack Nicklaus and you know that you're in a different league altogether. Golf takes place in beautiful locations and now you can walk the course and actually see them. Uneven ground, sunken bunkers and huge trees conspire to stop that winning round and you know there's a lot of life left in this old dog yet. Golf's back on the CPC. Thanks Jack!

Trenton Webb

Other Amstrad CPC464 Game Reviews By Trenton Webb

  • Passing Shot Front Cover
    Passing Shot
  • The In Crowd Front Cover
    The In Crowd
  • Australian Rules Football Front Cover
    Australian Rules Football
  • Rock Star Ate My Hamster Front Cover
    Rock Star Ate My Hamster
  • X-Out Front Cover
  • Rainbow Islands Front Cover
    Rainbow Islands
  • Super Tank Front Cover
    Super Tank
  • Thundercats Front Cover
  • World Championship Boxing Manager Front Cover
    World Championship Boxing Manager
  • Cecco Collection Front Cover
    Cecco Collection