The biggest problem that software houses find when preparing a new golf sim for the Megadrive-owning public is not centred on coding, or any esoteric programming matter. They find it hard to locate a golfer who hasn't endorsed a previous golf game... Jack Niklaus, Nick Faldo, etc. They've all done it. Someone had suggested that Elsie Miggins, who lies to do a few holes around Hartlepool's municipal links might be interested in putting her name to this game, but it seems she's already agreed to appear in a packshot for Nobbysoft's 'Lobotomy Golf: The Longest Trek'.
Obviously, Virgin were unable to find an endorser for Links. Or perhaps they just called it that for the hell of it. Let the game stand on its own, they may have thought - there's no need for fancy celebs to shift it. Au contraire...
Based on a popular PC game, using video footage of the Torrey Pines golf links.
Like any golf game, get around the course in as few strokes as possible.
The Torrey Pines course has been filmed from the air and the footage turned into digital video for Links. There is an option to view each hole with a brief commentary, before you play it. The lush green graphics seen in the flypast are not those of the game itself, but the layout of the holes is accurate.
Play a shot you are proud of and you can watch it again using the simple replay menu. View the shot from the point where it was struck, or from a position near to where it lands.
The control format is much the same as other golf games. Clubs are selected from a menu. Shot type is changeable and shots are taken with a timed swingometer. The big change is aiming. Instead of moving an aiming cursor, you alter the view by degrees to the left and right, then wait for the screen to redraw. And wait, and wait...
Oh deary, deary me. How did this pile of rubbish get past the first stages of playtesting? The voiceover and the FMV are nice touches, but nothing more than cosmetic cover-ups.
Once you start to play the holes, the true painful sluggishness of the access time, the appalling resolution, and pathetic graphics, will drive you up the wall.
Avoid this sorry excuse for a golf sim at all costs, and play safe with the PGA quality titles.
"So realistic you can almost smell the greens!" geeks the packaging. "That's a good thing," it adds inanely. Well I can smell something from Links, but it isn't green.
Playing Links is a mind-numbing experience for two principal reasons. Firstly, the screen updates every time you change your aim, and it has to read from the CD to do it, meaning *long* periods of waiting time.
Secondly, the in-game graphics and the holes themselves are tedious. The fancy froth of flying footage and commentator's tuppence-worth (and it is only worth tuppence) don't add anything to a game consisting of a single course.
Avoid this crummy rubbish and get PGA 3.
P. The FMV is pretty clear and nicely green.
N. All the other graphics are mince.
N. The speech is repetitive and irritating. Other sounds are unremarkable.
N. The wait for CD access is totally unacceptable. The holes themselves aren't any great shakes.
N. Frustration reinforced with a lack of depth seals the fate of this golf abomination.
Value For Money 15%
N. Has no value added features beyond the gimmicky filmed bits.
Links? The Missing Links, more like. This is backwards evolution in a sport that's been done to death, frankly.
Value For Money