Nick Faldo Plays The Open
Golf certainly seems to be gaining in popularity these days, at least in the silicon if not actually on the green. Nick Faldo Plays The Open is based entirely on the Royal St. Georges golf course, where the famous annual Open Championship was hosted for the tenth time this century a few weeks ago. This simulation brings you all the hazards of this very difficult 18 hole golf course, and comes with a guide to the St. Georges course giving a detailed map of each hole, together with hints and tips (but no pokes).
One of the drawbacks with golf games has always been telling the computer just what it is that you want to do. This game tackles that problem with icons. The screen is split into two: the upper half gives a bird's eye view of your ball's position on the course, while the lower half is divided up into seven more sections, four of which allow you to input information.
Once you've selected the hole you want to play, you are told the distance between the hole and the tee, the par for that hole, the number of strokes you've played on that hole, and the total number of shots taken for the contest so far.
Underneath the hole number there are two white triangles, one pointing up the other pointing down. To select a hole number, move the little hand over a triangle: pressing the fire button increments or decrements the hole number, depending on which triangle you've selected. The strength bar indicates the amount of thump you intend to give the ball, and this is adjusted the same way. Selecting the angle of shot is equally as cunning you move a little ball around the perimeter of the circle. When you play the stroke, the ball will fly off in the direction given by the imaginary line drawn through the centre of the circle and the ball on its perimeter.
Selecting a club is simply a matter of moving the list of available clubs until the one you want appears in the window. Before you make your shot you might just like to check where the hole is in relation to the tee, and this can be done by moving the hand over the map change icon. The map remains visible while you hold down fire. A moving bar graph indicates wind strength, while wind direction is shown by an arrow.
When you've decided how to play your shot, moving the cursor over to the little picture in the bottom centre initiates play. The plump chap on the left is your caddie, and you are the fellow in plus fours. Press fire and a speech bubble appears from the golfer specifying the required club. The caddie replies 'OK' unless he thinks you are making a mistake, in which case he asks 'are you sure'. Either rethink the matter or say 'yes' by pressing the fire button again.
The caddie will then turn and pass you the club of your choice. Your golfer then goes through the swing and makes the shot at this point you can make final adjustments to your shot using the joystick. Although the caddie appears a nice chap, he's quick to make snide remarks after you finally manage to put the ball away after only 253 shots. All that's missing is a 'bash the caddie on the head' icon.
Control keys: definable
Keyboard play: very good
Use of colour: average
Sound: hardly any
Skill levels: one
'The Open endorsed by Nick Faldo is of course a golf game, no wait! this one is different and is a significant improvement on most golf games. For a start the graphics are colourful, smooth and fairly detailed. The course is shown well on the map. The icons make setting up a shot a doddle and your stroke can be 'fine tuned' with a joystick. The best golf game to date, but with a bit of a price draw back.'
'This is a very fine golf simulation. Being anything but a golf fan I quite enjoyed this game in its own right. The icons are a pleasure to use. My only reservations concern the ball. In most cases it's pretty easy to follow but every now and then you have to study the screen very hard indeed to find where the ball has got to. I dare say that most golfers spend a great deal of time looking for their balls so perhaps this adds to the realism. However, this should not be the case when it comes to the putting green, where clash caused by the ball and the pole obscures the ball's position, making that all important putt nearly impossible. On the whole this is a great simulation and suitable for non golfers.'
'I've always enjoyed golf, both the real game and as a computer simulation. The Spectrum has been rich in such games, some of them quite good, but no one has yet provided us with such a fluent, enjoyable or realistic simulation as this one. Even non-golf loving players might find Nick Faldo a source of fun. For the first time, I feel playing skill has really been allowed to have a direct effect on the way the game develops. And by using icons, club selection, angle and strength of hit becomes the natural thing it should be rather than the more usual tedium of countless button hitting. This is an excellent simulation and well worth investigating.'