The definitive golfing simulation, featuring three accurate representations of famous golf courses, plus a special Gauntlet Country Club course - the ultimate challenge!
Commodore 64 owners will need no introduction to the successful series of Leaderboard golfing simulations from Access. The recent addition of the Executive Edition introduced trees and bunkers to the courses, and now World Class Leaderboard completes the series, combining all the features of the previous releases in reproductions of three famous golf courses: St. Andrews, Doral Country Club and Champions Cypress Creek. It also includes a specially designed course, the Gauntlet Country Club, which provides the hardest challenge of all.
The earlier games' control method is retained, whereby the strength of the shot and hook or slice are joystick-controlled - pressing the fire button stops a moving bar at the required moment. A cursor is used to determine the shot's general direction.
The course is displayed as a forced perspective first-person view, re-drawn after each stroke to give the correct viewpoint of the next shot. Trees, rivers, lakes, bunkers, rough and green are incorporated on all four courses, and DIY golfers also have the option to build a course of their own design by taking any of the 72 holes included and re-arranging them into new, 18 hole courses. A further course customisation can be carried out by choosing the type of tree required.
An option to practise driving and putting is included, and for the first time there's an overhead view of the course to help plan your shots.
Note: As reviewed, the disk version loads the data for each hole separately. Thus, the cassette version will involve a multi-load system, although at present it isn't known whether this will prove seriously detrimental.
US Gold have arguably milked Leaderboard dry, what with the Tournament courses and Executive Leaderboard. Unlike the latter however, the trees and bunkers in World Class Leaderboard haven't been thrown in for good measure - they are an integral part of each course, and far more strategy and thought is required.
The four courses offer a significant challenge, and the package represents excellent value - even if you own any of the previous versions. I think Access would be pushing their luck if they released a follow-up to World Class Leaderboard - they can't possibly make any further improvements... or can they?
With World Class Leaderboard, Access have finally achieved what may be considered to be *the* complete golfing simulation. It takes the best of Leaderboard and the Executive Edition, combines the two and then improves on them. The presentation and options are excellent, and the game is far more playable than any of the previous incarnations.
It's a shame that this wasn't released instead of the Executive Edition, as the market place may not exactly meet this latest offering with open arms. Still, WCL will remain the standard by which all golfing games (if not sports simulations in general) are measured for a long time to come.
You may think that US Gold are flogging the Leaderboard format to death, but this *is* the best of the series. World Class Leaderboard enhances the features of the earlier versions, and gives a golfing fan a chance to live out the fantasy of playing on three of the world's most famous courses, a fantasy which is made more authentic by the excellent implementation of the courses and superlative playability.
The brilliantly-designed fourth course is a real test of skill and should perplex even the most proficient of Leaderboard players. Although you may have reservations about buying a third golfing game, take a look - you may find yourself in for a pleasant surprise.
Presentation 95% Excellent documentation and a vast array of options, although the multi-load does slow the proceedings.
Graphics 90% The course views are quickly drawn and pleasing to the eye, and the animation is of the highest standard.
Sound 78% No music, but the superb spot effects more than make up for this omission.
Hookability 94% Instantly playable and compelling.
Lastability 89% Three reasonably accurate representations of existing golf courses to keep ardent golfers busy for months, plus the highly challenging Gauntlet Country Club course for added lasting interest.
Value For Money 92% Worthwhile, as any similarities between this version and its predecessors are almost superficial.
Overall 94% Quite simply the apex in golfing simulations. Tough, demanding, challenging and requiring far more skill and strategy than previous versions.