Challenge Golf (On-Line Entertainment) Review | ST Format - Everygamegoing

ST Format


Challenge Golf
By On-Line Entertainment
Atari ST

 
Published in ST Format #27

Challenge Golf

Karl Marx once called golf "the opiate of the masses". He realised he was wrong of course, so he changed it to religion, but the fact remains that golf is more popular now than ever before. Consequently a plethora of golf games has appeared recently.

Joining the fray is Challenge Golf from On-Line Entertainment. It sticks pretty much to the standard format. There is a choice of four courses (selected from a strangely detailed relief map of the world). Select a course and you can start. You watch a little character swing his club, judge the correct strength on a power meter by hitting the mouse at the right moment, then try and do the same on the direction meter. The whole thing takes about half a second so you need to be quick - and a good mouse also helps.

You're automatically faced in the direction of the pin and given the best club. You can change clubs and alter the direction, using a red arrow under your feet. Use the on-screen map to point in a different direction (on dog-leg courses for example). It's not an effective system but it works when you're used to it.

Once you've hit the ball and watched it bounce off unconvincingly, the display cuts to a 3D overview of the course. The shot is replayed so you can see where you are in relation to the green. Then it's on to the next shot. If the pin distance isn't great, you're given a shorter club and off you go again, until you get on to the green.

Once there, you see a rather blocky top view of yourself, the hole and a large arrow indicating any slope. There's also an aiming line which you can swivel to compensate for it. Clicking the mouse on a moving scale decides the power, then you watch the ball roll along. And here's the biggest headache of the game: it's very difficult to get the ball in the hole. No, I'm not just crap at it - the parameters for a "hole out" are set too strictly. The ball can actually roll slowly right over the hole (or even stop on top of it) without going in. It's infuriating, and makes all your skilful driving and chipping worthless because you can drop dozens of shots within inches of the hole.

Verdict

Challenge Golf isn't really a contender. The graphics aren't very impressive; they're blocky and slow to update. The sound is virtually non-existent. Ball thwacks are all there is. And if the ball drops into water you get silence and the word "Splash!" on the screen!

Playability, too, is below par (oops, sorry). You don't have enough control, and once you've mastered the timing of the gauges that's about it. The greens are irritating to play, and the ST actually moves the position of the ball between shots to line it up with the compass points. This could be a result of lack of memory or poor programming, but it doesn't exactly elevate the gameplay.

If you're after a decent golf game, this isn't it. Just be thankful that there are plenty of others around which are.

In Brief

  1. Slow and rather inflexible. Doesn't compare well to MicroProse Golf.
  2. The graphics aren't as clever or impressive as those in World Class Leaderboard.
  3. Not as flexible as either of the above games. Too many things are done for you.

James Leach

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