A&B Computing1st June 1989
Published in A&B Computing 6.06
Anyone who has read this column for any period of time will know my aversion for sports simulations - and yet I'm suddenly awarding the coveted Game of the Month accolade to firstly, 3D Pool and now Holed Out, a golfing simulation. What's going on?
What's going on is, quite simply, real quality on display - though, to be fair, it was a very close call this month and Superman nearly won. So what is so good about this here golf game then?
Firstly, the sheer detail that's gone into it - for example, there is an option to choose a left or right-handed player and when you strike the ball, there is a very realistic whoosh of club through air and then a very satisfying clock of club against ball. Secondly, the graphics which, although not breaking new ground, are very clever and more than suggest a golf course - your view is from behind the golfer except when on the green where it shifts to overhead. I wouldn't go as far to agree that they're 3D, but they have a good feel about them - as does the little figure of your golfer who swings at the ball in a very realistic manner.
Lastly, the ease of play. Despite the provision of two eighteen hole courses, a choice of matchplay or strokeplay, fourteen clubs, four skill levels and so on, it is almost embarrassingly simple to jump in and work out what's needed. You only have to use three keys - two for direction of shot or club choice, one for power of shot or action. That's it.
And, most importantly, you really do feel a part of the game - that's due in part to the number of features added, such as a realistic ball path, variable wind speeds, slice and hook features and accurate club performance.
Mode 1 is used to good effect - and I'm finding it absolutely compelling. Friends who play golf are also very impressed, although this would not help you to learn the game or improve your ability.
This is a great beginning from The Fourth Dimension - a really great game where attention to detail and technical ability have won out over superficially 'flash' appeal. Unreservedly recommended.
In a spirit of job opportunity, here's a guest review by Brett Colley, who seems to agree with my scores for Holed Out, apart from giving it an overall 9. Over to you, Brett:
This is an absolute must for golf fans. The Electron version is brilliant - it's almost the same as playing a round at Gleneagles.
On loading, you're given the options of either Match or Strokeplay, number of players, left or right-handed play, skill level and then a choice between mono or colour screens. Finally, a choice of courses - Cone Links or Pine Isles.
The usual Electron owner's problem of a game showing brilliant graphics in adverts which do not appear on loading has been overcome. The trees have depth to them, the green can be seen clearly and the golfer is very detailed, including shadows. On choosing the correct club and the right direction, you then have to decide how hard to hit the ball from 0% to 100%. Once hit the ball immediately shoots into the air and, as it nears the ground, a small shadow can be seen, as the ball realistically bounces on the fairway.
(Dave again - just a quick note to point out that the ball is lozenge, not round, shaped. Doesn't affect enjoyment. Back to Brett!)
Hazards include trees (which produce a thud if the ball hits them), water, bunkers, and paths. To the right of the main action area is a display of all relevant information - length of hole, wind direction, club chosen, etc. After each hole, there is a scoreboard showing total numbers of shots and a breakdown of performance for each hole.
Packaging in a video-type case is impressive and includes maps of all holes and a quick reference card, including a map range finder which helps in plotting distances accurately. In fact, the only thing I found rather annoying about the game is the quite common "garble" which overwrites the top part of the screen. To sum up - this is probably the best simulation that I have played.