Leaderboard (US Gold) Review | ZX Computing - Everygamegoing

ZX Computing

By U. S. Gold
Spectrum 48K

Published in ZX Computing #36


The most authentic golf simulation the Spectrum has ever seen

Sports simulations have been in the doldrums recently so the arrival of Leaderboard (a chart-topping Commodore game) on the Spectrum is cause for celebration especially as it's in a different league to any existing golf game.

The list of options is undoubtedly impressive - there are four 18 hole courses to play on plus a practice driving range. Up to four players can take part in a round and there are three levels of difficulty, novice, amateur and professional (where subtle shifts in wind direction affect the flight of the ball). Each player has a choice of club (from an available fourteen) and can adjust the power, slice and hook in his shot by timing the drive against a moving bar display.

The joy of the game is the high responsiveness to subtle changes in your play. Select the wrong club or apply too much slice and you pay dearly as your score threatens to expand off the scoreboard. On a lot of holes, water hazards dominate and if this was real life you'd be spending a fortune in lost balls. Pinpoint accuracy is essential all the way down to the hole. You are kept up to date with the exact distance to the hole, even down to the last few inches so that even a tap in can be a problem especially as most greens have a vicious slope. An authentic touch familiar to poor putters occurs when you putt too hard but on the right line and the ball hops over the rim of the hole.

Graphically, Leaderboard is excellent with 'fill-in' block colours and a smoothly animated playing figure. The perspective of the ball in flight as it swings through the air is most convincing and golf buffs will uncover a lot of small details that have been overlooked by previous golfing games - such as hitting the flag in the hole from an approach shot.

Leaderboard is an exceptionally good simulation which will be tapped up by anyone with an interest in golf and by those who enjoy a well put together game.

The ultimate accolade for a sporting simulation would be that it was preferable to playing the game itself and although Leaderboard can't quite manage that, it's a very close thing.

A Monster Hit.