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Nick Faldo's championship golf logo

Muß ein Golfspiel mit Nobelgrafik immer solche Ansprüche an die Hardware stellen wie etwa die Konvertierung der PC-Perle "Links"? Nö, bei Grandslam gibt's Noblesse für jedermann!

Nick Faldo's championship golf Der Turbo darf also getrost in der Garage (des Händlers) bleiben. Nick Faldo schwingt bereits auf Standard-Amigas sehr beschwingt den Schläger. Na klar, schließlich begnügte sich der berühmte Profi in "Nick Faldo Plays The Open" seinerzeit ja noch mit 8Bit-Power, da hat er auch so schon einen schönen Fortschritt gemacht...

Das Golfspiel hat der gute Mann hier freilich nicht neu erfunden, und so treffen wir auf weitgehend bekannte Features. Da wäre als erstes der Trainingsmodus zu nennen, wo man die fünf gebräuchlichsten Schwierigkeiten dieses schönen Sports (auf Wunsch unter Anleitung des Meisters) einüben darf: aus dem Bunker schlagen, einen Teich überwinden, einlochen, anschneiden und variable Windverhältnisse. Soll's dann richtig zur Sache gehen, können bis zu vier menschliche Golfer in zwei Spielmodi gegeneinander antreten - entweder man absolviert eine Runde im Strokeplay, wo der Spieler mit den wenigsten Schlägen gewinnt, oder man meldet sich zum Turnier an.

So oder so stehen zwei Kurse zur Verfügung, die selbst ambitionierte Anfänger nicht vor unlösbare Aufgaben stellen. Mit maximal 13 der 16 verfügbaren Schläger wird auf den wehrlosen Ball eingedroschen, wobei eindeutig die Maus den besseren Caddy abgibt als der Stick. Interessanterweise ist hier die Schlagweite nicht allein vom gewählten Schläger abhängig, sondern auch davon, wie gut man mit dem jeweiligen Knüppel bereits vertraut ist - abzulesen an einem Balken. Die Schlagtechnik hingegen kennt man seit dem guten alten "Leader Board": Auf einem Beschleunigungsbalken muß zum richtigen Zeitpunkt geklickt werden, sonst trudelt der Ball unkontrolliert in die Pampa. Natürlich will auch der Wind berücksichtigt sein, dessen Richtung auf der eingeblendeten Übersichtskarte durch kleine Pfeile zu erkennen ist. Beim Putten wird dann automatisch ein Gitter über das Grün gelegt, um die Entfernung besser abschätzen zu können und Unebenheiten zu entdecken. Hübsch auch, daß vier Caddies unterschiedliche Kommentare zum Spiel abgeben.

In Puncto Präsentation bestechen die Geländegrafiken durch 32 Farben und eine Fülle von Details, außerdem werden sie rasend schnell aufgebaut. Bäume sehen somit endlich nicht mehr wie Dauerlutscher aus, Hecken, Sträucher und Palmen sind als solche zu erkennen, und sogar die Bodenstruktur (Senden, Steigungen, Kuppen, etc.) wird einigermaßen deutlich hervorgehoben. Die Animation der Sportler ist ebenso gelungen wie die sporadische Geräuschkulisse aus Windböen, Abschlägen und Tierrufen. Ja, nicht einmal an der etwas knappen, deutschen Anleitung gibt es viel auszusetzen, weshalb sich Nick Faldo von der Konkurrenz von "Links" nicht zu verstecken braucht. Fehlen eigentlich bloß noch ein paar Zusatzdisketten mit neuen Kursen, und der Mann steht ganz oben auf der Rangliste! (pb)

Amiga Joker, February 1993, p.46



amiga joker
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Nick Faldo's championship golf logo

Golf isn't just for Brucie and Tarbie and the other celebs, everyone seems to be picking up a club these days. Steve Prizeman put on his tank top and chequered trousers and took a swing at the latest simulation from Grandslam.

Nick Faldo's championship golf BEGINNER'S LUCK
A daunting feature of many sims is the degree of prior knowledge of the subject that is required, making it difficult for anyone other than an existing enthusiast to get to grips with the game without a struggle. The beauty of this one, however, is the ease with which a complete golf novice like myself (I've never swing a club in anger, and wouldn't know a wood from a mashie!) can learn the basics of walloping the ball along the fairway to the awaiting hole.

You wouldn't expect to start playing at Faldo's standard, of course. Davey Divot, the least capable of the eight computer-controlled opponents you may compete against, has a more appropriate level of skill for beginners to face. But when your ability has increased you may even dare to challenge the Number 1 ranked computer player - Nick Faldo, himself. For a more human approach, up to eight real people may play against each other (although only four at the same time). Stroke Play (get round the course hitting the ball as few times as possible), and Match Play (one on one or two against two) options are available.

Coaching is advisable before launching into a round, however, and who better to pass on his advice than our Nick. On the coaching screens Faldo's disembodied head floats beside printed text to talk you through water hazards, bunkers, and the other perils the avid golfer must overcome. When you feel sufficiently prepared, it's time to choose your clubs, grab a caddy (Bob, Bill, Jim or Fanny) head for one of the two courses available, and tee off. If your golfer looks familiar, that's hardly surprising – the sprite is based on digitised pictures of Faldo.

The player's stance may be altered, from 'Open' to 'Fade' (curve the ball to the right) and 'Close' to 'Draw' (curve it to the left). This is handy if obstacles, usually trees, are between the golfer and the hole. One particularly useful feature of the game is that the direction the golfer faces may be changed – if a tree or water hazard is directly in front of him, just click on one of the arrows at the top of the screen to have him face away from it. The direction in which the ball is to be struck is easily set with the mouse. Amateur and professional modes are available, providing two levels of difficulty, and a 'Mulligan' option on the amateur level allows you to re-take poor shots without damaging your score.

The force of the golfer's swing may be set, and top or back spin chosen depending on whether you want the ball to roll on, or stop abruptly once it hits the ground. Pull out menus from the sides of the screen facilitate easy selection of clubs, show overhead views of each hole and the player's position on them, and indicate the strength and direction of any wind blowing across the course. An important piece of information to check before choosing a club is the lie of the ball. This ranges from perching neatly on top of a tee, to being almost completely buried in sand. Grandslam says the game demands a more realistic selection of clubs than some other golf sims require: players can't simply hack away with the same old club at every different problem (bunker, rough, tangled grass) and expect an optimum performance. Playing conditions should not be ignored, therefore.

Taking a shot is a simple process, but one which takes a good eye and quick reactions to master. A horizontal bar at the bottom left of the screen appears when a shot is being taken. A narrower, white bar moves into view passing left to right through this, approaching two markers placed along the main bar (I hope you're following this!). The spacing between the markers indicates the golfer's level of the skill with the club he is currently using – the closer they are, the lower his ability; the further apart the greater his skill. When the coloured bar reaches the first marker the player must double-click the mouse button before the bar passes the second marker. Sounds easy, doesn't it, but make the first click too soon and you will hook the ball to the left; make the second click too later and the ball will be sliced to the right. Just to make things more complicated, you can even attempt to add 10% more force to your swing by clicking between an earlier pair of closely spaced markers to achieve a 'wrist snap'.

Coaching and use during rounds will improve a player's skill with his clubs. The degree of improvement can be seen by keeping an eye on the bars drawn next to each club on the selection menu – its length represents the distance between the two markers on the shot-taking bar described above. It's worth improving your skill if only to avoid the sarcastic comments of the less charitable caddies – they're happy to share their opinions with players, and these appear on screen after each shot. Once the green has been reached, a grid is superimposed on the ground to give a more accurate impression of its bumps and dips than would otherwise be conveyed. A more straightforward putting action also replaces the double-clicking mode, when taking a shot on the green.

The standard of graphics gives the game a very classy look, with trees, shrubbery, and the contours of the ground being quite realistic in appearance. (The edges of the water hazards looks a little too straight and sharp, but that's a minor quibble). Nice touches, like the way the golfer's shadow follows his movement when he swings, and how the tee is knocked from the ground when he drives are worth watching out for. The splash of fish (and golf balls) in the water, an irritating bird tweeting from the trees, and the rattle of the ball settling in the hole all add to the golf course atmosphere. The intro tune is a mellow little jazz-funk number – it really grated my nerves.

The look of the game also varies depending on the season in which you choose to play, either Spring, Summer, or Winter. Stronger winds blowing across the two available courses in Winter help indicated the way playing conditions are affected by the weather. In Spring the ground is wet and the ball bounces less than Summer; In Winter the ground is hard so the ball will bounce more.

It has to be admitted that this game lacks several features which players of other golf sims, such as PGA Tour Golf from Electronic Arts, might have liked to see. There are no fly-by graphics to give an overall picture of the golf course, no replay facility with the route of the ball being drawn behind it, no top-down view of putting, and no isometric cut-away shot of the green to give a really three-dimensional impression of the lie of the land. Whilst no one already possessing a golf sim like that would be missing out greatly by not getting Nick Faldo's Championship Golf, the game remains a well-presented and enjoyable addition to the genre. For anyone new to golf sims it is a good introduction – thorough and challenging, but easy to understand, helped by a brief and intelligible instruction manual.

CU Amiga, February 1993, p.p.56-57

Only the world's number one golfer, that's who! Born in Great Britain in 1957, Nick Faldo became a professional golfer in 1976. Placed 8th in the European Order of Merit Placings for 1977, Nick progressed to 1st place in 1983 – a status he regained in 1992.
Nick won the Colgate PCA Championship in 1978, the first of many big tournament victories. Amongst the most prestigious of these were the French Open in 1983 and 1988, the Spanish Open in 1987, the US Masters in 1989 and 1990, and the Open Championship in 1987, 1990 and 1992.
Ranked 1st in the world, according to the Sony World Rankings, Nick is a popular golfer as well as a successful one. He has been awarded the MBE, and in 1989 was voted Sportsman of the Year by the Sports Writers Association, and declared BBC Personality of the Year.

Although this version of Nick Faldo's Championship Golf will work on the A1200, Grandslam is currently working on a A1200-specific version. The new model will have 256-colour graphics, and may have extra courses and sampled comments for the caddies. A CDTV version of the game is also being produced.
A disk containing at least one (and maybe more) new courses, and various other features to enhance the game further, is also being prepared by Grandslam.

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Looks good and plays well, but lacks flair.

Nick Faldo's championship golf CD32 logo  CD32

A Nick Faldo's championship golf CD32 nd so the battle to create the most realistic and playable golf game ever continues, as Nick Faldo's Championship Golf works its merry way onto the CD32. On floppy machines, the game has already been a roaring success, replacing the polygon-based graphics of Microprose Golf with colourful, realistic trees and bunkers you could sunbathe in. They could have just done a straight port, but what wouldn't have been good enough for Grandslam. Instead, they've made a few not-so-subtle changes to the game for the CD market.

Firstly, the game plays in 256 colours now, rather than the 32 limit imposed on floppy versions. Although this might look great, it unfortunately leaves you in the position that it does take quite a long time to update the screen, and you are left waiting for seconds while the game decides what to do next. This doesn't just happen during the game either. Selecting an option on the menu screen is a case of highlighting an option, and then sitting around waiting for the machine to realise you've made a choice.

One major positive change is the restyled power bar. The original required all sorts of tricky button presses and high speed reactions, whereas this has more a standard 'press the button at one end of the bar to set power, and the other end to hook/slice'. As a result, it's much easier for the beginner to actually play some decent shots, although the game itself is as hard as ever. You'll still find yourself going into the rough on every shot, and the bunkers are as tricky as ever to get out of, but hey, that's golf for you.

It's a very competent golf game that will last you a long time. My only complaint is the speed of the update, but then golf is supposed to be leisurely!
Tony Dillon


CU Amiga, May 1994, p.50