Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf logo

ACCOLADE  24.95 * Mouse

A golfing legend, winner of more major championships than anyone else, much demanded course designer and all-American hero: the Golden bear. A golf game cannot come with a much better endorsement than jack, but does it live up to his reputation?

Three courses are available: Castle Pines in Colorado, Desert Mountain in Arizona and Jack's Greatest 18. The Greatest 18 are culled from some of the most famous courses in the world, such as St Andrews, Augusta, Pebble Beach and Royal Lytham.

One to four players can take part, any or all of whom can be computer controlled. There is a choice of several opponents of varying ability, including Jack himself, who is of course incredibly good. There is also a choice of game type: 'stroke play' or 'skins'. In skins the players play for prize money on each hole, the prizes increasing as they go along. Stroke play is the usual score-per-stroke, with the overall score plus or minus par kind of system.

Before playing each hole you are given an overhead view of it, which can be called up again while playing. You also get Jack's words of wisdom on the hole, then it is off to the tee, where the view is from behind the player, looking towards the green and the pin.

The club is selected from a driver, two woods, eight irons, two wedges and a putter. Once the club is chosen and the shot aimed, the tricky part of swinging the club has to be done. This is a matter of timing mouse clicks to initiate the swing, to stop the power bar going upwards and then to stop it going down (for the accuracy). Mistiming clicks will result on the upswing in shots going long or short and on the downswing in the ball hooking or slicing.

The computer players do everything automatically: and slowly too. A lot can be learnt from watching them, particularly if you have a similar shot to play. There are various factors affecting a shot - windspeed and direction, sand, slopes and rough. On the putting surface there are only breaks to cope with, but the aiming of putts is very tricky.

If you are not happy with your performance you can always go off to the driving range and the practice green, or even practice on a few individual holes.

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

The courses are picturesque, with trees, bunkers and lakes making up some lovely views. The only problem is the terribly slow speed at which the graphics are drawn. The view is redrawn for every shot so there is a lot of hanging about waiting for it.

The sound is limited but what is there is good: some excellent sampled speech at the beginning and realistic hitting and bouncing noises during play.

JUDGEMENT

The slow speed of play is annoying but not terminally so: just chill out, relax and take your time playing. The three courses are challenging and dangerous and the opponents provide good competition. It is a game you will be playing for years to come: s long as the old back injury does not flare up again...


Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf logo

Accolade
Price:  24.95

Like basketball, there is no shortage of golf games on any machine, particularly the Amiga, which whilst being relatively young in hardware terms can count over half a dozen golf titles written for it already. Any addition for this reason has to be of good quality otherwise it's just going to be passed over. Jack Nicklaus is good enough to hold its own with the rest and, in some cases, better.

Accolade have chosen to go for an endorsement from one of the greatest golfers of all time to boost sales, but in truth its execution is strong enough to warrant it. After an initially worrying bout of disk swapping the game sets itself up with clear and precise options. These include choosing whether to play alone, against the computer (you can choose its skill level by selecting from a list of names which include pros, women pros, experts and beginners) and deciding which course to play. There are two from the US - Pine Springs and Desert Mountain, and, a specially put together round of big Jack's favorite holes around the world.

The gameplay is simple. You hit the ball simply by tapping the mouse button or the keyboard, once to start the swing, and once again to control it as the power bar at the side of the screen drops. Direction is manipulated by dragging a little guide ball at the top of the screen to the left or the right. A meter at the bottom show the direction and strength of any wind, and later, when you putt, it shows any break from the green. All this is performed swiftly and efficiently enabling you to concentrate on the game.

Graphically Jack Nicklaus is amongst the most impressive sports sims I have seen, with each individual course drawn out exactly, with natural features like waters and trees outlined and filled in using a large palette of colours. One drawback though is the amount of time it takes to generate the screen. Each time you change location the screen is slowly revealed as a windows pulls back. More annoyingly still, it has to access the disk if you want to see an overhead view (very useful) and then draw the screen again afterwards.

The golfer though, is very neatly illustrated and faultlessly animated as he swings cleanly through ball after ball in a way which would make even the Golden Bear himself envious. Sound, as is usual with these kind of sims is minimal, and although you get a nice thwack when you hit a second shot, you don't hear it when you drive for some reason. There's a generous round of applause when you sink a birdie too, but it would have been nice to hear some other sounds - the odd cheer, or shout of 'in the hole!'.

Compared to the likes of World Class Leaderboard Accolade's version acquits itself impressively. There are some problems - the computer controlled opponent is agonizingly slow. I have some reservations about the putting too which doesn't work as well as it should, and there are some inexplicable mistakes when you play, but these are outweighed by the general playability and attractiveness of the product. Jack should be pleased.


Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf logo ZERO Hero

Dunc: Amiga review

Now this isn't strictly speaking a new game - it came out last year. However, as the new course disks have just become available - and seeing as ZERO wasn't around at the original time of release - we're reviewing the game anyway. (Think of it as a cross between a Déja Vu and a proper review).

The first thing that strikes me about these golf games licensed to famous golfing personalities is the fact that the famous golfing personalities concerned always have a silly nickname. Take Jack Nicklaus for instance. Oh, sorry, did I say Jack Nicklaus? I really meant to say "The Golden Bear". Does Jack look like a bear? No, he doesn't. Have you ever seen a bear with such a ridiculous haircut? Do bears play golf? No, they don't - they appear in Disney films with raccoons. Still, apparently Jack had quite a bit of input into this game and he obviously knows what he's talking about, so we can forgive him.

The brilliant thing about Greatest 18 Holes is the front end. You can opt for the traditional Stroke Play or go for Skin Play (not playing in the nude - it's the 'gambling' option). You type in how much you want to play for and the computer allocates the cash to the holes. You can choose which tee to play from, depending on how good you think you are. You can choose to be either a beginner or professional. You can even have up to four players, either other humans or automatic computer opponents (who vary in skill, so you can pace yourself when learning).

Picked your options? Picked a course? (Three courses with the original game and now the three new ones which are even more challenging). Right, time to play. Oh dear. Hassle, hassle, hassle. You have to wait for a beaming picture of Jack to load in first. Right. Oh. Now a viewed from above map of the course loads in. Ho hum. Bit of a tiddly and useless map actually. Click the mouse to lose that. Oh dear. The picture build up time for the main play screen is pretty slow as well. But when it is all there you really don't care. There are hills, bumps, trees and everything.

To aim where you want to shoot, you drag a little pointer at the top of the screen to the left or right. If you drag it right to the edge of the screen, your viewing angle is shifted around ten degrees or so. Fortunately you don't have to do this very often, as you have to wait for the bloomin' screen to update again.

So now it's off to the power meter (your club is selected for you unless you opted to be a professional). Click, click, click, thwack. Off goes the ball, over the hill and lost from view. Oh dear - a little plume of sand. You're in a bunker. Wait for the screen to update again and you see you're next to the green. With a sand wedge. Aim. Click, click, click. Yaaargh! Cocked it up. Into another bunker.

When you do finally make it onto the green it can be murder - there's a 'break meter' telling you the way things are sloping and various shades of green to tell you what's sloping more than what. Add to this the fact that there's a random pin placement (every time you play, the hole is in a different place) and you'll realise that coming in under par can be absolute murder.

Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes is full of hassle regarding the speed at which the proceedings chug along (like the real thing really) but for all that, it still really is totally brilliant. Especially playing against another person.

Jack's International Courses are now available from Accolade on Amiga and PC for £11.99.

Stop


Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes of Major Championship Golf logo

As one of the best golf simulations available on the Amiga, Jack Nicklaus' Greatest 18 Holes Of Major Championship Golf (Phew, what a moughtful and there's more to come) has spawned a whole series of course disks and complementary products since its release in 1989. These have included Major Championship disks for '89 and '90, an international course disk and an Unlimited Course Design package.

Major Championship Courses of 1991 adds three famous golf courses, completing the collection to date and is designed to run in conjunction with either The Greatest Eighteen Holes or Unlimited Course Design, both of which represent the basic Jack Nicklaus' package for use with add on course disks. This is the catch because if you're new to Jack's golf game and fancy a round on Royal Birkendale (the only English course), Heseltine National, Minnesota (U.S.A.) or Crooked Stick Golf Club, Indiana (U.S.A.), you'll have to shell out for one of the original games as well as this expansion disk.

Existing owners will immediately recognize the graphics as well as the nagging slowness of new screen scrolling and disk loading. I was hoping, even within existing limitations that the graphics would be brightened up or scrolling modified but no luck here unfortunately. That said there's nothing seriously wrong with the way the game looks and I don't think newcomers will be at all disappointed.

The control system hasn't changed. There is a horizontal shot aiming indicator above the main screen, a power bar on the left hand side and a club type and number indicator on the right hand side. There's also a wind direction clock above yet another, smaller bar indicator for wind speed. Combine shot controls and indicators for that dream shot and hopefully score a hole in one!