It went straight down the middle...

MicroProse Golf logo Amiga Computing Gamer Gold

MICROPROSE * £34.99 * 1/2 meg * Mouse * Out now

Golf games have been somewhat more available on the whole for the Amiga than the ST, especially with the recent release of PGA Tour Golf. This was a fine game but the conversion suffered because no changes were made to the 16-colour lo-res EGA graphics. The 32-colour med-res graphics of Microprose little clubwarmer certainly show up Electronic Arts' poorly presented, but highly playable game.

Suitable for the basic A500 machine, Microprose Golf offers, after loading, a menu of options that can be selected before you dive in the serious business of competition play. Options for past play include loading a previously saved round or a replay of that hole in one of the ninth.

There is also a demo of the play which is handy for beginners because it screens, in one broad sweep, the majority of the available features. You can also view your player's statistics (see later). However, for most beginners you will be well advised to play the driving range and the putting practice area.

Both of these areas have been well designed. The driving range offers alternate strips of fairway and trees - daring you to hit your shot 'straight down the middle', as one crooner described it. In addition to the directional guidance you are offered help with distance as the major distance landmarks are scribed onto the fairway (100, 200, etc).

The putting practice area is just as good. The view for he shot can be changed, the speed of the green can be altered and a grid system can be overlaid to help you observe precisely how the ball is moving after your shot.

After your practice sessions have been completed you can select one of many different types of competition. Microprose should be congratulated for the wide choice (a pat on the back is in the post, Paul - Sarcasm Ed).

Medal is a competition for points using a score card. Points are awarded for each hole - the lowest score wins. Skins is a competition for money. An amount of money is allocated to each hole before the round is played and the player who completed the hole with the least number of strokes wins the cash. If there is a draw then the cash is carried on to the next hole, and then the next until the total amount is won. Head To Head is you against the computer, playing for points. Tournament allows you to play with up to four human players for points. In Singles you play for the number of holes won overall. Bestball 3 and Bestball 4 is a competition for points. However, here the match is you or you and a friend against two opponents with one ball each.

Threesome and Foursame is (deep breath) either two players against yourself or two against two with either two balls for two teams each taking alternate shots or two balls each with the best score on each team counting for the final card. Finally Threeball and Fourball is a competition of three or four individual sides who play for points. In just about all of the above, you can toggle whether a computer or a human player takes part.

Once you have selected the competition you must allocate the skill level. Novice players get things easy while a player with a handicap must suffer all of the vagaries of play (wind speed and varying direction).

It is nice to see a proper handicap system in a golf game. It means that you will be "given" a number of shots that will be subtracted from your final score. The better you do, the lower your handicap becomes. Your player statistics can, therefore, be saved to a separate data disk.

It is pleasing to watch how your player improves - or otherwise - over time and competition. A close eye can be kept on your player's statistics from the main menu View Stats option. Here you can see your player's performance via a large bar graph pls statistics such as average score, average putts holed, number of birdies scored and so on.

There is a wide selection of courses to choose from. Deep breath, Bally-brook, Farthing Valley, St Augustine, Fairdale Park, Fenham Valley, Buckland Heath and Mountsummer Point.

There is a welcome wide selection of variables that you can change before the shot is made, such as varying the foot positions, the height of the tee and the club selection. Other variables include a wide variety of camera viewpoints and an instant replay.

Playing a fairway shot has been well implemented. The game penalises you for a strong shot. Therefore, it is more difficult to hit a straight shot the harder you hit. Basically, you click to initiate the shot, click again to stop the "strength" meter, then click again to try to land in the "straight" zone (which will shrink the harder the shot). Failure to find the "straight" zone will mean a hooker or sliced shot.

For putting, just click to initiate the putt, wait to increase the shot's power and click again to stop the strength meter. This section of the game is a little unusual from others in that the distance you can hit is not explicitly displayed onscreen.

On the fairway you have to quite to the club selection screen and gauge from that how far you go around the strength meter. It might sound strange but this is the nearest simulation to asking your caddy to give you details of the hole.

Putting is even more bizarre - across the bottom of the screen is a thermometer gauge. The line which bisects it is the ideal strength for a straight flat putt into the hole from wherever you are. It is up to you to work out whether you need less for a downhill putt or more for an uphill putt. The static screen graphics make the most of the 32 colours, and as the camera tracks the ball, the smooth way in which the course rotates is reminiscent of the Konami Golfing Greats coin-op, which included more custom chips than you could shake a salt sachet at.

Microprose Golf has many advantages. One excellent feature is the design of the topgraphy which is nicely contoured and contains all of the essential obstructions including water, sand and trees. Even better, this allows the ball to react to the contours. For example, the ball can "kick", if it finds the right spot on the fairway, Other nice features are the ability to change the distance measurements from metres to yards and the colour of the player's jersey.

There are niggles, though. You do not see tournament computer player updates, such as in PGA Tour Golf, which has a commentator updating the play. You always have to exit to the scoreboard to find out where you are relative to the competition.

There are many excellent features to Microprose Golf which has, on the whole, been expertly designed. Possibly the best golf game you'll find on the Amiga, it is definitely the best looking and my personal preference is for this against PGA.


MicroProse Golf logo

Bruce Forsythe does it, Tarby does it, even Nigel Mansell does it. Now MicroProse are trying their hand at golf, but are the technowarheads going to score a birdy or a bogey...

MicroProse are now ruling the warring world with their awesome array of simulated firepower - Stealth Fighters, M1 tanks, Apache Gunships and F-15s. Their latest simulation is different though, as it's possible for most of us to check its accuracy. None of us will fly an F-117a, but we can all nip down to the local pitch-and-putt for a round of golf. MicroProse's reality reputation is on the line; do they make the par?

Eagle

True to form the software cubists have created their golfing world from polygons, just like their flight and fight sims. This visual step is initially hard to come to terms with, but it gives it an individual edge. The obvious mix of polygon greens, vector graphic bunkers and sprite players takes golf from the world of games and into the realm of simulations.

The sport is simple in concept - stand in a field, hit a small hard ball with a stick towards a little hole - but total control of the club, stance and swing is really needed if you are to be able to play well. Simulated golf has to exhibit a similar skill progression structure, so experienced players perform far better, but also be easy enough to allow beginners to tee off painlessly.

Control is the key to MicroProse Golf's success. The system it uses is flexible enough to allow trick shots but demanding enough to test an expert's accuracy. A single mouse click initiates the swing, and its height is traced in a circular arc behind the player. Another click stops the upswing and starts the down stroke, which traces a second arc as the club approaches the ball. It's at this point that MicroProse Golf differs from the norm.

The swing, stance, club choice and the lie of the ball all affect the timing for the vital third click which determines when the ball's actually 'hit'. This ideal moment is shown as a small highlighted area on the downstroke arc and the trickier the shot, the small this 'window of opportunity' becomes. Try to hit the shot harder or further and the window shrinks to a single pixel, play within the club's range and the window stays wide.

The flexibility of this stroke system is exquisite, giving players the ability to punch out, slice right and hook left if you need a Sevy-esque tweak to escape a bunker. You have total control of each shot because the exact parameters of a 'perfect' stroke are displayed and it's up to you to twist them to suit your own ends.

Once you're face-to-face with the flag then another break with golfing tradition becomes obvious. Golf games have been notorious for featuring uncalibrated putting power bars, so the skill lay in working out how the scale related to the distance. Golf tells you the ideal amount of power to put into every single putt, for a level green of medium pace.

The penalty for such help is that you never get a level, medium-paced, green, so adjustments have to be made for each hole. A subtle difference, this mechanism forces a shift of focus from reading a power bar to reading the greens.


MicroProse Golf is definitely top of the order of merit on the Amiga tour.

Birdie 2

Golf isn't just a sweet strokeplay sim. It squeezes every last drop of flexibility from both its 3D polygon environment and real world sport. Five spectacular camera angles allow each shot to be followed in true TV style. Each hole's horrors can be viewed with a zoom facility that races a camera down the fairway and straight to the hole, a stroke-by-stroke guide of where not to hit.

When you get to the green the player options really come into their own. To help you read a green for the slope and break, an overlaid grid is used to show up any irregularities in the putting surface. To check that the line breaks aren't just monitor tricks, you can view each putt from the side and behind the hole. These views give vital clues that only fools and the heavily handicapped dare ignore.

Good shots are rare birds - eagles or albatrosses! - so you always want to see them in replay, maybe even store them for posterity. Once again the player comes first and on hand at all times are replay facilities and 'save shot' options offered - so golden golfing moments can be saved forever. Quite who you'd show them to is another matter, but it's comforting to know they're there.

Par 4

Golf offers ultra-fine control for the players willing to read the huge manual. Stance can be altered to affect the outcome of a shot, the ball height on the tee is controllable as is the position of the tee itself. The wind gauge is easily read - unlike earlier golf games - thanks to the use of simple radar-style display and power bar. Both must be read and adjusted for if your shot is to end up on the correct fairway. These features combined with the elegant stroke system ensure the time spent on the driving range is time saved from the bunkers.

Golf isn't just about winning though, it's important but it is not the sole driving force. It's about improving your game, round after round. Using a system borrowed from its flight sims, MicroProse Golf introduces an escalating system of challenge and reward. The real thing thrives on handicaps, where lesser players are compensated with 'free strokes' to make matches fair. To emulate this a player can be saved to disk after a good round, which slowly lowers their handicap and makes the game tougher. Victories that rely on 'free' shots seem hollow once your handicap fails.

Double bogey

MicroProse's sim isn't fast, it's played at a steady stroll. Each shot takes a few seconds to line up and there are brief pauses while the screen is redrawn after a change of angle. In the old world of computer golf pauses were common, here they are brief by comparison.

The weakest part of the game is no doubt its sound. Golf the sport is not noted for its dynamic noise, but only the swing sounds good here. The ball dropping into the hole is just a dull plop - still a welcome sound on a tricky green - while hitting sand or water is as disappointing as it is disastrous. Such sound problems are a slight handicap, but they don't ruin Golf's card.

Here you have on offer everything that a budding tee merchant could wish for. There's a bag full of clubs, six different courses too and a variety of matches to choose from, but only one skill level - yours! Golf easily makes the grade in the options department but it is its balance of playability and accuracy that make it an albatross all the way.

MicroProse Golf is top of the order of merit on the Amiga tour. Its strong simulation roots allow it to borrow gameplay tricks direct from its source sport. It fleshes out every facet of the game from stance, through to club selection and shot choice. Folks seeking a few quick holes, can play on novice level unhindered by the wind or handicap. Serious green stalkers can take the time to scour the manual for cues on how to improve their swing.

MicroProse Golf is a simulation, not a game, so those who stick with the program will gain most from it - there's enough gameplay here to keep even Messers Faldo and Woosnam clicking for months! The 19th hole was always considered to be the golf club bar, but with MicroProse Golf doing the rounds it could well now be df0.


TAKING THE CADDY' OUT FOR A DRIVE
MicroProse Golf: Main Menu icon Confused and beaten golfers can return to the main menu at any time.
MicroProse Golf: Camera icon Camera angle - Brings up the camera-selection screen.
MicroProse Golf: Wind Direction icon Wind direction - The golfer's in the centre and the wind blows away from them.
MicroProse Golf: Wind Strength icon Wind strength gauge - The more red the more wind!
MicroProse Golf: Rotate Player icon Rotate player.
MicroProse Golf: Flag icon Flag position.
MicroProse Golf: Direction icon Player's direction.
MicroProse Golf: Return to Map icon Return to map view.
MicroProse Golf: Zoom icon Zoom down the course with this facility. It starts a rollercoaster ride straight to the flag.
MicroProse Golf: Tee Position icon Set tee position, at the start of a hole.
MicroProse Golf: Proceed Shot icon Proceed with shot.
MicroProse Golf: Select Club icon Open club selection screen.
MicroProse Golf: Adjust Footing icon Adjust footing. This is particularly important when in the rough.
MicroProse Golf: icon With the player removed the swing-o-meter is easily understood. The dotted line shows the potential 'controlled' swing while the blue-and-white line traces the downstroke. The white area shows the ideal time to hit the ball on the down-swing. Click NOW!
PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT - OR AT LEAST LEVEL PAR
MicroProse Golf: Driving Range
When you're doing well, but you're not doing great it's not time to call in the DTI but time to practice. As MicroProse Golf is more a simulation than a straight game, it really pays to spend some time on the driving range exploring every angle of play from the swing to stance. Both a driving range and a putting green offered by the MicroProse club house. Extensive use of both is highly recommended.
01. Clicking on the fairway sets your folger's aim. The yardage and flightpath of the ball show if the shot will clear any hazards.
02. Proceed to tee - This icon always moves you on to the next screen or shot.
03. Tee choice - Players can choose the height of the tee and its position.
04. Adjust stance - Particularly important when you're in bunkers or trouble.
05. Wind direction - The radar-style scope shows where the wind's coming from.
05. Choose club - The computer doesn't always pick the best stick, so check!
07. Wind power - No not Viz style, this shows the wind's strength.
08. Return to main menu - if you've had enough, or want to start another game.
09. Flip course - If you're unsure about a shot check it out from another view.

MicroProse Golf logo

Frage: braucht die Welt eigentlich wirklich noch ein weiteres Golfprogramm? Antwort: Warum nicht? Frage: Braucht die Welt dieses Golfprogramm? Antwort: warum nicht?

Denn besonders grafisch weiß Microprose Golf zu beeindrucken: Es sind satte sechs Plätze vorhanden, wo vom Tee bis zur Fahne jeder Schlag in aufwendigem 3D präsentiert wird. Auch Optionen gibt es im Überfluß, beispielsweise elf verschiedene Spielmodi (Strokeplay, Matchplay, Turnier, Üben...), es können bis zu vier Golfer mitmachen, wovon der Computer maximal drei übernimmt. Wie im wirklichen Leben hat man ein Handicap, für jeden Teilnehmer gibt es ausführliche Statistiken, die sich ebenso auf Disk speichern lassen wie besonders gelungene Schläge.

Vor dem Abschlag wird das Loch in der Übersicht gezeigt, dann kommen die üblichen Einstellungen, also Richtung und Stärke des Schlages, Spielerhaltung, etc. Außergewöhnlich ist dabei die Screenanzeige: statt des typischen "Fieberthermometers" zeigt eine Kreislinie um das Spieler-Sprite herum die gewählte Schlagstärke an. Anschließend kann man dabei zuschauen, wie der Ball durch die Luft fliegt, und zwar aus allen möglichen Perspektiven - darunter sogar eine, bei der die Kugel scheinbar von einer Kamera verfolgt wird.

Sound und Steuerung sind insgesamt tadellos, und die Polygongrafiken sehr gelungen, wenn auch vielleicht nicht jedermanns Geschmack. Dank der zahlreichen und teilweise neuen Features ist Microprose Golf also bestimmt keine schlechte Wahl, nur hat "PGA Tour Golf" halt immer noch das etwas bessere Handicap... (Kate Dixon)


MicroProse Golf logo

A few 'honourable' exceptions aside, there's no such thing as a bad Amiga golf game, just differing degrees of 'very good'. Could this be the 'very goodest' yet?

In many way, and more so than with most other sports, computer golf is the very antithesis of the real thing. Golf is all about getting out into the fresh air, having a leisurely stroll along the course with a chum or two, and socialising convivially in the clubhouse afterwards. It doesn't really matter how good you are, for the average hacker the playing of the game is its own reward. (Contrast this with something like Kick Off, where the ordinary gamer has neither the talent nor the opportunity - who's ever got 21 friends all in the mood for a quick kickabout at the same time? - to seriously pursue the real thing, and hence looks to the computer game to give him a flavour of something he'll never experience for real).

To play it by yourself in a dark and clammy bedroom, then, is a pretty strange thing for anyone to want to do. Still, it's always a popular theme for programmers, which leads me to believe that it's not the fact that a computer game is a simulation of golf per se that's important, but that there's something inherently attractive about the basic concept that real golf was developed from in the first place. I'd have thought that this would make total accuracy of simulation the last things which was really important in a computer golf game (when are we going to see a future sport game based on the pitch 'n' putt principle? Death Golf, with exploding balls, mines in the rough and snipers in the trees, maybe? Now that'd be interesting), but nonetheless (surprise!) that's what MicroProse have gone for here, so all that remains to be seen is how good a job they've made of it.


For all my nitpicking it's still a highly enjoyable golf sim

FIRST AND FOREMOST

The first thing you're going to notice when you play MicroProse Golf (hell of a title, guys), is the stunningly 3D effect. The courses are depicted in vector-graphic contours, and as the ball flies through the air, a camera tracks its progress past rolling hills, across lakes and streams and through clumps of trees in an extremely effective manner (indeed several cameras do, as you can view a shot from any one of five moving angles).

It's an impressive thing to witness, but unfortunately the programmers have gotten slightly carried away with it and over-stretched themselves. What I mean by that rather cruel-sounding comment is that when your golfer stands at the tee or wherever, you see a lovely and reasonably detailed panoramic view of the hole ahead as far the eye can see, but when he goes to actually hit the ball, all but the close foreground is suddenly blanked out by a cloak of light blue. The effect is rather unsettling, as if a particularly thick golf has descended without warning on the course, and it gives you an unwelcome reminder of the limitations of the machine (in much the same was as 'Loading And Decrunching Level Two' messages spoil the atmosphere and flow of many an arcade game).

Now you can say that's unavoidable and forgivable - some people in the office are arguing that angle even as I type - but I don't agree. When I'm playing a computer game, I want to feel that I'm lost in whatever little world I've entered, and the last thing I want to see is the machine's little cogs and wheels grinding in front of me and dragging everything back to Earth. If the machine isn't up to what you're trying to do, you should forget about it and concentrate on making it perform to ultimate standard that is within its capabilities. In such a way are all the best games written - it's why Rainbow Islands is brilliant (partly, anyway) and why Dragon's Lair is trash.

PICKING MORE HOLES

There are a few other areas of the game which seem to have been neglected in favour of the spanky graphics, too. For one, the ball-hitting mechanism, while perfectly serviceable, is a touch over-fussy for my liking. The circular bar are unnatural, and the moving line is too thick for the pixel precision needed for some of the trickier shots you'll be called on to play.

Also, the aiming system used on the course map is needlessly confusing and unhelpful - imposing an arc on a forced-3D perspective makes it extremely difficult to know exactly where your ball is hopefully going. (The manual only muddies matters further here with lots of unnecessary waffle about bouncing and rolling and 'optimum' and 'maximum' distances).

It's a pain in the neck, too, to have to keep going back to the map screen when you just want to change your club. In a game drowning in icons, having such a complicated route to one of the simplest tasks seems a little absurd.

In addition, the slopes on some of the greens are a little intangible. Having overlaid the grid lines on the green which seem to show it as flat, it's very disconcerting to watch your ball shoot off six yard to the left of the hole. And finally, the game does so much of the work for you (selecting clubs, aiming at the hole etc), that something the player can feel that he's not exerting much real control over the proceedings.

In fact, after a while, it can seem that all you're actually doing is performing a quick reaction test when taking the shot, and it's the computer that's really doing all the actual golfing!


There are a few other areas of the game which seem to have been neglected in favour of the spanky graphics

BUT WAIT...

Hang on, though. You might not think it, But I like this game. For all my nitpicking it's still a highly enjoyable golf sim, and the accuracy and depth of options (well, they are MicroProse's strong points) are both painstakingly comprehensive. While it's not quite as gloriously playable or as slickly presented as Electronic Arts' PGA Tour Golf, MicroProse Golf still has a great game lurking beneath the stunning aesthetics. Many people will buy it purely out of technolust, but once they'll be getting a decent amount of play after the initial thrill's worn off, and that shouldn't be sneered at. Computer golf has always done well, and if it's what you want you'll have no real complaints about this at all. Having said that though, I'd really like to see what golf is like on the Amiga in two years' time.


PLAYING AROUND
One of the strengths of this game is the amount of variety available. However many chums you've got round and however good (or otherwise) they are, you'll find a game style to suit all occasions..
01 MEDAL (or STROKEPLAY)
This is the standard game for one to four players. You play each of the eighteen holes in turn, and the player with the lowest total score at the end is the winner.
02 SKINS
This is a matchplay game, where each hole is played as an individual context. In Skins, though, you play for money, with a set stake being entered at the start. The first six holes are then each worth that amount of money, the second six are placed for twice the stake, and the final six each net three times the original amount.
03 HEAD-TO-HEAD
Once you've get down to a zero handicap, you can challenge a computer player directly in an 18-hole strokeplay or matchplay contest. If you win you get to take on a more talented opponent.
04 TOURNAMENT
Tournaments are strokeplay games played by pairs (if you're playing by yourself you get a computer partner). There are three levels of competition, taking place over 18, 36 or 72 holes depending on your skill level.
05 SINGLES
A straight two-player matchplay contest, the player winning the most holes being the victor, irrespective of total scores.
06 THREEBALL
18 holes, matchplay for three players, Threeball is actually three games at once, with each player competing against each of the other two.
07 FOURBALL
Fourball features four players each playing their own ball (strokeplay or matchplay), but with scoring by partnerships, i.e. the lowest scores in each pair are marked against each other. In this way players can cover up for each other's mistakes.
08 BESTBALL THREE
This is a curious matchplay game, where three players play in a one-against-two format, with the lower score of the partnership marked against the single player's score for each hole.
09 BESTBALL FOUR
Similar to Bestball Three, but this time the single player is competing against a team of three, using the same scoring system.
10 THREESOME
This can be a strokeplay or matchplay game, where a single player challenges a partnership, but the partnership only actually play one ball, taking alternate shots.
11 FOURSOME
Like threesomes, except that two teams of two compete against each other, both partnerships alternating shots.
 
WHERE'S MY OTHER BUNKER?
MicroProse Golf: Main Menu icon Quit game.
MicroProse Golf: Camera icon Use this to alter camera angle before or after taking a shot.
MicroProse Golf: Wind Direction icon These icons show the strength and direction of the wind.
MicroProse Golf: Shirt Color Your strength bar - the level of the red shows how much energy you've (Stop lying! -Ed).
MicroProse Golf: Save to Disk icon This icon allows you to save any particularly impressive shots to disk.
MicroProse Golf: Proceed Shot icon Click on this to move to the next hole.
MicroProse Golf: Replay icon The replay icon - click here to see that great shot one more time.
MicroProse Golf: Close up This close up of the green appears whenever the ball gets within a few feet of the hole.

MicroProse Golf logo CU Amiga Super Star

Oscar Wilde said 'Golf is a good Sunday afternoon stroll - spoiled', and so, no doubt, it's those people who prefer to sit at home on Sunday and take their Amiga for a brisk walk who will benefit most from MicroProse Golf.

Golf is not an easy game for beginners. Yet everything about this game seems so example, from its humble beginnings, to the supposed ease with which one can hit a small ball with a large metal stick towards a small flag.

MicroProse are famous for their simulations and comprehensive documentation, detail and realism, so it's easy to understand why MicroProse Golf has so many options available.

A simple point-and-click system takes you through a maze of options which make the game look anything but simple. Fortunately, the programming team of Lee Hodgson and Mark Davies have included a 'Quickstart Tutorial' option that pts you on one of the six courses, ready to tee off.

Once you've gone through the setup and become familiar with the controls, you'll soon understand why the game is so magnificent.

The options allow up to four players, with computer-controlled contestants if needed, to play a full 18, 36 or 72 holes, with full 3D effects.

The game is progressive and easy to follow once initiated and holds your attention at all points. The level of control that you have over both the golf club and the golfer are exact in their realism and add to a level of playability that is only equalled by the excellent PGA Tour Golf, but without the constant disk swapping.

Graphics, too, are excellent, with the five option camera mode allowing you to view the path of the ball from a variety of angles - you can even include a pan shot which moves the whole 3D world around upon itself - all of which happens with a speed and fluidity of movement that would put Steven Spielberg to shame.

Sound is the only poor point in the whole game. The sound effects, whilst adequate, add very little to the atmosphere, add very little to the atmosphere, the game relying heavily upon its phenomenal playability to draw the player in.

MicroProse Golf is a classic. It remains so because the game is as complete as it could be without you actually getting out there yourself and spoiling that Sunday afternoon stroll.

If you play Golf, it's a must. If you don't, then after just a few rounds on the Amiga, you'll be making enquiries down at the local club - and, whatever the outcome, Sunday afternoons will never be the same again.


THE SWING Easily the most difficult to master, the actual hitting of the ball involves making three separate mouse clicks which determine the power and the accuracy of the shot. It sounds easy enough but it's within the split-second timing of these clicks that the real skill and playability of the game is unleashed.

For a straight, no frills shot, you must click the mouse button when the swing is returning and in the white zone which always emanates from directly underneath the ball. The size of the white space is determined by how hard you are hitting the ball and waht club you have selected.

To shoot from the tee, once you've selected a club (if you don't like the automatic selection made for you by the computer caddy), you simply hit the proceed icon and the backswing will begin to move clockwise towards the end of the circular scale. A second click will stop the backswing and send the club heading towards the ball, and the swing-meter anti-clockwise. Your third click will determine how well the ball is hit. If you're in the white zone then your shot will be perfect, allowing only for wind direction and your foot position. Any deviation to the left or right of this point will result in a hook to the left or a slice to the right.

POINTS OF VIEW
The isometric view lets you see where you are aiming and where the green is in relation to where your ball lies.

You can change clubs on this screen by selecting the club icon and see immediately the different effect each club has on your range. A curved, dotted white line is shown and you can click on any part of the course to get a read out of the distance from the ball to the select spot.

You can even turn the view through successive 90 degrees by clicking on the curved arrow in the top right-hand corner.

TEEING OFF There has always been something strange and mysterious about golf, not least of all its origins seem to be buried more deeply than a badly chipped ball that has gone mining in a bunker. Rumour has it that the game dates back to medieval times when shepherds passed their time by hitting small stones around the hills with their crooks.

Actual dates however, are cited in various ways. There is a stained glass window in Cloucester Cathedral, that dates back to 1350 and portrays a figure that resembles a golfer, whilst the Chinese Nationalist Golf Association claims that the game was originally called Ch'ui Wan (the ball-hitting game) and dates back to the 2nd or 3rd century B.C.

Whatever the origins of the game, in the computer world there will certainly be more agreement. Namely that MicroProse have written one of the best golf games currently on the market.