High altitude action in an...

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf logo

GRANDSLAM * £25.99 * 1 meg * Mouse * Out now

I've always fancied golf. Not literally - not to the point where I'd approach it in a nightclub dressed in me best gear and esquire as to the chances of a slow dance in a dark corner - but I fancy it, all the same.
It's the sheer lackadaisicality of it all that appeals to me - wandering around a few fields on a nice sunny day with a little trolley in tow, periodically delivering a hefty tubbing to a small defenceless object before moving on to the club house and discussing the price of leaded windows for conversatories over a few dry Martinis.

But other times golf scares me. Drive past a golf course on any given day in winter and you'll understand wy. The wind sounds like a tea kettle and the trees are bent over almost double. The rain - horizontal - lashes with such force that old ladies are separated from their teeths, and church spires are split in two by forked lightning.

Look at the course though, and what do you see? Puddles? Certainly - lakes even. Broken flagpoles? Yes... flying around everywhere. Desolation? No! No! The place is absolutely bloody packed!

Men, women, children! All dressed in waterproofs! All dragging their clubs! Through puddles. Over fallen trees. Each one determined to complete a round of golf regardless of the possible cost to personal health or safety. So addicted are they to their sport that nothing else matters as they chase that elusive handicap lowering score.

It is sad sights such as these which convince me that golf is a game played by obsessive maniacs, and my own prowess on the course would be best restricted to clicking a few buttons in the comfort of my own home - a view shared by many it would seem, as the popularity of the many golf sims over the last couple of years has proven.

In fact, with two truly excellent golfers in the shape of Microprose Golf and PGA Tour already firm armchair favourites, it seemed a strange decision by Grandslam - not, in all fairness, noted for their big name titles - to launch an attack down the back nine (that's golfing jargon, that is).

But launch one they did, and with a name the size of Nick Faldo backing them up, there's no doubting the seriousness of their challenge.

Let's stop and chat about the graphics for a while. They're smart. Not much of a chat that, was it? I'll elaborate then. For the first time on a non-PC golfing sim what we have is actually a very reasonable facsimile of a course, complete with blades of grass, beautifully detailed trees, sandy bunkers, a clubhouse that looks like a clubhouse - the lot.

In short, more - far, far more - than the usual "different shades of green and brown" approach adopted previously. But where Nick Faldo's Championship Golf really scores maximum points for presentation is in the sprite.

Yes, the sprite - old Nick himself, sporting an impressive array of tank tops, and basking in all his digitised glory. Such is the smoothness and realism that when a shot is taken it's as though you are watching a piece of video footage. Very impressive indeed, and on seeing this shortly after booting up I really began to look forward to playing what seemed like a real contender for top spot on the Fairway Hit Parade.

Gameplay is where it's at though - never more important in an affair such as this - so does NFCG hit a straight drive, or is it a bag of balls?
Nobody's perfect, not even the master himself, so the best thing to do straight from the off is to have a bit of a practice. The coaching section is very comprehensive indeed. It needs to be - after all, you're posing as Nick Faldo, and it just wouldn't do to go flubbing and whiffing your way around the course would it? Not good for the image, you see.

In a practice session you have the option of tuning up your putting, bunker play, and several other potentially problematic areas. As with the other sections, each situation is presented by Nick, and additional information and advice can be gained at the click of a button.

When you're happy with your prowess it's time to shoot a round for real. Up to four players can take part in either stroke play (the person with the lowest overall score after one full round is the winner) or match play (completing hole by hole).

If you have a bad case of BO and are consequently friendless, don't slit your wrists just yet, because there is the choice of competing against computer opponents, or indeed playing on your own. The eight compo opponents range from the dodgy Davey Divot to Nick Faldo - not a bad guy to have on your side in the matchplay mode!

One disappointment is that there's only a choice of two course, as opposed to the four and six in PG and Microprose respectively. We are given a choice of three seasons in which to play, though - summer, spring and winter - which with their varying wind and ground conditions, compensate somewhat. OK then, I can see you're impatient - let's have a round.

Presentation during a round is, again, spot on. Two "pop-up" type menus appear from either side, showing everything from the course map and wind conditions to the lie of your ball and club selection. These are something of an innovation - far more effective than previous methods.

ONe thing I haven't mentioned yet - and it is quite a drawback - is the control method of the swingometer-thing. For some bizarre reason the programmers have implemented a 'double-click' power bar, and by the left, it's a bugger to get to grips with!

Once you've selected your club and aimed (perspective can be changed by clicking left or right on the relevant arrows - another innovation), the power bar appears, sporting two shaded sections.
The first - tiny - section is for wrist snap, adding a few extra yards to a successful shot, and is advisable for experienced players only.
The second, all-important shaded bit is the accuracy point, and in order to carry out a true shot, the erstwhile golfer needs to click twice within the confines of this miniscule portion. An error to either side results in excess hook or fade, and near certain trek into the rough.

Sizes of his accuracy point vary, dependent upon club chosen, percentage power, and whether or not the player is in professional or amateur mode.
This method was apparently decided upon to add realism, and I guess it succeeds, since anyone who's tried first first time to drive straight down the fairway will know it isn't very likely. The realism factor is carried throughout the game; for instance, when in heavy rough, nothing but a very low iron or pitching wedge will see the ball safely back onto the fairway - unlike in other games perhaps, where a 100-yarder could be achieved even from the sand.

Also, the more success you enjoy with a particular club, the longer the accuracy point gets, allowing you to "improve" as you would with practice in the real thing.
Putting is easier to come to germs with - simplistic green contours appear when aiming for the hole, and a much simpler power bar comes into operation.

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf was always going to have to do a hell of a lot to become the best in its genre. It nearly does enough. The graphics are amazing, and new features as mentioned (plus the option t choose your own caddy, and drop him/her at will) make for a very enjoyable experience indeed.

The realism is undisputed - as a realistic golfing experience it can't be bettered - but there are a couple of quirks. Although the accuracy point does grow with success, it actually diminishes with the reverse, resulting in early frustrations.

When these are overcome, you'll be delighted, but the fact that they are there at all means that in my opinion it's a sudden death play-off for joint second place between NGCG and PGA Tour. Microprose is still tops - just - but check this out anyway, it's more than worth the money.


Nick Faldo's Championship Golf logo

Since the release of Leaderboard, software companies have been striving to produce the ultimate golf game. Have Grandslam managed a hole in one this time?

Once again, as the great tradition of Amiga golf games continues, we are invited to tread the fairways courtesy of Grandslam, the company responsible for games like Liverpool and England Football. Those titles weren't exactly God's gift to Amiga games, so it came as a surprise to find that Golf is pretty good. In fact, it's very good.

Does it give good golf?
So, after PGA Tour Golf and Links, what can Grandslam come up with? The answer is a happy medium. Links is slow, but hardened golfers will play it for realism. PGA Tour is faster, but the graphics aren't great - still workable, but not stunning.

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf is fast and good-looking, although the graphics aren't as good as those in Links. Presentation is polished, with plenty of options available via the options screens. These make good use of colour and bas-relief (metallic 3-D effect) and are easy to use.

When playing the full game, there are two courses to choose from, which may be played using stroke or match-play rules. Space is provided for up to eight human players' names, while eight computer opponents are provided with varying skill levels. You can choose up to four of the 16 players to do the rounds.

Let's play a round
After player selections comes the club selection screen. Each human player must select a number of clubs (up to 13) from those available. A nice touch here is the skill meter next to each club, which shows how good a player is with that club.

Although the levels are set randomly at first, they move depending on the player's skill - so if you play well with a 1-iron, the level will gradually rise for 1-iron as each shot is played. These player attributes may be saved along with other match data.

The first thing that hits you is the slick way everything fits together. The screens are easy on the eye - which is good because you don't have to look far to view the map, find your current ie, or any other information.

Once on the first tee, you will notice two shaded bars on the right and left-hand sides of the screen. Moving the pointer into these will bring up the menus. The first is the club selector, where you choose the club you want for your next shot; the second is a small map of the current hole, and all relevant positions of obstacles. Also, you can view the current lie of the ball, and the wind strength and direction.

Depending on the shot, you can adjust your stance to open or closed. This will help you get more swerve on the ball, or get underneath it for a chip shot. Taking the shot is simple to understand, but difficult to master.


Faldo's presentation beats all other Amiga golf games

If you selected Amateur play, not only are the clubs easier to use, but after each shot you are given the option of taking the shot again (Mulligan), or moving to the new ball positions. This is great for beginners, because you can practice a difficult shot until you get it right.

Having mentioned the uppers, let's look at the downers - but they're only niggly criticisms. The first is that you can't quit from the options screens, so if you make a wrong selection - such as choosing one player instead of two - you have to choose your clubs and go into the game before pressing Escape to return to the original options.

After you've zipped through the options and had a knock-around, you will probably turn to the training mode. This gives you a selection of shots to practice. As you successfully complete each shot you're presented with another, more difficult version - and Nick Faldo himself (well, a crude representation of his head) talks you through.

Although the trainer idea is good, there is one flaw. While Nick explains what you must do to complete the shot, he doesn't actually advise you on your mistakes. In the putting section, if you miss the hole, he says "Work your shoulders more". Now this doesn't really mean anything for two reasons: one, Nick offers his reply regardless of the direction or strength of your shot, and two, you have no option to "work your shoulders more" anyway.

This applies to the other training modes. A better idea would have been to store a few more phrases which could be used to actually help a player who has made a simple error, such as not correcting his stance or choosing the wrong club.

Finally, the gameplay is limited in that you can't look ahead to the position of your ball, so when you've made your shot you don't really know if it's good or not. This is an oversight, because it would have been simple to display the ball's position on the map.

Faldo, though, is both fun and playable. It's highly competent compared to other top Amiga golf games, it beats them as far as presentation is concerned and it has an excellent multi-player option. Playing a round with your friends has never been more addictive.


TAKE YOUR SHOT HERE...

When hitting the ball, the white bar travels from left to right. Click once in the wrist snap area to add 10 per cent power to your shot, then double-click in the shot area to hit the ball straight.

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf
  1. Wrist snap area
  2. Shot area

IF YOU FIND YOURSELF A BIT TEED OFF...

...simply read through these details to find out how to play.

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf
  1. When you move the mouse over this bar, the extra options pop out.
  2. Select your club by clicking on one of these icons.
  3. Your skill with the selected club is shown by this bar.
  4. Click on either of these arrows to alter your direction by a few degrees.
  5. The current lie of your golf ball.
  6. This is the overall wind direction.
  7. A map of each hole is displayed here, with the wind directions.
  8. Alter the strength of your next shot.
  9. Adjust your stance and the spin of your shot.
  10. Blue lines show the width of the actual screen.

Grüner wird's nicht?

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!

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)



Nick Faldo's Championship Golf logo

Grandslam would like to offer you a round or two with Europe's top golfer.

My knowledge of golf, I'm afraid to say, stretches to pitch and putt, crazy golf at the seaside and watching the odd game on BBC2 when there's nothing on the other side. For me its most disgusting feature is that it's the only game in which you'll see Jimmy Tarbuck pitted competitively against Sean Connery. Surreal. And surely the weirdest job in the world is commentating on it for TV. "He's approaching the ball now - he's hit it... what a glorious shot." Yeah, right.

So what's its appeal? It's obviously a very relaxing game, because you never have to run or anything. You just kind of stroll around these, er, fields trying to find some ball you hit about twenty minutes ago.

There's always some caddy with you to chat to, and the professionals don't even have to walk, they get driven around. And what about those clothes? Golf has to be largely responsible for some of the most hideous fashions ever to have graced this planet - you know the shoes with the tassles on, the Argyle tank tops - ugh.

And when it finally reaches what might be loosely called a climax, everyone huddles around the green while the player makes his shortest and softest shot of the game. Hardly a powerful ending.

None of this sounds like the perfect choice for a sport sim, does it? Even so, here's another golf game for you. It's already got some stiff competition from PGA Tour Golf and MicroProse Golf. Is it up the challenge?
There are a number of things that immediately have to be considered when creating a video version of golf, the most obvious being: how is the control system going to work? Nick Faldo's Golf goes for an excellent system that feels very natural and easy to get used to.

AFORE YE GO
Before you take your shot you check where you are on the course using the snap-on menus - simply move the pointer to the right hand edge of the screen and the menu appears there. This tells you where you are on the course, how the ball's lying (i.e. resting on top of the grass, buried in the rough or whatever) and the direction the wind's blowing. At the top of the screen you're given the distance to the hole in yards.

Bearing all this in mind you choose the appropriate club from the other snap-on menu to the left of the screen. The game puts you on a perspective to face the hole, but you can change this by using the arrows at the top of the screen.

At the bottom of the screen you have icons for altering your stance (closed, open or normal), backspin and top spin control and a bar display for you to determine how hard you're going to hit the thing. The manual very helpfully gives you a guide to the usual clubs required to hit a ball at certain distances, which is handy if, like me, you don't even know what a five iron looks like.

There's a little white cross on the screen which you place with the mouse to indicate the direction you wish to hit the ball. Finally, you move the cursor to the feet of the player sprite and click once. A bar appears on the screen and a level indicator moves through the bar.


It's such a dream to play

There are two zones on the bar, one for the wrist snap and the other for the swing itself. In the wrist snap zone you have to click one as the bar passes through it to add an extra 10% power to your shot. This is best not attempted until you get the hang of the control system. The next zone is larger and requires a double click, after the second of which your man takes his shot. If you put one of the clicks either side of the zone you get a hook or a slice.

Now I know what you're thinking, that it all sounds very complicated and tiresome, but this definitely isn't the case. It all becomes second nature very quickly, and although it take s a little time to play any really good shots you'll soon be competent and ready to start improving your game. And there're some neat extras in the game to help you improve without having to embarrass yourself with a 39 on a par 4.

First off there's the coaching mode. Here you get some fab tips from Nick Faldo himself and also get a chance to try some really tricky situations which you'll encounter in a real game, like bunker play, water hazard, putting and windy conditions. You can click on the picture of smiling Nick to get some advice on what club to use, how to approach the shot etc.

It's worth starting in amateur mode, because not only is it easier (you get a bigger zone to double-click in when taking a shot), but you also get a Mulligan option, which lets you take the shot again if it was crap. Very handy.

You can play two types of game, stroke play or match play. There can be up to four players, either human or computer, and on the computer side there are eight opponents, from the less-than-average Davey Divot to the superlative and eponymous Nick Faldo.

You can choose between one of the two courses, which are designed using professional course design techniques (it says here), and the season you want to play in. All this gives a good deal of variety to the game.

Oh dear, I've been wibbling on about how you play it and how it works, and I don't think I've really made it clear how good the game is. It's such a dream to play - the control system feels natural, the graphics are lush and it's fast, with no long screen re-draws to sit through. It succeeds in being not only an accurate simulation of the game, but also a lot of fun eve if you've only ever driven past a golf club.

It'll last a long time too - once you've mastered the control system in amateur mode, you've still got the professional mode, and the wrist snap won't be possible until you've advanced a little in the game. Even then there are all sorts of variations to try - like playing in different weather conditions.
A great game, highly recommended.


LIES, DAMNED LIES

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf
Tee shots are simple - whack it as hard as you can in the right direction.

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf
On the fairway is fine. No problem with this one.

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf
In the longer grass might require a high iron to lift it out.

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf
In rough terrain you'll need a high iron or a pitching wedge.

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf
You'll have to use your sand wedge to get out of those nasty bunkers.

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf
A plugged ball. An utter pig to get out, I'm afraid.



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.

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.

BEND YOUR KNEES
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.

HIT THE BALL
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.

LOOKS GOOD
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.


WHO IS THIS NICK FALDO CHAP ANYWAY?

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.

A1200 VERSION

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.



Nick Faldo's Golf CD32 logo CD32

Grandslam 081-680 7044 * £34.99 * Out now

Nick Faldo's Championship Golf is the first golf simulation to appear for the CD32. Two courses together with three seasonal conditions give you six different playing options, but I'd liked to have seen a couple more courses, though, particularly when you consider the hefty price.

Up to four can play, or you can take on a computer player (Nick Faldo's a bit tasty). The well received floppy version first appeared over a year ago and it's been spruced up for the CD32. Graphically, it's much improved, as is the control method which is now both easier to get the hang of and more effective. It's certainly one of the prettiest golf games on any format but jat a tad dear at £35.



Nick Faldo's Golf CD32 logo CD32

Nobelsportler dürfen im Clubhaus ein Faß Champagner aufmachen, denn dies ist das erste Golfgame auf Schillerscheibe! Dem Anlaß entsprechend hat man bei Grandslam den Oldie denn auch kräftig aufgemotzt: Die gefällige Musik tönt nun direkt von CD, der Caddie gibt Kommentare in glasklarer Sprachausgabe, und die Grafik glänzt mit 256 Farben und erstaunlich lebensecht wirkenden Animationen.

Damit nicht genug, auch die anno Disk nicht immer überzeugende Handhabung wurde verbessert - am Parcours kommt kan mit dem Joypad (auf Wunsch auch mit der Maus) prächtig zurecht, einzig das Putten ist wegen der grobmaschigen Gitternetzes etwas gewöhnungsbedürftig.

Ansonsten darf man sich auf die gewohnten Features freuen, sprich, die Teilnahme von bis zu vier Spielern an verschiedenen Turnier- und Strokeplay-Modi, Trainings-option und unterschiedliche Wind- und Wetterverhältnisse.

Daß sich der CD-Faldo mit nur zwei Golfplätzen begnügen muß, drückt zwar ein wenig auf die Motivation, doch zählt dieses Spiel dennoch (nicht zuletzt wegen der fehlenden Konkurrenz) zu den Highlights am CD32. Anders gesagt: 80 Prozent.



Nick Faldo's Golf CD32 logo CD32

Grandslam, £34.99

This is another title that's actually been fiddled around with a fair bit before being stuck on CD32, and there wasn't a whole lot wrong with it in the first place. Probably the AP team's favourite golf sim (88%, surprisingly far back in issue 22), CD32 Nick Faldo's had all the graphics redrawn to take advantage of the enhanced palette, resulting in some truly lush shades of green, and the sound's had some sampled caddies' speech added to it, to somewhat Russell-ish effect.

Most importantly, though, the control method's been changed from the rather demanding original style ot a system all but identical to PGA Tour Golf's. I'm not actually convinced that this is a good thing (what's so wrong with needing skill to be good at a game?), but it certainly simplifies matters.

Sadly though, the special 'Nick Faldo on Mars' course that was hidden in the original Amiga game has apparently been lost (Mr Faldo seemingly thinking it made him look a bit stupid, or something), which is a terrible shame. But that's life, eh?



Nick Faldo's Golf CD32 logo CD32

GRANDSLAM £34.99 OUT NOW

And 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!