Coverdisk aficionados will be familiar with World Golf after its jaunt into demo territory last month. Unfortunately familiarity breeds contempt and having initially been enthusiastic about the demo version I've come to the conclusion that World Golf should have strayed no further from its cover-mounted blue plastic.
It's all quite straightforward. You see, I was expecting something which not only differed from the demo but was also an improvement. Something which me to the joystick as though it were a magnet and I was a big fat chunk of steel and not (say) a sponge-cake.
After all, if it could happen with Tennis Champs, then why not World Golf? Perhaps it's because there is no Mental Software, or Audiogenic and consequently no Super prefix to World Golf. Or perhaps it's because its author Dave Kirk works under the PC-induced title Apex Systems, based in Rotherham. Whatever it is, the fairytale ending of Super Tennis Champs never really begins for World Golf.
By following the hard drive install instructions I'd hoped to eliminate the annoying wait between commands and holes apparent on the demo. And though our A1200 boasted a successful installation it quickly suffered a bout of shizophrenia and refused to load from Workbench.
So I'll never know if the teed-up golf ball and 'Loading' symbol appears if playing off the hard drive. What I do know is that prolonged playing results in the aforementioned symbol becoming emblazened on your eyelids. The upshot being that when I stepped outside the office last night I didn't notice the snowball heading for my face. Tch.
World Golf is a plethora of good ideas cobbled together by what one imagines to be one bloke, in his shed using his little brother's upgraded A500. Options exist to play in a four-player tournament, for money in the 2-player 'skins' mode or just practice.
You are then afforded the choice of five courses, three of which are in the UK - the other two remain unheard of - thus making a mockery of the international game title. I consider myself of average golfing ability and so ignored the other four levels of difficulty and then lazily activated the auto-caddy option.
Big fat chunk of steel
Then I designed my little golfing buddy to look like my own good self and hell, I even switched the ambience on. And those, readers, are the options.
You will not (for instance) discover an option which allows you to switch the computer-controlled players off. There isn't one because there are none. (The 64 fictitious players which appear in name-form only on the leaderboard barely compensates.) You'll struggle (say) to alter the ferocity of wind on the courses. There is no wind. A-ha-ha. A golf game without wind is equivalent to bangers without mash, fire without smoke and Tom without Jerry. It should never happen. Robbing golf of wind reduces the game to crazy golf at Minehead proportions. Only indoors. When it's closed.
After wading (ahem) through the options screen, you are ready to tee off. You'll note the name of the human player which now appears above the head of the minute golfer which, on the one hand, is a good thing because otherwise you could spend hours trying to find him - which, on the other, might be fun.
A quick glance at the information displayed on screen reveals (sensibly) the ball lie (whether it's on the fairway, in the light or heavy rough or trapped in a bunker), the hole, it's par and stroke about to be made and the number of yards left to the hole.
The overall score of each player is also noted next to your more than adequate set of clubs. Clicking on each club will reveal the distance which each is capable of hitting the ball. And all of this is good.
The ball has now doubled in size
What also impressed me is that the ball has now doubled in size, thus halting some hilariously frustrating scenes in the AP office when valuable time was spent controlling a speck of dust. Yet the auto-caddy continues to puzzle me. What a remarkable sense of humour he has: "Oh yes, you definitely want to use a seven iron for that."
Swoosh. Crash. Tinkle tinkle.
"Did I say a seven iron? I meant a putting wedge."
His method of selecting the clubs is based on the distance which the ball will travel with each club if hit with 100 per cent power. So if you are (for example) 105 yards from the hole you will be handed a putting wedge - capable of striking a ball 100 yards. And though it's difficult to see how much a simple device can go horribly wrong, it does. Frequently. Still, you can ignore his selecting of clubs but then that rather defeats the object doesn't it? Tsk.
Playing the game is actually quite pleasant. Not spine-tingingly exciting, just pleasant. There is the press-for-power-press-for-direction control method which PGA European Tour Golf and Sensible Golf also endorsed, some lakes, some raods, some trees and bunkers.
There is only one view from hich to play the game, preventing you from viewing the hole from the tee (though pushing down on the joystick and clicking will reveal the hole in its entirety) and a cursor which you point in the direction of, er, the hole. Get to the green and this is where the problems begin. (Heavens. - Ed.)
It's impossible to move the cursor any further than a set distance from the golfer. As a result, my golfing buddy frequently blocked my view which surely can't be right. Also, there is no indication to the lie of the green other than some light green arrows randomly spread in the guise of a pretty pattern. Putt successfully and you hear a plonk. Not (for instance) the round of applause usually generated on such occasions by the crowd. Hang on, there is no crowd.
Sadly, the World Golf I'd hoped to review is like the wallpaper border I've been trying to buy for my room. It exists, but only in my head. Nowhere else. I was expecting something entirely different and improved from the quirky PD-like AP58 coverdisk demo. When I played it, However, it was evident that World Golf is an extended PD-like demo and so bludgeoned my stupid optimistic brain with a steadfast reminder of reality. Thanks, if only for that.