AH, the great British holiday. Two weeks of well remembered pleasures and traditional delights at Dludgethorpe-
Long hours spent sheltering from gale force winds and driving rain, huddled for warmth around a cup of lukewarm Bovril; bone shaking rides on an evil tempered donkey around the Sludgethorpe Municipal Car Park; and above all else the activity without which no holiday would be complete, the countless rounds of crazy golf. No other British institution is capable of dividing families with such ruthless efficiency.
Dad, with his 15 handicap and a putting stroke as demonstrated by Sandy Faldo in Golf Monthly, spends 40 minutes trying to force his ball up a pig's bottom while six-year-
Memories are made of this.
Now you can recapture the thrills and excitement in the comfort of your own home. Zany Golf is as entertaining, offbeat and totally frustrating as the real thing - and more. From the opening screen with its superb graphics and music it is apparent that this game is a bit special.
The basic mechanics are simple. A round of Zany Golf consists of nine holes and can be played by one to four players. The mouse is your putter and is used to spot the cursor on top of the ball.
Holding down the left mouse button reveals an X under the cursor. Moving the mouse in any direction with the button held down produces a dotted white line that indicates the distance and angle of the putt.
The further you pull the mouse back, the harder your putt. Release the mouse button to play the shots.
Each hole must be completed within a specified number of shots, otherwise you're out for the rest of the round. The first hole is a par two, although you are allowed up to five putts. Any unused putts are added to the par for the following hole to determine your stroke allowance there, and so on.
From time to time bonus shots are available either for completing a hole within a time limit or for hitting a fairy with your ball. A score card can be viewed to keep track of your progress.
The holes themselves are colourful, superbly detailed and have been designed with a good deal of imagination and wit. Windmill, the first hole, is the one that is closes in design to those found in real life.
You putt up a slope and past the mill's revolving blades in order to send your ball on to the lower half of the hole. From here on in it gets progressively more surreal.
On the second hole, Burger Bar, you have to putt round a U-shaped track by bouncing your ball off a large bottle of ketchup into a hole protected by a giant, bouncing quarter-pounder.
Ant Hill finds you trying to knock your ball into a hole that is situated on the plateau of a pyramid shaped hill. Just to make it more difficult, the hole is moving.
Energy, the final hole, is a lulu, a sombre mechanistic landscape, criss-crossed by energy beams waiting to blast your ball into oblivion.
Merely completing a round needs a lot of skill and a liberal helping of luck - to do so under par is another matter. One slight nigglette is that it takes an age to load each hole, probably inevitable given the level of complexity involved.
The game can be loaded from a hard disc, so those of you lucky enough to own one - both of you - shouldn't experience this problem.
Zany Golf is not a game that you would want to play continuously for a week. Neither is the real thing, they are both best enjoyed in short bursts at frequent intervals. There can be few better games available at the moment.