You know you're in trouble when the most complimentary thing the normally overenthusiastic Codemasters can find to say about one of their games is "Incredible!. 75% (Your Stinklair)."
Actually Pro Golf Sim is a bit better than that - at least it's pretty comprehensive, with all the authentic features of the game including bunkers, rough, trees, lakes, islands, selection of clubs, a zoom feature in the putting stage, scoreboard, wind meter and dogs stealing your balls (guess which one of these I made up).
Up to four players can take part, and there are options for various controls, putting practice, or practicing a particular hole, before you plunge into the full 18-hole competition.
Your first option is to examine the course, using the joystick or keyboard control to scroll around the nicely detailed backgrounds, which look in some ways as if they've been pinched from a Kung-Fu Death Commando Wombats game. Once you've assessed the difficulty of the hole you press Fire to play, first choosing a club using the pointing-finger cursor at the right hand side of the screen.
Once your club is selected you set the direction of your stroke using a rotating indicator on the pin, then strike by holding the fire button until the strength gauge rises to the desired level. On releasing the fire button, the hook/slice indicator starts to move across the screen; hit Fire again when it's in the desired position, and you'll see the ball whizzing , hopefully, towards the green. Al this is accompanied by nice title inset animated sequences.
Once you get close enough to the hole, the display changes to a close-up showing the flag, your ball and the strength gauge (no hook slice meter). If you hole below par you go onto the next hole; if you go too far over par, you forfeit that hole. There's a scoreboard display between holes, and obviously this is all a lot more fun it there's more than one competitor.
The big bonus is that there's also a course design option; using a selection of pre-programmed graphics blocks you can assemble the most fiendishly difficult courses, save them to tape and inflict them on your friends.
Pretty pictures, authentic gameplay, decent music and sound effects and it's only £2.99. I think you could safely indulge in a copy of Pro Golf Sim without being labelled a boring old f**t.
Reviewer: Chris Jenkins
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