1-4 players, horizontal game
Atari Corp., for the Atari Lynx
Forget those 5:00am tee-offs, with AWESOME GOLF you can now play the links on the Lynx. This is a fully loaded golf game, offering three courses filled with obstacles, and enough challenge to keep you busy. Chipper the chipmunk will be your caddy and scorekeeper, so pick your club, and please replace your divots.
You can play on one of three imaginary courses, for a 9-hole or an 18-hole game. Up to four players can ComLynx together, practice on individual holes, or work on a driving range. Each hole beings with an overhead map, where you can aim your shot as well as scroll and zoom as desired. Fourteen clubs are available: three woods, eight irons, two wedges, and a putter. Finally, you take swing, hopefully staying on the fairway and avoiding the hazards.
AWESOME GOLF is a straight, no-nonsense implementation of the game, with many features and game options. A game can feature three different wind levels, while the properties of terrain and the slope of the green must be kept in mind. Distances to the hole are always available, and each club's range, usage, and effect on the ball are accurately duplicated. Strokes are done with a power bar using three button presses: The first press starts the swing, the second press sets the strength, and the third press determines hook and slice. Finally, you can select the clothing, race and sex of your video duffer, though the only major effect is that women golfers tee off closer to the hole.
There's not much else to be said -- AWESOME GOLF plays golf, and plays it well. As in real golf, the key to winning is a good strategy and a good technique. The game is helpful without being pandering; players can set individual handicaps, hints on clubs and aim are available to beginners, and the driving range reports statistics on your swing. The only gripe is with the multiplayer option. You must ComLynx to play against other people, though the game could have been designed to support multiple players on one Lynx. It's a trivial point, but one worth mentioning.
Graphics on AWESOME GOLF are a combination of detailed realism and light humor. Shots are seen from behind your player, and the ball's flight is viewed from overhead, all done with quality animation, detailed backgrounds, and smooth scrolling and scaling. Finally, cartoon stills highlight events such as bogeys, penalties, and birdies. On the sound side, AWESOME GOLF is fairly quiet, using short chimes to indicate selections and decisions. To spice things up, Chipper's high-pitched voice is peppered throughout, congratulating good strokes, laughing at blunders, and making remarks everywhere.
Between CHECKERED FLAG and AWESOME GOLF, the Lynx is shaping up to be a serious video sports system. This game captures the intricacies of the sport, while offering enough extras to enhance its appeal, though playing with friends can be a hassle. If golf is your game, AWESOME GOLF should not be missed.
GAMEPLAY: 9 GRAPHICS: 9 SOUND: 9 OVERALL: 9