Genre: Sports Developer: Sterling Silver Software Publisher: Electronic Arts Players: 1-4 Released: 1991
The seventeenth hole at the Players Championship at Sawgrass Stadium course is perhaps the most beautiful sight in all of professional sports, and illustrating it on our beloved machine, even with “Blast Processing,” is quite a daunting task to say the least. Incorporating that with the intricacies of such a grand game such as golf, EA’s initial PGA Tour Golf’s efforts to deliver it us can be as tricky as hitting the ball out of a pot bunker during the final round of the British Open. So, will this game deliver the Green Jacket or will it be hilariously disappointing like Jean Van De Velde’s utter collapse at the 1999 British Open.
Well, let’s describe the basics of this game before we go into the main golf details. The beginning is laid out like one of those old early nineties DOS programs mixed with a golf club pro shop. I like it; it makes me feel like I have to go and pay for my green fees and hit a few balls at the range before tearing off in my golf cart. While there, the usual options are available: Practice Round, Tournament, Driving Range, Putting Green, Player and Game Options, etc. There are four courses available: The aforementioned TPC at Sawgrass, TPC at Avenel, PGA West Stadium Golf Course and Sterling Shores Golf Club.
After choosing whether to play a pick up round in your T-shirts and tennis shoes or a tournament with the nice polo shirt and khakis, you can choose which clubs you want to include in your bag. Available are the first five woods, all nine irons and the two wedges (pitching and sand), but you have to omit two or three (I usually leave out the two and four woods and the one iron, but it’s all a personal choice) clubs from your bag. You can even create your own player and name him for your own golf adventures.
Okay, enough of sitting around and waiting for our tee time. Let’s go out and play! Well the first thing you will notice is that EA attempted to give us a flyby of every hole and a tip from a pro golfer of the time. The tip is cool and helpful, but the flyby is so archaic that it really doesn’t give me a great feel of the hole. Okay, so we are up to the first tee now, and thank God we have the metered hitting system that was prevalent in so many golf games even up to the Hot Shots Golf games for the various Playstation systems. Another thing I like so far about the hitting is that it tells you how far the club will hit, rather than in Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf, which forced you to dig out your manual and then do the mental math. What a relief.
Okay, so there is room for error in this game, but it is certainly small. Just a bit off on the second tap of the button on the shot and its going to be shanked left or right. The wind is kind of helpful too, but can also be a big pain if it is going in the right direction, just how it should be. Also, unlike in later PGA Tour games, it will give you the exact yardage that you will hit at 100% rather than giving you a “75% Rough” and having you plan accordingly. I like that better, because it eliminates the “am I going to hit it hard enough?” element that is so prevalent in today’s Tiger Woods games.
Another thing that is different than the later Tiger Woods PGA games, at least for me, is that this game is not easy. In the more recent games, especially the PS2 ones, it is very easy to shoot forty or fifty under in a tournament. This game is at least more realistic in the fact that you can’t tear through each of the courses immediately, at least I can’t. The putting system is fairly accurate for the time as it creates a grid-type view that shows the slope. Even though it is difficult to tell if the up and down slopes affect the left and right of the ball, it is still pretty accurate, and it all comes down to timing of pressing the button.
Originally, I never really played any golf games for the Genesis, but now as time progresses I have started to pick up a few here and there at my local gaming store when I can’t find anything else I want to pick up particularly badly. At first, I started to think that there wasn’t a Genesis golf game that was worth more than a quarter, but I actually have had some decent fun with it. You know, like any early Genesis game it has its flaws, but I still like it enough not to notice too much. It’s like one of those old classic golf shows on the golf channel put on the Genesis, chip this one into your Genesis and spend a few rounds lowering your handicap.
SCORE: 7 out of 10