Genre: Sports/Golf Developer: Tiertex Design Studios Publisher: U.S. Gold Players: 1 Released: 1992
I really love golf but I hardly ever get the opportunity to go anymore due to not having a set of clubs anymore and not having many friends who are into the sport. I also love video games and golf games are a favorite combination of mine and a great diversion when you can’t go to a real course. I’ve been trying to go through the Game Gear library and put together a core collection of quality games that I can keep in the carrying case separate from the rest of my collection. You’d think a portable golf game would be a perfect candidate, but it wasn’t meant to be as this just isn’t a very good game, even for an 8-bit console.
World Class Leaderboard Golf starts you out with a basic set of options when you first turn the game on. It gives you the option to go to either a driving range or a putting green and I’d recommend practicing with these if you’re new to the game since the controls are a bit strange at first (more on that later). You can select up to four players, something which I can’t comment too much on since it’s pretty hard to find more than one person who’d play the Game Gear with you anymore but it’s available if you can manage to pull that off. It lets you enter your name and then select from a total of four courses, three real ones and “Gauntlet” a much more difficult fantasy course. Unfortunately, there’s no other customization available and you can’t even select your clubs and the programmers decided to leave the sand wedge out of the game and it makes the game unfairly hard. Wonderful huh!
The mechanics are very similar to many other golf games of the era except that you have to hold down the button in order to power up your swing, hit the button again to stop the meter then finally hit the button again as the meter drops to stop the meter directly on the line in order to get a straight drive or putt. The mechanics are also very touchy making it difficult to get accurate drives. There is also a commentator that will announce that “it’s deep in the sand” and then you look at the top down view and it’s lying in the rough. It’s once again not very accurate at all with its calls. On top of that not having a sand wedge available just makes it all the worse. Once you get close to the green, maybe within ten or fifteen yards or so it becomes almost impossible to hit the ball properly without the sand wedge since you’ll almost always swing with too much power. Anytime I had this scenario I had to go into the menu and select “punch shot” and use the pitching wedge with low power or I just ended up causing the ball to land out in the middle of nowhere. The game also has to slowly draw every course from the view of each new position that your ball lands in on the course and it gets mind-numbingly slow and boring and many times doesn’t give you a workable viewpoint to hit the ball from.
The graphics, in part due to the game slowly drawing each course as I stated above, are really tedious to look at and I’d consider them barely adequate at best. The courses all have the same look to them; your golfer isn’t customizable and looks generic and the game lacks much in color variety so it doesn’t give you much to look at as you watch the game draw the courses. The audio of this game is also about as sparse as it can get. In its defense there are a few voice samples from the commentator and they’re quite well done and very clear and I was surprised to hear them coming from the Game Gear. The problem lies in the fact that there’s only about three or four of them and there’s not enough sound effects aside from that to break the monotony so it also is nothing but tedium at best.
WCLG (pun intended) is a very over par golf game and it’s not because of the Game Gear’s limited capabilities. It’s because the game needed far more TLC with the mechanics, an inclusion of a sand wedge, some music, and shorter or no draw times. This game is forgotten for many reasons and it should stay that way as it’s not worth the play time and even on 8-bit consoles there are many better golf games available.
SCORE: 3 out of 10