No game elicits a more intense mixture of emotions than golf. Golf is an elusive sport that can make even the most hardened person break down in tears. There are so many rules in golf that one has to remember. Left arm straight; well right arm if you play left-handed. Keep your head down. Hit the ball squarely with the club head. Okay, thatís all I can think of, so perhaps that explains a few things about how I play the game. I have to confess to being so bad at golf, that I even shot a 120 on my first trip around the Mesa Rosa. I donít play that poorly on a real golf course. I guess I can blame it on my Arnold Palmer avatar. I have a strict rule for my golfing. I golf in the low 70ís. If it gets any warmer than that, I donít go out and play.
I did a quick search for golf games for the computer. A run through some online stores that sell computer games revealed about fifteen golf games for the PC. On the Mac side, that search turned up a whopping two titles. Sports sim games are not in great abundance on our favorite, trendy hardware. Well, Bold by Destineer is here to rescue us from our predicament. Microsoftís Links Championship Edition is just about to be released for the Macintosh.
Of course, this release is not without its controversy. Details were few, but the port of this game has taken quite a long time. I am sure the good folks who worked on the game are very displeased at the delays; but at long last, Links if finally here. The game is now available for pre-order at Boldís site and should be shipping on 26 July 2002.
Keep Your Head DownLinks is a very accurate golf simulation game. The physics of the game have been tweaked to near perfection. Balls will roll back downhill if on a slope. Balls will hook or slice with greater precision when not hit squarely. When the ball strikes an object, be it the side of a hill or a rock wall, the physics programming in the game handle such events with aplomb. During my time with the beta version of the game, I did notice that I cold only get a ball out of the rough with a short iron (e.g. 9-iron). Any other club would only permit a shot of a few yards and not get me out of the rough.
The landscapes and characters within the game are beautifully rendered. All characters, trees, etc. are fully anti-aliased at sizes up to 1280x1024. I played Links on my 19Ē monitor at 1280x1024 and it was beautiful. There were the occasional anomalies where trees were heavily pixilated at close range (like when I had to hit out from behind a tree). This may be an issue with the beta that just may be cleared up by the time the game ships. Of course, this greater detail takes its toll on a system. My G4 450 running OS 10.1.5 with 448MB RAM rendered most scenes in 15 to 30 seconds. Over the course of one round of golf, that is an extra nine minutes of time waiting for your computer to render the images. Of course, those of you with faster processors will be able to shorten that time. The converse is also true if you are using a Mac with a slower processor.