Game Over Online ~ Microsoft Golf 2001

GameOver Game Reviews - Microsoft Golf 2001 (c) Microsoft, Reviewed by - Jimmy Clydesdale

Game & Publisher Microsoft Golf 2001 (c) Microsoft
System Requirements Windows 9x, Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 45%
Date Published Sunday, August 27th, 2000 at 09:30 PM

Divider Left By: Jimmy Clydesdale Divider Right

When Microsoft purchased Access Software last April, it acquired the rights to the their Links series, arguably the best PC golf simulation ever made. It should make you wonder than why Microsoft continues to publish their Microsoft Golf series of titles along side it. You'd think Microsoft would merge the two development teams and put all of its eggs in one basket so to speak. That doesn't seem to be the case though and now that I've played Microsoft Golf 2001, I've finally caught on to their little scheme.

While the Links series continues to evolve with the upcoming release of Links 2001, some marketing wizard at Microsoft has decided to re-package Links 2000 as Microsoft Golf 2001. Woooo! The magic trick was revealed when I realized the sticker on the front cover of my Microsoft Golf 2001 box peeled away to reveal the cover for Links 2000! Ok, I'm kidding about that, but that's basically what this game is all about. Just keep changing the year (Microsoft Golf 2001, Microsoft Golf 2002) and people will think there's actually something new about the game… there isn't though. There's no new courses, there's no new graphics engine, and there's no real-life golfers in this title either so don't expect updated 'rosters' so to speak. It's the same golf game you played last year and probably the year prior to that, and it's called Microsoft Golf 2001, so buyer beware!

Microsoft Golf 2001 comes with seven golf courses including Bountiful, Entrada at Snow Canyon, Sea Island, Kapalua Plantation, Mauna Kea, Bighorn and Three Canyons, a fantasy-based course. Each of the courses are exact replicas of their real-life counterparts and I'm sure fans of the Links series will recognize all of the courses from previous Links titles and add-ons. Microsoft Golf 2001 also offers up ten different golf modes including the usual skins and strokes to go along with the popular variations of Nassau, scramble and bingo bango bongo.

Course and game selection aside, Microsoft Golf 2001 offers up the usual golfing features. You can customize your golfer in terms of their club selection, tee/difficulty setting and even the colour of their shirt. You'll also be able to select which hitting method you'd like to use. For beginners, a simple single-click mode is available and once you've mastered its use and wish for a bit more of a challenge, both a two/three-click and power stroke mode are viable options. The power stroke mode is designed for those looking for a more realistic swing method. It determines power and direction based on mouse control as you simulate the stages of a regular golf swing.

When you get right down to it, Microsoft Golf 2001 offers just about every feature from mulligans and gimmies to green grids and helpful instruction. The entire game has clearly been geared to casual golfers and beginners. It's extremely simple to begin a round of golf without worrying about all the intricacies of the course and golfers. Golfer statistics are rather basic and don't contain unnecessary information. The lack of a tournament mode also indicates Microsoft Golf 2001 isn't designed for hardcore golfers.

Graphically, Microsoft Golf 2001 looks like any golf game we've seen in the past four or five years. The entire atmosphere is presented in 2D although the game still looks beautiful, especially at the higher resolutions. The environment, backgrounds in particular, are breathtaking, leaving the more interactive portions of the game all the worse. The golfer especially, looks incredibly silly on the backdrop. Trees and other obstacles look great at a distance, but once you have the opportunity to hit right beside one, the 2D graphics really show up. Still, as we have come to accept over the years, the 2D graphics are more than satisfying for a golf game. The sounds in Microsoft Golf 2001 are all borrowed from Links 2000. Whether its the voices, the effects or the general atmosphere, you'll instantly recognize it from the Links series. In fact, besides the main screen, you'll probably think you're playing Links 2000, and begin wondering why you paid $20 for a used copy… oh wait, this is a whole new game… yeah.

Besides a few pre-set golfers you can play against in Microsoft Golf 2001, you can also play a round with your friends. Internet and LAN support are available as is modem-to-modem connections. Being a Microsoft product, the Zone is also supported and is an excellent way to match-make. You certainly won't be short of golfers to play against.

Just as Links 2000 had some, Microsoft Golf 2001 isn't without a flaw or two. The ball physics are quite good, although putting seems to be a little sensitive at times. Chipping can also be an adventure. The auto-caddy isn't of much help, he often under guesses club selection and the default hit direction needs to be adjusted at every hole, otherwise you might find yourself hitting smack dab into the trees. Other than minor issues, there didn't seem to be any major flaws. Then again, this is Links 2000 we're talking about, they've had a year to work out any kinks in the armour.

I'm sure many critics out there are going to try to convince you that Microsoft Golf 2001 is a great pick-up for the casual golfer, if not beginners. It's easy to load up and get a round of golf going without worrying about the little things. It presents itself in a light manner for beginners, illustrating only the necessary statistics and offering an easy swing method. The list goes on but folks, this is simply Links 2000 under a different name. Sure, it's a solid game of golf, but then again so were the previous editions. You're not going to find any new additions, no up-to-date golfing counterparts, nothing. Why wouldn't you purchase an older/used copy of Links instead? How about a free copy of AboutGolf's downloadable golf simulation? Better yet, wait for Links 2001. Any of those options would be better than falling for this gag. Say, does anybody know when Solitaire 2001 is due?


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