3-D Ultra Minigolf Deluxe
If you’re like me, your experience with computer minigolf meant top-down views taking angles and velocity into account in an attempt to get the small dot (ball) onto the bigger dot (hole). Sierra's 3-D Ultra Minigolf Deluxe definitely opened my eyes on how different computer mini golf is today. If you are familiar with Sierra’s original 3-D Ultra Minigolf, you will be right at home with this new title. In fact, you might be a little too much at home. What I mean by this is the primary difference between the new title from the older title is the addition of nine more ‘deluxe’ holes to make a total of 27 holes to play. To me, this is not enough to constitute a new release.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Each hole has a unique and different theme, from hitting your ball from one cloud to another, avoiding airplanes and various flying hazards to putting underwater from the bottom of the ocean floor. There is a choice of three different sized clubs and an aiming line to help you with lining up your shots. Players can opt for EasyPutt using a power bar to hit the ball or TruePutt, the obligatory mouse in motion swing. You can play the front nine, back nine, or deluxe nine. Game options include normal mini golf, hole-by-hole, and raceplay, a timed game where the only thing that matters is getting the ball in the hole as fast as possible regardless of the number of shots it takes. The biggest drawback is the inability to change your view angle for a shot. Many times, I was in a situation where I had no idea which way to go to the hole or else I couldn’t line up my shot because the shot angle would be from a side view. It would have been nice to be able to scroll the view around or at least have the view automatically line up with the pin.
The backgrounds that make up the holes’ themes are very crisp and colorful. There is quite a lot of action on every hole: A twisting tornado, a road crew at work, circling sharks, monsters, airplanes, you name it. To get the most out of the graphics, you have to set your screen resolution to 640x480 before you play the game if it isn’t already. Otherwise, you won’t get the intended full screen effect because the game will play inside a window.
Here is where this game is most impressive. Sierra does a good job creating separate theme music and different theme voices to add to the atmosphere of each hole. On the Banshee Castle hole, for example, you will hear a ghoulish voice introduce the hole. In the background, you can hear bats and a spider crawling along the pathway along with witches and goblins laughing it up. There is even a dash of a Homer Simpson impersonator exclaiming "WhooHoo" after a good shot and "Doh!" after a near miss!
Windows 95/98, Pentium class computer, 2X CD-ROM drive, 16 MB RAM, SVGA 640x480 @ 256 color support, Windows compatible mouse and sound card. 14.4 or greater modem for internet or modem play or a network card for play on a network.
My first few times through the different courses was quite entertaining as I experimented with the different possible ways to complete the courses, but once that wore off, so did the game. This game should have great appeal to kids and those who think Freecell is the greatest game of all time because it is quick to learn and easy to master. Unlike golf, there isn’t a lot of competition in the minigolf genre, so if you absolutely must have a minigolf title in your library, this is the one. Even though there is a $10 rebate for previous owners of Sierra's 3-D Ultra Minigolf, if you already have the original non-deluxe version, you may want to think twice about investing the price of the game in exchange for nine more holes.