Links LS 99
Simply put, another fine edition of the endearing golf franchise, perfect for whiling away the time during long winter days when it seems as if the sun will never again warm the frozen earth. If nothing else, it will help you to develop the patience that a scratch golfer needs to perfect that sweet stroke.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
The game has a very basic interface: you can either use your mouse or keyboard to control the game. You dictate the pace of the game; therefore, there is no stress factor involved, or at least not at the same level as Quake 2, Half-Life, Unreal, etc. But this just isn’t that type of game, so simplicity is the aim and Access Software has certainly achieved this.
To start the game, you select the features of your player (ie: sex, shirt color, handicap, etc.), which tees you will play from (pro, amateur, girlie man), and which course you will play on. Four courses are included in this box, with a converter for older courses that Access shipped with the previous version. Then you begin the round.
When you approach your first hole, the game shows you the layout of the hole, auto-selects a club that the "caddie" believes you should use, and sets you up at your tee. You can choose to alter your stance, the angle at which the club head intersects the ball vertically, and whether you "open/close" your club face at striking. Naturally, as your club goes from driver through to 9-iron, the effect becomes less (just like in real life … wow). The power meter is the one user interface feature that always stays up on screen, with the other features and menus hidden at the bottom, appearing when your mouse strays there (just like the Auto Hide task bar in Windows).
As you approach the green, a contour grid for the green appears. This gives you the lay of the land and allows you to adjust for the relief by aiming your shot to compensate. This can take a lot as depending on the settings you chose in the game setup, you can over/under-compensate and end up driving your score up quickly. Of course, for those who can’t stand to lose (such as me), you can enable mulligans in the game and keep your score down artificially. For the first few times playing the game, to keep frustration to a minimum, I suggest that this tactic be employed generously.
Exquisite graphics (albeit 2D only) enhance the experience. A minimum 4 meg video card on a PCI bus is required to handle the graphic information. Even then, the game will suggest that you set your resolution to 1024x768 16-bit color to get the best performance. Trust me, this is perfect for this game.
DirectX6.0 is required to handle the graphics data, but this is also shipped as part of the installation package, so fear not, faithful linkster. The photo-realism in the game will help to alleviate the winter blahs, and the smooth animations of the golfer you control will keep you interested in the game for the pure essence of it. Playing is the entire focus, and nothing in the user interface will distract you from enjoying the gameplay.
Again, the game being DirectX6.0 enabled, any SoundBlaster-compatible card will more than adequately give you the aural sensations of golfing by the sea. The audio files are very slick, with no hisses or pops in the .wavs at all. Then again, this being the simple concept game it is, there is no problem with resource stacking of sounds that other more physical games would experience.
Pentium 166, 32 MB RAM, 250 MB hard drive space, 4 MB PCI video card, DirectX/Windows-compatible sound card, monitor capable of 16-bit color
A large manual documenting all the features is included, but the game is very intuitive in its presentation. The manual does give instructions on the more subtle aspects involved (i.e.: stance, open club head, slice/hook, etc) and for those who really wish to study the actual game of golf, it does make good reading.
This is an excellent game, worthy of its predecessors, and indeed the best of the whole golf simulation genre.