Tiger Woods 99 PGA Tour Golf
|a game by||EA Sports|
Say goodbye to "slide show" golf. Gone are the days of spending 5-20 seconds watching your screen redraw the view between each shot depending on your processor power and detail settings. Computer golfers are familiar with spending countless minutes waiting and waiting for the next view to be drawn just to take a shot and let the whole process begin again. Recently released at a software store near you, Tiger Woods 99 is about to change the way you think about computer golf games. So, you may ask, how did EA Sports accomplish this? The answer lies in a new technology called "Flash Draw." Here is an example of how it works: As Tiger tees off, the camera view will follow the ball through the air until it rolls to a stop then it pans the view towards the pin. The beauty of all this is the fact that the screen is already drawn and ready for the next shot.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
You can play as or against Tiger Woods or a choice of the seven other golfers. The others include Tom Kite, Peter Jacobsen, Lee Janzen, Davis Love III, Mark O’Meara, Brad Faxon, and Craig Stadler. You can also create and customize your own golfer by editing club types and distances to mimic your real game. Comparisons to theseries cannot be avoided and Tiger Woods 99 definitely holds its own. One difference however is the way you take a shot. You can use either the usual 3-click method or the "Pro Swing" mouse motion swing. After you aim your shot and use one of the two mouse actions to make the swing, the golfer animation appears and takes the shot. This does not happen in real time like it does in the Links- series. I didn’t see this as a flaw but rather a difference that I just had to get used to. There are nine game modes to choose from: Practice, Stroke Play, Tournament, Skins Game, Shoot-out, Match Play, Four Ball, Foursomes, and the Driving Range. The game comes with three distinctive courses: [[Pebble Beach Golf Links]], a rugged and windy course overlooking the pacific ocean; TPC at Summerlin, a desert course in Nevada; and TPC at Sawgrass, with lush tree-lined fairways and lots of water hazards located in Florida. The game is compatible with last year’s and there will be two additional course disks each containing three courses released about the same time as the game. Tiger Woods 99 users can practice driving, chipping, and putting at the world famous practice facility at Sawgrass. Galleries are present and will increase in size if your golfer happens to be lighting up the course and will diminish if you fall behind the rest of the pack. Another cool feature is the "Tiger Shot". This occurs when you overswing and hit the shot perfectly on the tick mark. During Tiger’s swing, he will start to glow and hits the ball with a burning club of fire along with a thunderous audible: "Tiger Shot!" The ball takes off leaving a trail of smoke. However, laboratory tests indicate the ball doesn’t really travel any further!
Does this new "Flash Draw" technology take away from the graphics quality that is so important in golf games? I would say not. The graphics are top notch. Flags fly in the wind and the water shimmers with a reflection on the surface. Tiger himself will react depending on the condition, from a running fist pump after a long putt to slapping his hand against his leg and staring off in disgust for blowing a short putt. 3Dfx and Direct3D graphic hardware accelerator cards are supported and will increase the frame rate during the in-flight views. All kinds of graphic settings can be adjusted for just about any processor speed. Supported resolutions are 16 bit 640x480 through 1600x1200 in both hardware and software modes.
The narration is more from the perspective of a TV announcer rather than from a fellow golfer criticizing or complementing your shots. The TV announcer has comments like, "He just wants to hit a solid putt and walk away with the par" or "He ripped that drive!" I think the TV announcer approach is quite good and actually wanted it back after I turned it off.
Windows 95/98, Pentium 166 MHz, 32 MB RAM, High Color 1 MB PCI video card with DirectDraw 5.0 compatible driver (800x600 16 bit), 4X CD-ROM drive (600K/second transfer rate), 100 MB free hard disk space, mouse, DirectX-compatible sound card
Tiger Woods himself contributed a variety of design input. Tiger wanted the game to be fun and the play to be fast and he got exactly what he wanted. Tiger Woods 99 puts the action back in computer golf. Okay, maybe there never was much action in golf on the PC but that is about to change. There is not much negative input to report to you about. eight PGA golfers, twelve courses to choose from, nine modes of play, player editing, excellent graphics, multiplayer support, and the innovative "Flash Draw" technology all combine to make a very highly recommendable game.