Front Page Sports Golf: The Greens
Preview by Al Giovetti, 09/30/96
Price: $54.95
Release: November 1996
Producer and Designer: Vance Cook
Publisher: Sierra Online
Phone: 800-757-7707
Requirements: Windows 95, 2X CD ROM drive,

Golf games are judged on certain standard features, most of which were established by Accolade’s Links 386 and now those limits have been pushed back again in Links LS. The basis for Links success other than phenomenal detailed realistic greens, realistic animation of the player characters, and realistic play, was the modular golf course concept.

Links was made to accommodate data bases for the other golf courses, so that all the designers had to do was to continue to bring out courses and sell these courses to go with the initial game. Each new course brought new challenge and more playability. Many of the courses were the types of courses that the game player would never have a chance to visit, and there was a thrill in visiting these courses and actually playing on them. Comparison of the courses fairway and greens in the later links games made many wonder which was real, a picture out of a golf magazine or the links course.

Golf will have two courses, The Prince in Kauai, Hawaii and Pete Dye Golf Club in Bridgeport, West Virginia. The key to earlier games that every tree and shrub on the course is detailed and shown as it appears on the real course, and the same is true here. Courses are faithfully reproduced with minute details of the slope of hills, shape and depth of sand traps and water hazards, and the precise lay and break of the greens.

At the back of everyone’s mind in almost all golf games, save those with expensive club-like controllers, is the realization that the simulation of the swing in golf games is absolutely nothing like the swing in the real game. As a result, cyber golfers are either unsatisfied with the lack of reality or they simply are not real golfers who get out of the cyber course and onto the real fairway. Many reviewers and players alike have commented that while the game looks like golf and the ball and fairways behave like golf. Where the club impacts the ball from the golfers perspective cyber golf just did not cut it.

Front Page Sports (FPS) Golf addresses the realistic swing issue from a new angle. The old standard of the tri-click method, where clicking the mouse to start the back-swing, clicking it again to start the forward swing, and clicking it a third time to determine "waggle", has now been replaced, for Sierra at least, with a novel approach. The mouse is glided back to start the back-swing, forward to start the forward swing and follow through. The new "TrueSwing" technique allows for more easy execution of draws, fades, chips, pitch-and-runs that were often ignored in other products or, the one time they were implemented, resulted in an difficult execution and often an awkward swing.

Another addition is that Sierra has obtained the services of Links 386 designer Vance Cook to be the designer and producer of FPS Golf. Vance has dedicated himself to giving the game, as he did with Links, the feel of actually playing the Golf right down to swinging the club.

FPS Golf uses Microsoft’s Direct-X and other 32-bit features to push the envelope in speeding up the loading of the course and the accuracy of the balls flight. Graphics are enhanced with high-color and high-resolution characteristic of Links LS.

Play the game from thirteen types of play, including stroke, match, skins, four-ball, scramble, greensome, bloodsome, Ryder Cup, shoot-out, and Stableford. Multiplayer with head to head competition by null or phone modem, up to 255 players over a LAN for mega tournaments that can be played in groups of four.

Weather now has an effect on the greens and fairways, that can be damp to dry, and requiring golfers to be aware of wind speed and direction.

Multi-player: Support via modem and network will allow the play of many human players.

Preview references:
Steve Bauman, Computer Games Strategy Plus, issue 71, October, 1996, pg. 116.
Juan "John John" Suarez, InterAction summer, 1996, pg. 56-57