>> PennOaks.net > Archive 64 > Review House

PGA European Tour

Rated E for Everyone

Platform:

Nintendo 64 (N64)

Publisher:

Infogrames

Developer:

Infogrames Sheffield House

Released:

June 2000

ROM Size:

128 megabits

Players:

One to Four Alternating

Genre:

Sports (Golf)

Save:

Controller Pak

Optional:

None

 

 

> Final Rating: 2.7 out of 5.0

Introduction

Nintendo of America released the first N64 golf game, Waialae Country Club, in the summer of 1998. While the game was realistic, it featured one lonely course. Nintendo followed-up in the summer of 1999 with the release of Mario Golf, which has become one of the best golf games on any system—that is, if you don't mind the cute characters and sometimes weird course design. Infogrames has tried to fill the realistic golf void on the system with the 2000 release of PGA European Tour, the first officially licensed game of the PGA European Tour.

 

PGA European Tour is definitely not for your casual hacker. If you need eye-popping aesthetics to keep your attention or unusual gameplay modes to extend the replay value, then this game is not for you. However, if you're looking for a realistic, authentic golf experience, then you might want to try it.

Gameplay & Control

PGA European Tour requires you to progress through a number of stages in order to reach the European Tour. When you begin your Amateur season, you will be given a handicap. You have to reduce it to zero (scratch) and finish in the top eight on the Amateur Challenge Tour in order to reach Professional status.

 

Once you have become a Challenge Tour Professional, you need to finish in the top eight at the end of this season for entry into the European Tour Qualifying School. Then the top eight from the Challenge Tour along with the bottom eight from the European Tour battle in this qualifying season in which the top eight qualify for a place on the European Tour. Once you're on the European Tour, you get to compete against some of the world's best golfers. But you must remain in the top 32, or you'll be sent back to the Qualifying School.

 

Does that sound like fun to you? This probably will determine if you'll want to purchase the game or not. In my opinion, it's overkill for a video game.

 

The control interface for PGA European Tour has some nice touches but is annoying, too. Either the Control Stick or Control Pad can be used for any directional operation. The A button takes the shot and skips any animation. The B button brings up a menu to change your club or shot type, which adds an extra step to switch clubs. The R button applies draw, while the L button or Z button applies fade. Within the C group, Top C resets the camera to default, Bottom C is a zoom camera (a nice quick access feature), Left C views the hole map, and the Right C button makes the camera free moving when used in conjunction with the L and R buttons or with directional control.

 

Four methods of controlling your golfer's swing are available in PGA European Tour: three-click swing, two-click swing, X swing, and Y swing. The default three-click swing is like your standard golf game. Click one activates the backswing, click two stops the backswing and starts the downswing, and click three hits the ball. With the two-click swing, you just press and hold the A button. When you release the button (click one), then that starts the downswing, with the second click being you hitting the ball.

 

With the X swing, you press and hold the A button. Then press either the Control Pad or Control Stick to the left to start the backswing. You activate the downswing by pressing the directional control to the right. Then you release the A button to hit the ball. With the Y swing, you again press and hold the A button. Then you push the Control Pad or Control Stick down. Pressing the directional control up activates the downswing. Releasing the A button will hit the ball.

 

PGA European Tour helps you out more than the typical golf game, too, if you're playing in the Standard Mode. The game automatically chooses the appropriate club distance and club for all your shots. You can try to push your shots farther by moving the distance (power) bar up on the swing meter, but it reduces your accuracy. Putting is very easy, too, because an arc appears over the hole (already compensated for the break) that shows you where to aim. Then it puts the distance bar within the swing meter at the appropriate place, too. All you have to do is click on the backswing (distance) bar and click on the club-to-ball connection point bar.

Graphics & Sound

PGA European Tour looks very much like a first-generation game within the third generation of Nintendo 64 games. Static screenshots make the game look decent, but you'll find out quickly how poor the graphics are once you see the game in motion. For instance, a choppy frame rate is visible during hole fly-bys. On-course graphics are blocky and feature many two-dimensional sprites. Camera work isn't that impressive. Character models are basic and not animated very well—aside from the nice touches of preparing for swings, becoming animated after certain shots, and picking up the ball out of the hole. Overall, everything looks very bland and low-res.

 

The sound even might be worse. Stereotypical golf music is played during the menus, but that's the only music in the game. Sound effects are too few and far between. BBC's Peter Allis provides some commentary, but his comments consist of praising or mocking each of your shots—that's it. The rest of the sound effects feature an occasional bird chirp and some weather sounds. Where's the crowd? Where are comments from the golfers? Why isn't there more running commentary?

Conclusion

PGA European Tour exemplifies boredom. The actual golf engine is solid, but the lack of atmosphere and the poor graphics render the game not fun to play. If you hate Mario Golf and desire realism, then by all means try this game. The average video game golfer won't get much enjoyment, however.

 

Graphics:

2.0

Sound:

2.2

Control:

2.6

Gameplay:

2.9

Lastability

3.0

OVERALL:

2.7

 

DOWN THE ROAD

Not available.

 

Review by: Scott McCall

First Reviewed: June 27, 2000

Appendix Added: N/A

 

 

 

>> PennOaks.net > Archive 64 > Review House

 

Comments