PGA Championship Golf 2000
Game Review - by James Allen
There are 13 courses included in PGA Championship Golf 2000, 8 of which actually exist, and the remainder were designed by fans of PGA 99. Each of the courses included offer a different challenge, ranging from coastal mountains, tidal flats, and rolling hills. To vary the games up even more, the course conditions can also be set. The state of the rough (short, average, long), greens (wet, moist, normal, dry, very dry), wind (still, calm, breezy, gusty, strong) can all be varied, and also randomized for each round, a feature I really like. Holes play completely different when the conditions vary, which adds to the overall lasting value of each course.
Individual options for each round can be set. Rules, such as mulligans and gimmies, can be set to various distances to provide a sort of learning curve for the beginner. Selecting the game to be a tournament will result in crowds following you around. These galleries are smart: if you are not contending for the lead, the gang following your group will shrink: the final insult. Side games can also be set between the golfers, rewarding golfers for skins, lowest putt total, aces, greenies, birdies, up and downs, flaggies, sandies, moles, polies, splashies, dirty pars, longest drives, and chip ins. What is a mole, you say? Why, it's leaving the ball in a bunker, of course! Basically, any possible shot or combination of shots can be covered in a side game. Also, handicaps can be used, which are kept for each golfer over all the games they play (including user golfers), to even the playing field.
Now if there's one thing that we need, it's 12 different types of play. PGA Championship Golf 2000 has got you covered. Medal, or tournament, play, match play, stableford (that weird point system), four ball medal, four ball match, four ball stableford, skins, scramble (with 2 or 4 player teams), best ball ryder cup, best ball greensome, and best ball bloodsome are all included. Without even knowing what any of these really mean, it's evident that you can play almost any type of golf game you can think of.
You can customize your golfer completely, picking your appearance, including your clothing. Even better, you can change your clothes each round (imagine that!), and the computer picks some UGLY (and really funny) outfits. There is no more guessing as to why golfers are never picked for wardrobe advice. In addition, you can play against PGA pros such as Gary Dain and Oliver Bowen. Who? Exactly, PGA Championship 2000 does not include real PGA players, but never fear. You can create your own computer players, and users have made lists of real PGA players, if you really, really want to play with Steve Stricker (c'mon, you know you do). For the novice, an amateur list is included as well, with lowered ability levels to accommodate learning players. In addition, a ladies tour is available.
Also included in PGA Championship Golf 2000 is remote play through everyone's favorite online gaming service, WON. Also, you can play though a LAN or modem, but unfortunately, no direct TCP/IP play is possible. I've tried to play with WON online, and apparently you can do it, although my modem connection doesn't like me any.
As if all this weren't enough, you can create your own courses! That's right, a course architect is included, to produce the course of your dreams, and the PGA Tour's nightmares. Like most course editors, it takes a while to get used to the things you can and can't do. The New Course Wizard should be avoided because of this reason: no two land types can cross over each other. This means water cannot cross over a fairway. Well, then, how do you do this, you say? You must split up the fairway into two parts, and run the stream in the middle, in a sort of backwards logic. The New Course Wizard should be improved for the beginner, to place not only holes and water, but hills and bunkers, too. One disappointing feature left off the course architect is "automatic terrain." One thing I really liked about SimGolf (remember that one?) was that you could generate the terrain as hilly or flat as you wanted, then put in your golf course. In PGA Championship Golf 2000, you must put all the elevation changes in manually. It's kind of fun seeing what kind of golf course you can make out of a certain terrain, and this is not possible in PGA Championship Golf 2000. Despite this, the course architect is very powerful, and only the reaches of your imagination confine the limits of your course.
The golfers themselves react to each shot, stabbing himself or herself though the heart when missing a short put, or falling over in comical fashion when getting off balance when attempting a shot. If you leave the game for a little bit to check e-mail or something, your golfer will lie down on the ground waiting for you, taking a rest. I found this much unexpected and hilarious the first time I left him (me) alone.
When the graphics are top notch, you tend to pick minor things to bring up, and I sure will: even in a stiff breeze, the lakes and trees never sway or ripple. The lakes are a solid reflective surface, and the trees are static objects. Even though the flag moves, swaying trees and uneven water would have added a touch more realism, and made this game even better.
The best thing about the graphics is the multiple camera angles available. Top, green, and reverse drives are available, just to name a few. You can also make custom cameras, and this is a neat feature. Want to see how the leader is doing? Open up a camera view and watch his every shot. Really. In addition, you can replay your shot from a bird's eye view, or any other custom camera view. A television broadcast is at your fingertips (let's go to number 17)!
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