Leader Board For The Amiga
Robert J. StumpfRequirements: Amiga, Atari ST, Commodore 64, or Atari 800 (48K minimum memory) computers.
In the last year or so, sports simulations have become very popular with home computer owners. Many different team and individual sports have been translated into challenging, graphics-intensive game formats, and several of these products have gone on to be best sellers. Leader Board, a 3-D animated golf simulator from Access Software, is one of the most recent of such simulations.
Your perspective in the game originates from a point behind and slightly above your golfer. From this angle, what you see is precisely what you would see if you were actually on the course, golfing yourself. Like the excellent graphics and control mechanisms of the game, the perspective provides the game with a "you are there" feeling.
The golf course terrain imagery is extremely well done, with a variety of hazards, including trees, sand traps, and waterways. Beautiful background scenes enhance the view, ranging from carnival grounds and hanging bridges in the near distance to remote mountains topped with summer clouds. The TOP control may be used to switch between the golfer's view of the course and a map showing the overall layout of the hole and the current position of the active player's ball. Four different 18-hole layouts provide sufficient variety to generate many hours of golfing enjoyment.
Two perspectives are used inLeader Board from Access: a tee shot facing the water hazard, and an overhead view of one of the holes.
Three levels of play, from novice to professional, provide distinct levels of challenge for up to four players at a time. With each increasing level of difficulty, more real-world factors come into play. For example, the power of your swing is generated through a combination of timing and length of your swing. Snap is the amount of slice or hook you give the ball. At the novice level, neither wind nor snap is taken into account, while at the professional level you must adjust your stroke for wind direction and velocity, and you must try to provide the right amount of snap and power.
On the Amiga, the golf swing is controlled by pressing and holding the right mouse button until you achieve the desired power level. The timing between releasing the button and pressing it a second time controls the snap. Two indicators on the right of the screen let you judge the timing, which, with practice, can be made very accurate. The effect is realistic, and it's beautifully coordinated with the animation of the golfer onscreen. Through practice, you develop a real feel for controlling your swing.
Three minor aspects of Leader Board could, I feel, have been handled a little better. One is the putting game. Even the real pros don't sink long putts with the consistency you can achieve here; the long putting game should be more difficult. Another problem occurs when you manage to place your ball close behind a tree. On the screen, you can see daylight under the branches, but every swing, no matter how weak, seems to climb skyward like an F-15 taking off. Some provision should be made to allow the player, through proper choice of club and stroke, to chip a shot out from under the tree. Finally, the game's form of copy protection is potentially troublesome. The disk can be backed up as often as you wish, but the game cannot be played unless the accompanying dongle, a small key, is inserted in the second joystick port. This is a nice feature as far as backup goes, providing you don't lose the dongle.
Overall, though. Leader Board is one of the best games yet released for the Amiga. The quality of the colorful 3-D graphics, the animation, and the feel of the player controls combine to create an excellent sports simulation.Access Software #A 2561 South 1560 West Woods Cross, UT 84087 $39.95 (all versions)