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Ron Ridley Auto Care Mall

 
  Links LS 2000
The links Golf series goes back 17 years, dating back to the good old days of the Commodore 64. Access software, the original company name that Links was under has now become part of Microsoft, so I wasn't sure what Links would be like, but the graphics on the box including screenshots really caught my attention. Would Microsoft just release this because they can, or would they make some improvements to an already great Golf simulation? Improvements doesn't even describe it! This game is fantastic!

Links LS 2000 includes six courses: Covered Bridge Golf Club, Hapuna Golf Course, Mauna Kea Resort, St. Andrews Links Jubilee Course, St. Andrews Links New Course, and Old Course at St. Andrews. As always, the courses are beautifully rendered. The screen redraw is remarkably fast. Even on a slow computer (slower than the recommended), the game played extremely fast. The only thing that I found slowed down the redraw was the size of gallery (spectators). Slower machines should just choose 'no gallery' and play on!

The game play of Links LS 2000 is very similar to that of LS 99. The main difference is the addition of the “one-click swing.” The other three swing types are still available—two-click, three-click, and PowerStroke swings. The one-click swinging method is aimed at beginners. There is no SNAP and distance is measured by the aim marker instead of the swinging gauge. I played an 18-hole round using the one-click method and found it to be almost too easy. However, the one-click swing makes the game much more playable for newbies and should prove to be a popular feature that will attract more gamers to the series.

Five new Modes of Play (MOPs) have been added to Links LS 2000, including Fuzzy Zoeller’s Wolf Challenge. These additions bring the total modes of play to 35. A few of the MOPs are: match play, stroke play, 4 club skins, Australian Hogan, bestball Nassau, bullseye, scramble match, and Stableford. There is also a MOP designer, which allows gamers to customize their own MOPs. This is great for when you are tired of all of the traditional ways of golf. The abiblity to design your own game with your own rules is truly unique.

The game play can be customized to such detail that just about anybody can play and more importantly - have fun! . As far as difficulty is concerned, the gamer can make Links LS 2000 as easy or hard as they want. Using the Power Stroke swing and bumping the settings to the more difficult levels, this game will have even the most seasoned video golfer looking around for a club to damage. I spent a good couple hours going through all the options and features of Links LS 2000. From tournament options to tutorials, this game is loaded!

Helpful lessons are offered in LS 2000. Swing method, shot types, golf tools, etc… are several of the lesson topics. Additionally, pro tips are available for each hole. Virtually everything about the game can be customized.

You want stats? You got stats! Once you develop your custom player, Links 2000 will keep track of the details of every game you play. Not just the score, but all kinds of stats such as fairway percentages, green percentages, average strokes on different par holes, best and worst games, total holes played .... the list goes on.

The 3D tournament objects blend in well with the photo realistic background scenes. In fact, the total course environment looks smooth. The golfer animations are very smooth and detailed. Each golfer also has it's own unique reaction to good and bad shots, both in physical reaction as well as audio. These golfer reactions help bring the golfer to life.

The course graphics are fantastic! The courses are presented in such a way that a 3D perspective is gained. The water looks perfect, as do the greens. The sloping effect of the greens is second to none. You'd swear you can actually climb the trees! The rough and the sand traps perhaps may not be as detailed as the rest of the graphics, but then again, you shouldn't be in the rough or sand anyway, right?

Cost Value:
I can't comment on this one, as I am not sure what the release price will be, but reports say it will be around $65.00, or on the average - the same as an average round of golf these days. Defiantly you get your money worth out of Links 2000

Manual:
95 pages of very well thought out and detailed game play information and instructions. And if that isn't enough, the electronic video included on the cd's will be more than enough. They actually make great leisure viewing as well.

Overall Comments:
Computers + Golf = Links 2000 . You haven't played golf on your computer until you have played Links 2000! A real treat!

Review ID Number: 189
  Product Details
Microsoft
Review Date: 2001-04-20
Reviewer: Brad Lawryk
Rating: 10 out of 10
 
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