World Class Leader Board
James V. Trunzo
Requirements: Commodore 64, Apple II series (with a minimum of 64K), and IBM PC and compatibles (with a minimum of 256K).
If, by the time this is published, playing 18 holes is just a memory of last summer, you'll be thrilled to know that you can vicariously exercise your passion for golf through the use of a new software simulation. On the other hand, if you are reading this in a place where the sun is scorching, you can delight in the knowledge that you can beat the heat, stay indoors, and still "hit the links" each day. Either of the above scenarios can be accomplished simply by loading World Class Leader Board into your computer.
World Class Leader Board from Access Software isn't the first arcade-style golf simulator, but it's got to be one of the best. A simulation of this type needs to possess three key ingredients if it expects to gain recognition in the competitive field of sports simulations: It must be challenging, yet fair; it must faithfully simulate the sport; and it must be aesthetically pleasing. World Class Leader Board exceeds the norm in all three categories.
Like The Real Thing—Tough
To begin with, the game starts as a challenge and remains one in such a manner as to parallel the real sport of golf. Being an arcade game, World Class Leader Board requires good hand/eye coordination and concentration (the two really go together). So does the real game. And like the real game, this simulation rewards and punishes each drive, each approach shot, and each putt in such a gradient manner that if your timing on any given day is off just a little, the result is, at best, a par, but more likely a bogey. Therefore, even after playing hundreds of holes, you no more master the game than does a Greg Norman or an Arnold Palmer. If your hand/eye coordination is off more than a little, well, head for the nineteenth hole.
On the other hand, when it all comes together—when your backswing generates maximum power and your wristsnap guarantees a straight flight—World Class Leader Board provides you with such a sense of accomplishment that you want to throw your imaginary golf club high in the air and shake hands with your caddie. The game provides this thrill, in a large part, through its excellent graphics and animation.
The graphics in World Class Leader Board are a delight. Two views are available as you play each hole. A Top View provides you with an overview of the entire hole, citing your current position. The most commonly used view, however, is a full-screen view seen from behind a highly detailed golfer figure.
Commodore 64 version of World Class Leader Board.
The latter view clearly delineates fairways, rough, greens, and obstacles such as trees, water, and sandtraps in a realistic and functional manner. Furthermore, considering how much detail has gone into displaying each hole (up to 196 trees per hole, for example), the screens are quickly drawn and redrawn when shifting from view to view or moving from stroke to stroke. This is a bonus, because some simulations tend to get bogged down bécause of the time delay between actions.
As mentioned, the graphics are not only aesthetically pleasing, but also functional, a factor which ċannot be underestimated—in a game of this type, part of the vicarious experience is "seeing" what you have done as opposed to just knowing you drove the ball 250 yards or missed a putt by inches. In World Class Leader Board, every hook, slice, chip shot, and putt are accurately displayed. You literally see a putt slowly curving towards the hole—or popping over it if you've putted too hard. You see the ball bounce off the flag when you've hit a perfect 9-iron shot—or bounce off of a tree trunk when your shot leaves the fairway. You hear the plop when the putt sinks into the hole—or into the water. No detail has been ignored by Access in designing this game.
World Class Leader Board—Apple II Version.
World Class Leader Board—IBM PC and compatibles version.
The golfer figure itself is also worth mentioning. Full-figured, the golfer is an integral part of the game. You measure his backswing and follow through in two ways. The first, obviously, is by watching the animated figure; the second way is by watching sidebars that gauge power, snap, and distance. These sidebars work in sync with the golfer to produce all shots taken during the course of play. Incidentally, all choices and actions can be controlled through a joystick or the keyboard.
World Class Leader. Board provides the player with a complete choice of clubs: 3 woods, 9 irons, a pitching wedge and a putter. Each club produces a range of results realistic to the type of club used and dependent upon how cleanly the ball is hit. You can also choose various power levels to alter the distance produced by each club within its given parameters.
Actual play mirrors reality almost too closely when you have a stroke like mine. Four courses are available for play: St. Andrews, the Doral Country Club, Cypress Creek, and a course known forebodingly as the Gauntlet. As expected, each course is an exact replica of the original, with obstacles and hazards placed in frustratingly challenging (but realistic) positions. Putting greens are sloped, and players must correctly read the break as well as recognize whether or not he is putting uphill or down. As if these factors weren't enough, Access has added a wind factor that can range from a refreshing breeze to a gale that affects all shots.
It's obvious that World Class Leader Board can claim excellence in all the crucial areas needed to make it a top-flight game. Nevertheless, Access goes that extra step to make the game even better. Consider the following features:
- A course editor which allows you to create your own course by choosing from among the 72 holes present in the game.
- Practice driving ranges and putting greens to sharpen your game before competition. This not only gives you the opportunity to learn how to drive the ball straight, it also allows you to learn to slice and hook to your advantage.
- One to four players may compete at individual difficulty levels. This permits various types of handicapping. The Kids Level, for example, eliminates all slices, hooks, and wind factors. On the Pro Level, putting becomes a true art form.
- Printed scorecards can be obtained at the end of 18, 35, 54 or 72 holes (depending upon user's choice of number of holes).
- Realistic penalties are assessed for landing in water, there's true dampening of shots when hitting from the rough, and you encounter life-like difficulty when blasting out of a sandtrap.
Worth noting, too, is the fact that Access is intent on supporting World Class Leader Board. Additional 18-hole course layouts for use with this game are available.
World Class Leader Board is an excellent buy for both the casual sports enthusiast and the avid golfer. It scores an eagle in all departments.
World Class Leader Board
2561 S. 1560 West
Woods Cross, Utah 84087
$39.95 Commodore 64 and Apple II series versions
$44.95 IBM PC and compatibles version
Additional course disks: $19.95