Title Nick Faldo's Championship Golf (Second Review) Publisher Grandslam (1992) Game Type Sport Players 1-4 HD Installable No Compatibility AGA; not 040/060; not ESCOM Amigas (DF0: problem) Submission Dennis Smith Profiled Reviewer Review On the face of it, Nick Faldo's is a polished product. It has swish graphics, a well animated golfer, numerous features, an innovative control method and a cheat-mode 9-hole course on Mars. What more could you ask for? Well, I've just loaded it up and played half a round to remind myself. Now I've put it back in its box and I may never get it out again. So what went wrong? It's too hard, that's what. Uncompromisingly so - if you make a tiny mistake, you're well and truly punished for it. I'm a real pro at contemporary games like PGA Tour and Microprose Golf, but in my quick knockabout with this game, I was about 30 over par after 9 holes. Sure, I've not played it in a while; with practice I will undoubtedly get better. But I don't want any more practice and with plenty of other golf games to choose from, I won't be looking back. And to try to keep my pride intact, I'm going to explain why I think it's the game's fault, and not mine. And it's not just that it's the only golf game I have that can't be installed to the hard drive... At first glance it's a standard first-person golf game. But it tries to do things differently and that may be its main mistake. The problems seem to arise from that innovative control method. Most games go by the three click method: start your shot, then click at the right time to select power, then a third time to determine accuracy. In Nick Faldo's Championship Golf, the programmers have sought something original, and well, they obviously tried too hard. Power selection is by means of a simple bar that is selected before the shot is played. Curiously, with the higher clubs (woods and low-numbered irons) you can only play high-power shots. When you play the shot, a meter rises, much like any other golf game, but here you have to double-click within a certain zone. The more powerful the club, the smaller this zone is. This seems clever until you have to do it over and over. To realistically, consistently double-click in the zone for the driver, you must hold the mouse with one hand and poise the clicking finger of your other hand over the button, jabbing down in rapid succession at the right time. This is not a comfortable control method and I quickly tire of it. There is another small zone for wrist snap which you can try for to increase the power of your shot - this only takes one click, thankfully. Furthermore, though the power bar is graded in percentage, it's not at all clear what it's a percentage of. It certainly isn't a percentage of the distance that the ball will be hit, which makes accurate play even harder. And then there are the greens: a grid is laid out to show you the undulations of each green but the grid lines are so far apart - about 5 yards apart! - that they might as well not be present at all. Then there's the unforgiving rough. Once you're in the rough, you're in trouble. Maybe this reflects the real game of golf - that it takes a real pro to play a good shot from bad lie. But I don't want my computer games to frustrate me this much. There doesn't seem to be much indication before you take the shot as to whether it will sail through the air or bounce a few yards across the ground. It seems that the left-right angle that you're aiming at can make a difference, which is unforgivable if you ask me. Golf games use the ability to aim left or right without moving the golfer as a shorthand because you don't want to redraw the whole screen every time you shift your aim by a degree or two. Nick Faldo's Golf is not so accommodating. There's a coaching mode, which is a nice idea, but though it gives a little something extra to the game, it is crippled by a couple of nasty shots you're invited to play that seem to require pixel-perfect precision - with no way to skip them. And for all it's worth, there's no championship, despite the inclusion of the word in the title. Yes, you can play both strokeplay and matchplay, but that's about it - choose some friends or increasingly fiendish computer opponents to play against and see who wins. All in all this is a stylish game that is badly let down by its weak playability.