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Review by: Shawn Quigley
Published: May 22, 1997
It all began before our time, at the 12-hole Prestwick Links on the west coast of Scotland in 1860. The British Open, the oldest and longest running tournament in professional golf. Never before has a golfing simulation taken on the task or re-creating a “live” tournament until Looking Glass Technologies British Open Championship Golf.
As the name implies, British Open Championship Golf is a simulation based on the actual tournament. What really separated this simulation from the others is its ability to immerse you into the feel of a “live” tournament. The game comes with a tournament license and promises to re-create the actual look and feel of the tournament as we see it today.
The are a few other differences apart from the British Open license that add the overall feel of the game. During the tournament, there is color commentary by ABC Sports Jim McKay. Anyone who has ever watched a golf tournament has heard Jim McKay’s legendary golf coverage voice. The game includes two courses, the Old Course at St. Andrews and the legendary Royal Troon. Both courses offer a vast history and difficult settings to add to the flavor of the British Open.
British Open Championship Golf is a native Windows 95 game and requires DirectX 3.0 or greater to run. This being the case, installation was rather easy. The actual running of the game was one of the cleanest I have ever played. Unlike many other games out there today, I was able to toggle back and forth from Windows to BOCG from time to time without any hitches.
Like most other golfing simulations, hitting the ball is controlled by clicking the mouse and is depicted much like Jack Nicklaus 4. Aiming is accomplished by placing a pole to the point you would like to hit, similar to Links LS. After having chosen the direction to hit the ball, the meter reflects via yellow arrows the intensity required to hit that distance. This made it easier to hit the correct distance.
There are different modes of play other than the actual tournament and different players to play against. You have the opportunity to play either Match, Stroke, Best-Ball, practice, or play in the British Open. All are exciting to play, but the heart of the game lies in tournament play.
While playing in the tournament you are kept constantly aware that you are actually playing in the tournament. Between each hole the leaderboard is displayed showing the current status of the field. You are also kept up to date in the tournament while playing through the color commentary. Before each shot you can ask your caddie for advice, at which point he will pull out his information sheet and give you the ability to learn more about the hole. This is a really cool feature. The caddie reacts to all your shots and actually acts like he should. If you watch him, sometimes he will push his hands through his hair and do other stupid things while waiting for you to hit the ball.
There are realistic weather conditions that affect play. The golf ball travels and reacts like the real thing thanks to a realistic physics model built into the game. Combine that model with the effects of mother nature and you have a difficulty level introduced to already difficult golf courses. The first time you have to hit out of a steep sand trap with the wind blowing and the crowd roaring you will realize the excitement surrounding pro golf.
Looking Glass has teamed up with GolfWeb to provide theVirtual Open. This is the British Open held through the Web and anybody can enter if they own a copy of British Open Championship Golf. The tournament will take place over the next couple of weeks with the finals sometime during the summer months.
By bringing the first licensed tournament to your desktop, Looking Glass Technologies has accomplished something that other simulations try through graphics and features — realism. Looking Glass has a good foot on the ground and has built a framework for what could be the perfect front for a golfing simulation. Maybe someday we will see a tournament such as the Masters!
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