Game Over Online ~ Myrtle Beach Tour

GameOver Game Reviews - Myrtle Beach Tour (c) Friendly Software, Reviewed by - Drexel Spivey

Game & Publisher Myrtle Beach Tour (c) Friendly Software
System Requirements Pentium 200, 32MB Ram, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 80%
Date Published Monday, February 21st, 2000 at 01:04 AM

Divider Left By: Drexel Spivey Divider Right

Friendly Software is no stranger to the game of golf. They developed such golfing titles as Greg Norman Ultimate Challenge Golf, Microsoft Golf 98 and Microsoft Golf 99. When Microsoft purchased Access Software, they scrapped the Microsoft Golf series in favour of the highly acclaimed Links LS collection, a decision that didn't come as a surprise but one that left Friendly Software in the cold. Not for very long though, as Friendly Software began development on Golf Magazine's Myrtle Beach Tour.

Myrtle Beach Tour is a golfing experience unlike any we've seen before. How is that you ask? Simply because it's FREE! Not only that, it's a damn fine round of golf to boot, which really isn't a surprise considering it's coming from a development house that knows a thing or two about golf. If you haven't already rushed over to their website for more details about how you can get your free copy of Myrtle Beach Tour, let's find out what this game is all about.

Is Myrtle Beach Tour really free? It certainly is, if you have the bandwith and/or the time to download your free copy, otherwise you can send a small fee to receive your very own CD of the game. If you don't have the bandwith and/or the time needed, you can still download certain portions of the game. The only necessary download is about 40 megs in size and includes the installation and basic files needed to play a fully working version of Myrtle Beach Tour. There are also a number of Add-ons available at your disposal, including fly-by videos, commentary, audio help, tutorials, skins, and much more. The Add-ons are as small as 4 megs and as large as 70 megs for the commentary. Two hundred and sixty-seven megs later, you'll have the full version of Myrtle Beach Tour at your fingertips.

So why is Myrtle Beach Tour free? Myrtle Beach Tour is more than just a golf simulation. It, along with future "The Tours" courses, also act as promotional models for the particular course at hand. It acts as a traveller's guide in many ways. It promotes golf resorts and other businesses related to the featured course. Not only does it simulate the course with incredible precision, it also allows you to plan a vacation or trip to that particular course (Myrtle Beach in this case) if you're looking to do so. Upon loading up, the game presents an opening screen, which not only allows you to begin a round of golf but also presents options that will allow you to browse key attractions and promotional accommodations surrounding the course. Advertisements within the game which allow the title to be distributed at relatively no cost. It's certainly a departure from the standard publishing model, but one that will certainly be welcomed by golfers alike.

Enough about the free hype, is this game any good? It certainly is. Myrtle Beach Golf uses an engine that is essentially an upgrade from the Microsoft Golf 99 Edition but in all honesty, you shouldn't expect anything in Myrtle Beach Golf that we haven't seen in other golf games out there. Golf simulations have hit a snag in recent years, as very few of them have shown the ability to significantly improve on versions from previous years. In this case, Myrtle Beach Tour features the regular assortment of features and options you'd find in any other golf game.

Graphically, Myrtle Beach Tour is right on par with some of the best in the business. The pre-rendered 3D courses, at high resolution, are spectacular. Player animations are incredibly realistic and along with the skin packs, you can basically customize just about every aspect of your golfer. Impressive fly-by videos are also available and allow the planning of each and every shot. Myrtle Beach Golf still suffers from the same visual problems that we've seen in many other golf titles though. When standing beside actual objects on the course, such as trees and other obstacles, the graphics go from being beautiful, to pitiful. I've yet to see a golf title that is able to hold a brilliant level of detail at all visual ranges. In terms of the audio, Myrtle Beach Tour once again remains with the pack. The usual ambient sounds are used and, if needed, helpful audio shot advice is available upon request. If anything, I found that some of the ambient sounds were a little overbearing at points in the game.

In terms of gameplay, Myrtle Beach Tour has all the right shots. There are 5 modes of play including Match, Skins, Stroke, Scramble and Bingo Bango Bongo. When creating your golfer, you can select individual player characteristics along with club selection. There are multiple pin and tee locations. Variable course weather conditions are available to choose from or you can allow the computer to select random conditions. There are 4 different swing modes to choose from as well. You can use your mouse to control your swing or, if you prefer, the always comfortable 2 or 3 click methods, where you simply click on your mouse button for both distance and ball control. Finally, there's a Sim method, which Friendly Software has implemented in their continuing efforts to make their golf games as realistic as possible. There are multiple view modes in case your ball is stuck behind or in front of a tree, so you can re-position the camera for a better view of the shot. Do most of these gameplay features sound familiar? They probably do, since many of them exist in other golf titles out there.

In terms of multiplayer, Myrtle Beach Tour offers the full compliment of choices. There is full Internet capability, so at the click of a mouse you can login for free online events and matchmaking. Golf Magazine's website is updated frequently with scores from each round as well as tournament play, so you can always check their site for the latest scores to see who's winning. It also tracks cumulative stats for each golfer.

Myrtle Beach Tour isn't without a setback or two. By the name of the game itself, Myrtle Beach Tour features only one 18-hole course, that being the beautiful Myrtle Beach course in South Carolina. So replay value is limited in that respect. There's only so many times you can play the same course before it becomes a little repetitive, no matter how good the game is. Friendly Software and Golf Magazine have promised that course add-ons will be released as frequently as possible to expand on this great concept. As long as they come through on that statement, "The Tours" could become a fantastic collection of free courses that might give Links LS a thing or two to think about. Besides the lack of courses at this point in time, I found the swing sensitivity to be a little rough. I found myself slicing or pulling the ball far too much, even if I missed the control meter by a single marker. Perhaps that's a personal rant on my golfing skills and perhaps as I play Myrtle Beach Tour some more, I'll get the hang of it, but for beginners, it could present a problem or two.

Friendly Software and Golf Magazine have aimed at creating a realistic and affordable golf simulation with an expanding set of courses. So far, they've hit well with Myrtle Beach Tour. If they manage to produce more courses and more add-ons for this unique and engaging golf title, it could potentially be a huge product. After all, it's already an affordable alternative to the Links LS series and it plays just about as well too.

Graphics [16/20]
Sound [11/15]
Gameplay [24/30]
Funfactor [16/20]
Multiplayer [5/5]
Overall Impression [8/10]


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