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Game Over Online ~ PGA Championship Golf 2000

GameOver Game Reviews - PGA Championship Golf 2000 (c) Sierra Sports, Reviewed by - Cody Nicholson

Game & Publisher PGA Championship Golf 2000 (c) Sierra Sports
System Requirements Win 9x, Pentium 133, 32MB Ram, 80MB HDD, 4x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 88%
Date Published Friday, June 23rd, 2000 at 02:25 PM

Divider Left By: Cody Nicholson Divider Right

With the embarrassing release of NFL Football Pro 99 in January of 1999, the Sierra Sports label finished digging its own grave. Several of their franchises, including their baseball and football series, were retired from play. Other Sierra Sports franchises never even saw the light of day. When all was said and done, only a few properties were kept alive. Thankfully, their PGA Championship Golf label was one of those series. Over the past few years, PC golf games have become stagnant. Whether it be the highly acclaimed Links LS series or EA Sports' Tiger Woods series, each of them has seemingly hit a roadblock in terms of advancing the sport on the PC. Enter PGA Championship Golf 2000 from Sierra, arguably one of the best golf simulations ever to be released for the PC. Why is that you ask? Let's have a look see.

PGA Championship Golf 2000 offers several modes of play from the start-up menu. The Quick Start mode allows you to skip over the usual setup sequence and jump right into a round of golf using the game's default settings. There's also a Practice Game mode, which is perfect for improving your golfing skills such as putting, driving and chipping. The Practice Game mode lets you play any hole on any of the 13 courses provided with PGA Championship Golf 2000. A Tournament mode is also available, allowing you to set up a weekend tournament that can last anywhere from a single round of golf (18 holes) all the way up to 4 rounds of golf (72 holes). The Tournament mode features all the bells and whistles you'd normally find in a golf game including the numerous styles of play (stroke, skins, etc.).

One of the highlights of PGA Championship Golf 2000 is the Season mode. In this mode, you can actually create your own PGA tour. You get to select the courses included on the tour, the prize money made available for each and every tournament, the field in which you'll get to compete against and even the qualifications for each of the events (the cut line, etc.). The number of options available in the Season mode is tremendous and it allows for an incredible amount of replayability that most other golf titles lack. You can play multiple seasons that include career statistics for each and every golfer involved. To top it off, you can even create a women's season or a season for amateurs. One of the few issues with the Season mode is the lack of an aging system. If you play a number of seasons in a row, golfers don't seem to age well. It would have been great to see the younger golfers improve with solid seasons, or older golfers worsen as their skills deteriorate over the years. None the less, the Season mode is where PGA Championship Golf 2000 shines above the crowd.

PGA Championship Golf 2000 includes a couple of very powerful tools as well. First up is the golfer editor, which allows you to create your very own unique golfer. While most other golf titles are satisfied with the usual editor options (such as shirt colour, sex, club selection, etc.), PGA Championship Golf 2000 allows you to really get into the specifics of your golfer. For example, you can select multiple clothing styles because in essence, is there really a golfer who wears the same outfit every time he plays golf? Such attention to detail is what really makes PGA Championship Golf 2000 stand above the crowd. You'll also be able to mould your golfer with various abilities, skills and AI options. Once your golfer is created, you'll be able to follow their careers via an extensive statistics package.

Besides the golfer editor, PGA Championship Golf 2000 also comes with a course editor reminiscent of the Jack Nicklaus days. With this powerful tool, you'll be able to dawn the architect's cap and create your own courses to include on your very own PGA tour. There are various tutorials available to show you how to use the course editor and while it might take you a few courses to get the tool down pat, it only sweetens the gaming experience once you've mastered it's use. As mentioned earlier, there are 13 courses included in PGA Championship Golf 2000 and while some of them are based on real-life counterparts, a number of them are fantasy courses that were created using this course editor.

To top things off, PGA Championship Golf 2000 features one of the most innovative swing methods found in any golf title available today, the TrueSwing 3. Those of you who might have played last year's edition of PGA Championship Golf may remember how choppy and uncontrollable the TrueSwing method was. I have good news for those folks though, TrueSwing 3 is as good as it's ever been. What really separates the TrueSwing 3 method from other such methods found in other golf titles is the fact that TrueSwing 3 is done in real time. As you pull your mouse back, the golf club in your player's hand actually swings back in real-time. If you want to hit the ball long and straight, you'll have to be fluid moving your mouse in both directions. You can do this on a vertical or a horizontal plane as well, so those of you whose mouse doesn't move very well in one direction, just switch it up. If your mouse doesn't move well in a number of directions, I'd suggest you stick with the generic three-click method that I'm sure we've all become extremely familiar with. If you're not a fan of the three-click method however, this new and improved TrueSwing 3 method will knock your socks off.

Ok, so we've seen that PGA Championship Golf 2000 offers a number of unique and powerful features, but what about the generic features? PGA Championship Golf 2000 features incredibly realistic ball physics. Balls roll, bounce and spin with incredible realism. Slices and hooks seem to do so in a much more realistic manner as well. I was pleasantly surprised by the ball physics as compared to the physics in previous years. As with any other golf title, you'll be able to make any kind of shot type you wish. If you want to put backspin on the ball, you can do so with the click of a mouse. One area I wasn't too pleased with was the lack of weather and wind conditions. Winds can be gusting at incredible speeds but it doesn't seem to affect the ball as much as it should. This is one area they could certainly improve on in future updates.

Graphically, PGA Championship Golf 2000 doesn't quite look as good as the Links LS or Tiger Woods series. The visuals lack that level of realism that other golf titles take pride on. It's hard to describe the visuals in PGA Championship Golf 2000, they aren't quite cartoony but they just aren't up to par with some of the major players. If it's realism you're looking for in terms of presentation, you might be a little disappointed with PGA Championship Golf 2000. That's not to say the visuals are poor though, they are extremely crisp at the maximum resolution (1920x1600). In terms of the audio, little is offered outside of the generic sound effects you'd expect to find in any golf title. Whether it be the sounds of nature or the crisp sound of a good golf shot, it's here, not that it isn't anywhere else. The play-by-play is also fairly generic. I've yet to see a golf simulation that really takes the commentary to the next level.

PGA Championship Golf 2000 isn't without an issue or two. Besides the lack of weather effects, there also seems to be an issue with driving distances. It seems to misjudge driving distances by more than 100 yards. This is especially noticeable when some of the stronger players only drive an average of 160 yards. It's just a statistical problem though, it doesn't actually misjudge the actual shots off the tee. PGA Championship Golf also lacks TCP/IP support, which is critical for a golf title. It still supports multiplayer games via modem, LAN and, but here's to hoping TCP/IP is added in the future. Another issue with PGA Championship Golf 2000 is the long loading times. It seemed to be constantly checking the CD, so those on lower-end systems might have a few delays during play.

When all is said and done, and we're off to the 19th hole, PGA Championship Golf 2000 is arguably one of the best golf simulations available for the PC. With it's powerful golfer and course editors, its innovative and unique TrueSwing 3 feature and it's incredible Season Mode, PGA Championship Golf 2000 is definitely on the leader board if not leading the pack.


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