Fore!

Published Date
01 - Nov - 2005
| Last Updated
01 - Nov - 2005
 
Fore!
First things first: I'm no good at golf. And playing this game for a period of about three weeks has further confirmed the belief that I perhaps never will be. Even against the computer. Why? Because Tiger Woods PGA Tour 06 is just too realistic! If I wanted the wind to swerve away every drive, or bow to the whims and fancies of every putting green, I would go to a real golf course and not waste time trying to cheat the computer, would I? Oh well, call me geeky if you will, but I would, and I did!

Anyway, the fact that the game is too realistic is perhaps its greatest USP. In fact, I would go so far as to say that this game could even be enjoyed thoroughly by those who actually play the real thing. The physics is simply marvellous, and things like the angle at which your club hits the ball in the downswing also affect the final outcome of your shot.

Creating a player is one of the most enjoyable experiences of this game. Unfortunately, you can't upload your own photo to make it more realistic. What you can do, however, is choose his hair length, colour, cut style, clothes, shoes, glasses, cap, wrist band, height, weight, face characteristics, eyebrow length, size of the mole under your left eye and the weight around the midsection. I'm not kidding!

There is $100,000 allotted to a pro-level player (if that's your choice of level) or $10,000 to a novice to buy all the equipment and compete in the first year. Any earnings you make along the way are added, and this is used to determine your standing in the money list of the PGA Tour (or the Hacks Tour).  

There are many ways you can tee off and start playing. You could choose an existing player-anyone, from Arjun Atwal to Tiger Woods-and just get on the tour and compete with the best. Or, you could put your name on the scoreboard and risk losing some pride! Trust me, playing in this game, you will!

If you really want to get a hang of the game and learn the ropes, you can start as a novice and work your way up the local league (including friendly matches against office managers!) and earn your Tour Card.
Publisher: EA Sports
Minimum System Configuration : Pentium III or Athlon 1 GHz, 256 MB RAM, 32 MB OpenGL Graphics Card, DirectX 9.0c compatibility
Price : Rs 1,299
Available in India through: Gayatri Impex 
Playing the game is easy, and you can choose from one of four available modes of hitting the ball-TrueSwing (Horizontal or Vertical), 2-Click and 3-Click. The TrueSwing modes are the best: they give you realistic control over how hard and accurately you hit the ball without having to keep track of rotating dials and power bars.

Player animation and the details on the golf courses (eight of them) are fantastic. One hitch here is that the player face (as seen on the scorecard) and the actual face (the one that is playing) don't match-a bug perhaps.

On the whole, though, if you like greens and have a strong heart, this is Rs 1,299 well spent.

A word of advice: Keep all warm beverages out of reach when playing, especially when teeing off!
Seriously, Now! 
Perhaps the most awaited sequel of this year, Serious Sam 2 is finally here. We reviewed the demo, which is provided with this magazine's CD

To begin with, the demo seemed really small in terms of file size! Just about 250 MB for a proper FPS game demo is sort of odd these days. I crossed my fingers and installed anyway.

The test bed was an AMD Athlon 64 3200 (939 pin), 1 GB DDR 400 MHz Transcend RAM, MSI RS480 MII motherboard, 80 GB SATA Seagate Barracuda hard drive, and a 256 MB 6600 GT PCIe graphics card. The intro cut scene was funny, as usual, and then the killing began!

Before I tell you more, you should know that Serious Sam has always been anything but serious! Don't expect realism and don't think that it's anything like Half-Life 2, DOOM 3 or F.E.A.R. This game is, and always has been, a funny FPS with stupid-looking monsters, weird weapons and great 3D backgrounds!

The settings interface is clean and easy to navigate. The game automatically sets the ideal graphics settings for your configuration-of course, I changed it all to the highest settings, not really giving a damn if it framed, so long as it was beautiful!

I entered the game and these weird-looking things shot green blobs at Sam. Of course, Sam promptly picked up weapons and ammo and began the carnage. Soon after, he picked up a parrot, (yes, a parrot that carries a bomb). Eager to use this cool weapon, Sam went looking for more monsters! The search didn't last long-as soon as he approached some enemies, stupidly standing around doing absolutely nothing, the game froze.

The sound looped, the video stayed still: the game had just hung! I pressed [Esc], hoping I wouldn't have to do a cold reboot. It worked! The game menu popped up after 10 seconds, and I clicked 'Resume Game', hoping the bug would just go away-but it didn't. I quit the game and immediately went online, searching for some feedback from others. I found that many people were facing the same problem. Then I saw a patch for the demo. Oh well!

Anyway, long story short, even the patch didn't work, and the game kept hanging intermittently. I still played it anyway, exiting after every hang, and then restarting and continuing from where I had left off. Yes, the game was fun enough for me to bear with such nonsense-the other Digit team members in my bay had to put up with sudden screams of anguish (and expletives), but I couldn't care less-after all, this was Serious Sam 2!

So how is the game?
With advanced features such as High Dynamic Range (HDR) rendering, the Serious engine is great for this game. CroTeam, the Croatian developers of the game and the engine, have done a decent job with everything. Even the AI is not completely stupid, though nowhere near intelligent. Serious Sam has always been about hordes of easy-to-kill enemies attacking at once, not about a few smart enemies that are hard to kill!

Overall, the enemy bosses seem too easy to kill… the monsters have weird flat textures, which is only funny for a while, after which it starts to look shabby! There's already a Serious Sam 2 Demo #2 out, which fixes the bugs of the first demo and adds a level to shut up the dissenting fans-in our humble opinion, you're better off downloading the second demo. We'll provide it on our December DVD.

If you just cannot wait, like me, install this demo and give it a try. If you're a Serious Sam fan like I am, it will be worth it-well, barely worth it. If you're not a fan, wait till we provide the second demo, because this one just does not do justice!


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