by Richard C.S. Kinne <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Links Pro, by Access Software, is certainly one of the prettiest games I've seen on the Macintosh. The trees, lawn texture, and golfers are almost photo-realistic. The beauty of the graphics will be the first thing to hit you, and the graphics alone may be worth the purchase price of the software. Not only is the game pretty, but a good bit of thought went into the program's controlling mechanisms and layout as well, so I consider Links Pro a quality product in both form and function.
The beauty and performance do come at a price, and that price is memory. Links Pro is the most memory-hungry game I've seen yet, with suggested memory partition of 8 MB. Thankfully, for those of us working on smaller systems, it will survive in only 2.5 MB if it must. The game is quite playable with less memory than it prefers, but I suspect it would do that much better on what it considers a properly configured system.
Access Software put a good amount of thought into the game's control layout. I especially like the "hot buttons." When choosing a club, for instance, you bring the mouse to the "choose club" panel and (before you even click) Links Pro automatically displays a radio button menu of clubs to choose from. The game also allows for multiple views of your shot on the screen and you can save those wonderful (or amazingly bad) shots or games to disk. You can later play them over again and analyze them, if you wish. If you've ever played a golf game on the Mac before, you'll be able to dive right in without referring to the manual. After you play a few rounds, however, you'll want to refer to the manual to find out about the features you're missing.
One of the neatest features is voice control. If you have an AV Mac or Power Mac you can use voice commands to choose your club and hit your ball. I tried the voice control on my office Quadra 660AV and it did indeed work as advertised. The commands the program accepts are natural enough, but I did find myself referring to the list in the manual every so often to make sure I got things right. I figure if you find yourself using this feature often enough, you'll quickly memorize the program's vocabulary.
You can also create your own fictional golfers and keep statistics on them. They can be male or female, and the game even provides a varied wardrobe! You can print out score cards and statistics, and you can even select background noises so that when you step up to the tee a bird chirps in the background, and when you make your shot you hear applause and comments from your buddies on the green.
Links Pro, about $45 mail order, is a quality game from start to finish. If you have any interest in golf this game would make a fine edition to your software collection.
Access Software -- 800/800-4880