JACK NICKLAUS' UNLIMITED GOLF AND COURSE DESIGN

JACK NICKLAUS' UNLIMITED GOLF AND COURSE DESIGN (phew...you try saying that
three times fast!) is really two separate packages in one. First, there's the
golf simulator: Not the best simulation I've ever run across, but it has superb
graphics, is fairly easy to master, and a lot of fun to play. And then there's
the course designer: I think "wow" sums it up best. (This review is based on the
IBM-PC version.)

JN'S UNLIMITED comes with two courses: Muirfield Village (an actual course in
Ohio designed by Nicklaus), and Bear's Track (a course designed by Nicklaus
specifically for this simulator). Other pre-built courses can be purchased
separately. Diskettes for JN'S GREATEST 18 HOLES OF MAJOR CHAMPIONSHIP GOLF will
work here and, as you'll see, you can build an infinite number of courses
yourself and trade courses with friends. (Incidentally, several courses can be
found in The Gamer's Forum LIBrary 6, three of which were designed by the
co-author of this game. I'm sure more will be showing up there in the future.)

You can select Skins or Stroke play, with from one to four players. The
computer stores a database of players and comes with nine that are pre-defined
(including, of course, Mr. Nicklaus himself). While you can add more, only a
total of sixteen player definitions can be saved. Players are defined by gender
and skill (just "beginner" or "expert"), as well as by which tee (ladies',
men's, or pro) they use, and their average score for the last ten rounds played.
You can mix human and computer players, which lets you play around with Jack.
But be warned: The computer "Jack Nicklaus" is far from perfect, so don't copy
his moves too closely!

When you select a course, you'll receive information about current wind and
course conditions (which can be changed). Now, you can view the course from
several perspectives. There's an overhead view of the entire course, and you can
"walk" the course before playing it, examining any (or all) segments from a 3-D
perspective.

Ready for action? You'll get an overhead view of the hole you're about to play,
as well as a tip from Jack on how to play it. If you're a beginner, your club
will be chosen for you (although you can override the selection); pros must
always select their own clubs. Study the little meter at the bottom left corner
of your screen for wind speed and direction, aim your shot, and take a swing.
There's a "power meter" on the left hand side of the screen. Tap once on the
mouse (or keyboard), and a bar will start ascending. Your second tap determines
the amount of power you'll put into the shot, and your third tap determines
whether your shot will go straight, hook, or slice. This meter is larger than
similar set-ups found on other golf simulators, which may be one reason why I
found JN'S UNLIMITED so easy to play.

You can watch an instant replay of your shots (forward- or reverse-angle), and
there's a "mulligan" option that allows you to retake a tee shot. When you reach
the green, a grid (optional) will appear on screen. This grid helps convey the
3-D layout of the green, which is quite helpful. When you sink your putt, you
hear a digitized "real" sound, and you view the scorecard. Aside from playing a
round, you can also choose to practice an individual hole, or practice at either
the driving range or the practice green.

Throughout, graphics are first rate, and the ball seems to "behave" normally,
reacting to changes in topography, sand traps, trees, wind...you name it. This
program is a very good golf simulator -- not the best on the market, perhaps,
but one that even by itself would be fun enough to recommend.

However, this is not Nicklaus's first computer golf game. He already has four
others available. What sets JN'S UNLIMITED apart from the pack is the Course
Designer, which is loaded with more features than I can begin to describe in
this review (but I'll give it a shot).

Starting from scratch, you can choose from three basic terrains: park,
mountain, and seaside. Everything -- and I do mean everything -- is
configurable. Put your course anywhere you want it. Build hills. Destroy hills.
Put in lakes, re-route rivers, choose from among several different types of
trees, maybe a house here or there. Then, if you want, edit the objects
themselves, and "paint" some backgrounds. Call up the Paint-Bucket and change
things pixel by pixel, or block out areas to fill. In VGA mode, you have sixteen
colors, six standard "brushes," five alternate "stroke" styles to work with.
Obviously, you can try to design computer courses based on actual, "real-world"
courses, or you can go a little crazy, and make courses that'll never exist
anywhere but in your mind (and on your computer).

I know, it sounds complicated, doesn't it? And initially, the fact that the
program comes with a more than 150-page manual would seem to bear that out. But
the Designer is itself so superbly implemented that I built my first course --
admittedly not an award-winner, but playable -- without ever looking at the
docs. It took me perhaps thirty minutes to do eighteen simple holes, and within
seconds I was playing my course! That's the beauty of JN'S UNLIMITED: The
structure is so clear and logical that anyone can work it, painlessly.

The IBM version of the game comes on three 5-1/4" diskettes that can be copied
onto your hard drive. (3-1/2" diskettes are available separately, by mailing an
enclosed coupon with $5.00.) Accolade uses a codewheel for copy protection.

512K of RAM is required, and the program can be controlled either via the
keyboard or a mouse. (A mouse is highly recommended, especially for the Design
section.) Sound support is provided for AdLib, CMS, Tandy 3-Voice, Roland MT-32,
Roland LAPC-1, Casio CT460, and "other MIDI instruments." Aside from sound
effects, various sections of the game include original music.

While JN'S UNLIMITED clearly looks best if you have VGA or MCGA graphics, just
about every video mode is supported (EGA, CGA, MGA, Tandy). VGA graphics are
superbly detailed, and animation throughout is also top-notch, from the ball
rolling on the green to the dust stirred up when you land in a bunker.

JACK NICKLAUS' UNLIMITED GOLF AND COURSE DESIGN is not the ultimate computer
golf simulator, so if that's all you're interested in, you should look elsewhere
(perhaps GREG NORMAN'S SHARK ATTACK). It is fun to play, though; I think I've
logged more rounds at the courses here than in any other golf game I've
encountered. And, if you're the sort of person who wants to design your own
courses, or replicate favorite courses you've played in the past, you can't do
any better than this. The Designer's completeness, as well as its ease of use,
makes it a clear winner.

JACK NICKLAUS' UNLIMITED GOLF AND COURSE DESIGN is published and distributed by
Accolade.

*****DOWNLOADED FROM P-80 SYSTEMS (304) 744-2253

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