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Gremlin Interactive



Gremlin Interactive

1-4 Players

Game Type

Sports Sim

Mem. Card

Review Date

September 1997

Multi Tap

Setting the Scene

As the professional golfing season draws to a close (now that the 'small' matter of the Ryder Cup has been settled), you may wonder how the sports top names will be unwinding during the winter break.
Well, I know the answer, and I'll let you into a little secret.
They will be transformed into polygons and then crawl inside your Playstation to take part in the best golfing game that has appeared on any video game console.

Golf has changed on the Playstation. Big style.


The second in Gremlin's Actua Golf series.


So where do we start with the graphics? The exciting news is that Actua Golf 2 is no quick cash in as it is now superbly presented by the use of their updated graphics engine which shows off many new effects including improved texture mapped landscapes and new scenery, water reflections and a selection of brand new courses.

First sight left me feeling that the courses looked a little cartoony but this is in fact the depth of the color used. The grass is very impressive with the rich fairways looking inviting as hollows and bumps are nicely shaded to indicate which direction your ball will roll on contact.

Once again the participating golfers have been animated using the realistic motion-capture technique.

The most obvious use of the 3D polygon environment is in the many viewing angles that are once again available by using the free-floating player controllable camera.

Sounds and Effects

Commentary will be once again provided by Peter Allis and BBC radio commentator Alex Hay to dissect each shot that you play, while each of the commentators may be used individually or mixed accordingly.

The accuracy is unbelievable and unlike many other sports games, it follows each shot quickly and fluidly. Comments range from the complementary to the positively insulting, such as "If that ball had a body, it would be up to it's neck in sand."

Before you tee off, you can sit back and listen to the soothing tones of Peter describing the dangers surrounding the current hole, while the camera pans from tee to green. He will often include the odd anecdote from his past to describe weather conditions such as 'An old caddie once said to me "there's a lot of wind out there that you cannot see".


Actua Golf 2 keeps up with the Actua tradition by offering a wealth of options.

In the past, most golfing games have been a little shy in the course selection department offering, at best, a couple of fantasy courses to play over and over again. Actua Golf 2 provides an awesome SIX golfing venues. There are three fantasy courses based on a selection of real holes from some of the best courses in the world. The greatest news of all, however, is that for the first time three real-world courses have been mapped, modelled and reproduced for you to play. Now that's VFM.
The Oxfordshire is the venue for the Benson & Hedges International Open which is the first of the major PGA tournaments.
Kiawah Islands is a top American PGA course and Ryder Cup venue.
The trio is complete with arguably that most famous of Scottish links courses Carnoustie, which will host the British Open in 1999.
The fantasy courses include Sunny Green Country Club, a misty Japanese course which is set in a dense forest.
Orange Rock Golf Course is set in the heart of the desert where patches of greens and fairways are surrounded by baking sands where the cacti grow. Miss the fairway and your in one hell of a bunker.
Forest Downs is the final fantasy course that is set in the heart of England.

There is also a bonus course that takes the form of the Gremlin Interactive Variety Course where the player can select 18 individual holes from the six available courses or simply select a random 18 where the computer will make your choice for you.

On loading the game you are presented with a tidy options screen that allows you to customize your playing habit. The game options are plentiful with the availability of a practice session, strokeplay, matchplay, skins, foursomes and fourball.

Practice sessions allow you to select any of the holes from all of the courses, or try out the new driving range and pitch and putt modes. The driving range allows you to pick up a basket of balls and strike them down an actual range that has distance markers and target areas. Pitch and putt places you in a central area surrounded by 9 holes, each with a par 2. This allows you to hone your pitching and putting skills before you take to the course.

The competitions have an ingenious format where you must first enter an Amateur match with a handicap of 28 strokes. After each single round contest your handicap is reviewed, with the eventual target to be playing off scratch. Once this status is reached you will be offered to join the Pro Tour where you will take on the best golfers in Gremlins little world of golf ,over a selection of four day / 72 hole competitions for the top prizes. When the tour is over, the bottom six golfers are relegated back to an Amateur status where they must once again play out the AMA Tour to regain pro status. This creates a league system that will hold your attention for quite some time.

Further options allow you to set up and name your golfer, which should be saved on a memory card to avoid repeating this process. This will also allow your golfers career statistics to be recorded showing your triumphs, longest drives, average shots per hole and most importantly your earnings.

The game options may be set prior to your tee off, in effect this is a difficulty setting that allows gimmie's, mulligans, hole maps, putting grids or driving arcs but these options may be altered during the course of play. There is a new option which allows you to skip the CPU shots. When selected this speeds up play in the tournaments as your opponents shot takes only a couple of seconds.

One of the major improvements will be the inclusion of a selection of new shots that the golfer can play. Ball logic has been significantly improved allowing more shot types. It will now be possible for the player to include backspin in his repertoire of shots, which was sadly missing from the first Actua Golf game. High lobs and splash shots will also be a welcome addition.

Striking of the ball once again requires the usual accurate pressing of the X button three times and a sweet connection is rewarded with a perfect shot. The all new swingometer displays a caddie line at the top of the arc and a snap line at the bottom. Stopping the indicator before the snap line will hook the ball while after will slice it, either will produce an out of control shot.

Golfing games are all fairly similar in the striking department but they will prove successful or fail miserably by the way that the ball reacts on the course. Actua Golf has achieved a challenging 3D environment where your ball will react to the surrounding that it lands on. If your ball lands in the rough, it will grind to a sudden halt and a connection with a tree will see your ball rebound from the trunk as if it had just struck a brick wall. Leaves and bushes will stop your ball in mid-flight and drop dead to the ground. Landing on a hillside will roll your ball down the bank to befall whatever danger lurks at the bottom. Bunkers see your ball bury in the sand and can now become plugged providing an explosion of loose grains scattering across the course. If your ball lands off the fairway you must chip it back onto the playing surface rather than select your Big Bertha and drive for the green which was a failing in the original game. It all works quite well and provides an excellent challenge that does justice to the sport.

Weather condition will affect your game and you must adjust your style to suit. Wet fairways will dramatically reduce the roll of your ball while a dry landing will see it bounding off into the distance. Wind must be judged and counteracted with the available option to draw and fade or it will fly of into the distance and most probably out of bounds.

Value for Money

I enjoyed the challenge of reducing my handicap in a AMA Tour, with the amateur opposition providing a stronger test than the original game. On reaching PRO status, the big boys enter the scene allowing you to pit your skills against most of the worlds top golfing names such as Tiger Woods, Nick Faldo, Ernie Els and Greg Norman.

Of the many new features the most impressive were the new Driving Range, Pitch and Putt, the Auto CPU, shorter loading times, the six challenging courses and of course the great new look.

If you don't own a golf game then I can heartily recommend that you pick up a copy of Actua Golf 2. If there's already one gathering dust on the shelves then trade it in and amaze yourself at the improvements.





Although nothing can compare to playing the actual sport of golf, Gremlin have achieved a milestone in video game sport that will take an age to surpass. The superb 3 D technology and wealth of options will keep the armchair fan content throughout the long winter break. Actua Golf 2 is so much more playable than the original with good shots more likely to be rewarded with an Eagle while wayward drives are severely penalized. Just like the actual sport. Excellent.








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