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PlayStation Game and Hardware Reviews

Developer: EA Sports OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: EA 1-4 Player
Game Type: Sports Memory Card
Review Date: January 1999 Dual Shock/Analog Compatible

Setting the Scene

Born on December 30, 1975, Tiger grew up in Cypress, California, 35 miles southeast of Los Angeles. He is the son of Earl Woods, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army, and his wife, Kultida, a native of Thailand. He was nicknamed "Tiger" after a Vietnamese soldier and friend of his father, Vuong Dang Phong who also has that nickname.

Eldrick "Tiger" Woods, now 23 years of age, compiled one of the most impressive amateur records in golf history, winning six USGA national championships before turning professional on August 27, 1996. He concluded his amateur career by winning an unprecedented third consecutive U.S. Amateur Championship with a record 18 consecutive match-play victories.

Since becoming a professional golfer he has won nine tournaments, seven of those on the PGA TOUR, including the 1997 Masters Tournament. At the age of 21 years, 3 months, 14 days, Tiger was the youngest Masters champion ever. He also was the first major championship winner of African or Asian heritage.


He has changed the way the game is played on the golf course. Now, Tiger Woods is attempting to change the way golf is played on the computer. Monster drives, chipping with a 3-wood, snaking putts the length of the yellow brick road. Here's Tiger in all his fist pumping, crowd jumping, pure adrenaline glory in the only game that delivers Tiger Woods, the PGA TOUR and Pebble Beach.


Golfing games have moved on an awful long way in such a short period of time. It doesn't seem that long ago when it was all the rage to practice your putting on a small hand held device which featured matchstick men, stoking square balls, across a flat surface that was more grey than green. Not so much a sports simulation... more of a game, really.

Oh how those times have changed as those full screen, high resolution, 3D graphics now allow you to experience the 'real' pressures of a 'real' professional golfer at a 'real' PGA venue. Well... almost.

Customary to all EA Sports games the 'big name' player features heavily in the live action intro. Watch as the Tiger stalks his opponents before pouncing from the bunker to hole a 'monster'. From this point onwards you cannot help but marvel at the in-game visuals.

EA Sports have once again opted for that really smooth character appearance, similar to those visuals present in Knockout Kings and Warzone. The golfers bare a striking, almost photographic resemblance to their real-life counterparts. This does look attractive, however the players always seem a little alien to the environment, especially when moving against the richly colored, almost cartoon, background. I suppose the two contrasting textures draws the comparison to Bob Hoskins in the animated movie Who Framed Roger Rabbit.

Tiger wears his famous red sweater and peak cap as he swings perfectly through the ball on each shot. He thrusts his clenched fist in the air when sinking that all important putt and clasps his hands to his head when rimming the hole.

The five PGA courses are immaculately represented. The trees look quite picturesque from a distance. Unfortunately the same trees look pretty awful when you get close up, a common problem in past golf games that I hoped had been eradicated. The grass is impressive as the fairways always look inviting with hollows and bumps nicely shaded to indicate which direction your ball will roll on contact. The water looks like a pretty blue path winding its way up towards the green and not, as we golfers know, the man-trap it really is - heavily penalized and usually resulting in at least a shot dropped, hole lost, or is extreme cases a pro-golfers career ruined.

Sounds and Effects

One minute the sound effects are captured with stunning accuracy... the next so over the top it's laughable. The silence before each shot helps to create the tension associated with playing the real sport. This is only broken when the swishing sound of the golf club slices through still air before the hollow ping of the wood striking ball gets the hole underway. From tee to green each club has it own sound on contact until the plonk of the ball dropping signals the end of the hole.

On the downside every time a ball hits a tree (and there's lots of them to hit) the resulting squawk gradually drives you insane. It's as if every course has been invaded by a family of parrots. I suppose you could say that keeping the balls out of the trees would solve the problem, but surely witnessing the blocky stumps are penalty enough. Another annoyance is the two syllable comments of Tiger Woods. "No-way!" "Oh-man!" "Get-right!" "Oh-no!" Each comes across with about as much enthusiasm as a dead parrot (that parrot's not dead, it's just pining for the Fiords!).

There's a nice selection of funky sounds available if you enjoy a little background music while playing a round of golf. Should you prefer to suffer in silence then the option to switch off the tunes is available. Personally, I recommend that you switch off the sound effects instead.


Golfing games are jam packed with options and Tiger Woods 99 is no exception as almost every aspect of play and environment may be tampered with. They 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 gimmes, mulligans, putting grids or driving arcs but these options may be altered during the course of play.

Game modes include:
Stoke play. A full or half round of golf against a CPU or human opponent on any of the five courses where the player shooting the lowest number of strokes wins the game.
Skins. A two player round of golf against a CPU or human opponent where each hole has a financial value which is awarded to the player who shoots the lowest score on each individual hole.
Shoot Out. A four player knockout competition where the player with the highest score on each hole is eliminated until only one remains.
Fourball involves two teams of two with each player having their own ball. Whoever takes the least number of strokes wins the hole outright for their team.
Foursome is a team game where both players on each side share the same ball taking alternate shots.
Practice mode allows the player to work-out on their driving, chipping and putting.
Tournament involves a selection of single player rounds where cash prizes are awarded dependant on finishing position.
Tour Play. Five weekly tournaments comprise a full season. Prize money varies according to the tour venue.

The eight selectable professional golfers include Brad Faxton, Tom Kite, Mark O'Meara, Craig Stadler, Davis Love III, Peter Jacobson, Lee Janzen and of course Tiger Woods. When Tiger is chosen you may decide to chance your arm at the "Tiger Shot" by going into the overswing area and executing a perfect shot. You'll know you hit a perfect shot if you see green on the last click of the swing and a Tigers feet engulfed in flames.

Playing the game follows the usual 'swing-o-meter' method. First select a club that relates to the distance. The expected path of the ball is shown by a green arc with height and distance given at the point where the ball should land. Using various joypad buttons allows you view the landing area for that perfect spot. Striking of the ball requires the usual accurate pressing of the X button and a sweet connection is rewarded with a perfect shot. The right analog joystick may also be used with accuracy dependant on how straight you play the backswing. The 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 wicked shot.

There are five challenging courses up for grabs which are Sawgrass, Southwind, Scottsdale, Las Colinas and Summerlin.

Playing a computerised game of golf has gradually improved over the years. If you have already experienced one of the Playstations PGA Tour Golf games then you will know exactly what is in store. Possibly the only real change from last years effort is the inclusion of real-time 3D acceleration. Strike the ball and the camera pans it's flight through the air. No sooner has it come to rest when Tiger takes up his stance, ready for the next shot. This certainly speeds up the gameplay and avoids those nasty long waits while the camera catches up with the play.

Tiger Woods Golf offers a fair, but not too severe a challenge. The arcade nature of the game shines through but this must be noted by those who prefer a golfing simulation.

Value for Money

With Tiger Woods PGA Golf 99 you get multiple gameplay modes, quality visuals, five of golfs greatest courses, seven PGA pros and of course the current world Number 1, Tiger Woods himself. Sounds good value to me.

GRAPHICS: 16/20 The 3D acceleration certainly speeds up the gameplay and you can actually play a full round of golf in under 20 minutes. I must admit that although Tiger Woods Golf is a fine effort from EA Sports I prefer Gremlin's Actua Golf 3. It is much more of a simulation of the sport rather than this arcade transition.
SOUND: 6/10
VALUE: 16/20


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