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Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2000
"Tiger Woods, the No.1 ranked golfer in the world, provided game design suggestions as well as data capture information"
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Developer  EA Sports Game Type  Sport
Distributor  Electronic Arts Review Date  Apr 00
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Setting the Scene:
 
      Sport has seen many, many heroes, but occasionally a person rises through the system to out rank those who have been before. They are ordinary people with the will to reach out and almost touch perfection. Legends in our life-time.

Only the masses can decide which of these will go down in the history books as the best of their time. Past contenders would surely include the likes of Ali, Pelé, Lewis, Jordan, Davis, Bjorg, Lomu, Warne and Senna. The beauty is that everybody can have their own favorites fueling many a debate.

So what more can be said about sports latest phenomenon? Barely a pro, but already the No. 1 ranked golfer in the world for the past two years. And still so young...

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 24 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. 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.

EA Sports, now starting its tenth year of an exclusive partnership with the PGA Tour, seem to have captured golfs greatest franchise. Tiger Woods provided game design suggestions as well as data capture information so that Tiger's real swing and on-the-course reactions are exactly replicated in the game. So let's check out if the game plays like a fierce tiger, or a cute little pussycat.

Sound and Vision:
 
      It doesn't seem so 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. 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.

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. Tiger wears his famous red sweater and peak cap as he swings perfectly through the ball on each shot. Other photo-realistic golfers include Faxon, Janzen, O'Meara and Leonard. Let's just hope EA Sports can keep their photo-realistic wives off the green at the 17th.

The five PGA courses are immaculately represented. These are TPC at Sawgrass, Poppy Hills Golf Course, TPC at Summerlin, Badlands Golf Course and TPC at the Canyons. The trees look picturesque and no longer suffer from that awful blocky appearance of past PGA titles. 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.

In fact everything looks as pretty as a picture... but here lies the problem. When lining up your shot it appears as if you are about to launch a ball into a picture postcard. There doesn't seem to be any depth to the scenery. We know it's 3D because you can move the camera angle high up in the air and then zoom back in towards the position where your ball should land. But it doesn't look real making judgement of shot difficult. Also, why do EA Sports insist on retaining that stupid carpet square effect when the ball nears the hole? In case nobody has ever told you before... "It looks bloody ludicrous!"

The sound effects again fail to make the grade with Tiger comments bordering on the ridiculous. If this is all he could muster up in the recording studio then a lot of his valuable time was obviously wasted. "No-way!" "Oh-man!" "Yeah!" "Bo-Ho!" Surely someone could have advised him to make some sort of an effort.
 
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