It's a beautiful Spring morning as you prepare to tee off. You select your #1 driver (ignoring your caddy's wisecrack)... take a practice swing... adjust your stance... and drive one right down the middle for 290 yards. As you approach your second shot, you notice every detail of your surroundings... the location of each tree... the contour of each hill and slope... the lay of the ball...
A day on your favorite course? Not quite, but it's the next best thing. LINKS... The Challenge of Golf is a totally realistic golf simulator that's a quantum leap ahead of any computer golf game you've ever seen.
You'll control your game to the degree you prefer... from defaulting to the standard swings... to adjusting your stance, backswing, acceleration, power and snap. With every drive and putt, your ball will act according to the true laws of physics.
And you'll experience all the sounds of a real tournament... from commentary... to caddy's remarks... to the swoosh of the swing... click of the drive... and bloop of the ball in the water.
LINKS also includes a practice area for driving, chipping and putting.
Experience the next generation of golf simulators. Reserve a Tee Time with LINKS.
I'm not much of a sports fan or of golf unless it's prefaced with the words 'crazy' or 'mini'. Access Software's 1990 golf sim Links: The Challenge of Golf is the first of a long-running series and one that would certainly interest other members of my family.
Those who have played any retro golf game will be familiar with Links. Choose your club, set up your shot and swing away. Then wait a good few minutes while the next shot loads piece by piece. In still screenshots, the graphics do look nice for a game from 1990, but in actuality, they are static, slow and very samey no matter what course you're on.
The game originally came with one course; Torrey Pines in San Diego California, but subsequent add-ons increased the number substantially. Club packs continued all the way up until 1997, where each instalment also included the course for the follow-up Links games as well as Microsoft Golf. I've included all of the compatible ones I could find, bringing the number of courses up to 10.
Four years later, the SEGA CD got an improved port. By then, the sequel was already a few years old but there is enough different to its graphics and presentation to almost make it a completely new game. While there are long pauses while the next screen loads, they're not nearly as bad as the DOS version. The image appears fully formed and not piece by piece as before. Factor in the full speech commentary, the choice of a female golfer and some highly compressed FMV flyovers of each hole, it is perhaps the more playable version between the two. It supports the mouse too, though you'll have to change it in the menu each time you boot it up. That being said, there is only one course, with any planned add-ons being canned presumably over the systems perceived failure.
While the simulation aspect appears to be well done, at least from my very uninformed perspective, the technology simply wasn't there to make for a compelling game by today's standards. This original sure had legs with all of the periodically released additional content but future instalments improved in almost every respect with each subsequent release. Were the series not requested, I doubt it would've escaped the Chamber, but I'm sure there may be many golfing fanatics among you all that will get a nostalgic kick out of either version.
As of 21st June 2021, Links is now available to buy DRM free on Good Old Games.
Buy from GOG
This custom installers exclusive to The Collection Chamber uses Retroarch with the Genesis Plus GX core to emulate the SEGA CD. Manual included. Tested on Windows 10.
File Size: 236 Mb. Install Size: 565 Mb. Need help? Consult the Collection Chamber FAQ
Links: The Challenge of Golf is © Access Software
Review, Cover Design and Installer created by me