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JadeDragon's reviews and playing tips: Palm and Pocket PC games

Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf, by ZIO Software $29.95 Pocket PC, $14.95 Palm OS
Reviewed May 2002

You know that phrase "I want to be like Mike"? Well, here is a new phrase "I want to be like Tiger!" While you know you won't play like Tiger on a real golf course, ZIO Interactive's Tiger Woods PGA Tour Golf might just be the ticket to fulfill your fantasy. The beautiful scenery and graphics show off world-class golf courses, realistic golf game play and course difficulty levels make handheld game as real as it gets.

The graphics of two golf courses (Badlands Golf Club and The Las Vegas Golf Club) are very realistic and beautiful (especially in the Pocket PC version!). If the lore of beautiful scenery is one of the biggest selling points for auto racing games, then there is no reason that golf games can't take advantage of the same thing. In this golf game, the scenery certainly is a big plus and makes the game play much more enjoyable. The bunkers, trees, greens, lakes and roughs have their own distinct character, and the you'll recognize the players on their first swing.

There's an enormous selection of golf games you can play, from Practice to Stroke Play, from Skins Game to Match Play, from Four Ball to Foursome. And each game has number of options as well. For example, if you want to practice your putting, you can select a group of holes from the regulation sheet to play, such as Front 9, Back 9, Par 3s, Part 4s or Par 5s. When you are ready to play the course, you can choose to play all 18 holes, front 9 or back 9, and to play at either amateur or Pro level. The players other than Tiger Woods, you can play with or against Justin Leonard, Mark O'Meara and Brad Faxon, or put your own name on the list.

The golf games feel very real. Before each game begins, you'll be shown the rules of the game you selected. For example, if you choose to play a skins game, it will tell you the total purse, which player has earned how much so far, how much is next hole worth. On the game interface, you will see the wind speed and direction on top left corner and the golf course aero view on the top right. The information of the hole is at the bottom of the screen and that includes hole number, par number, shot number and length and depth of the hole. In the lower right corner is the club selection and lower left corner is a picture of the player and menu. If you click on the in-game menu, you can access the show score, landscape, ball-cam/fixed cam, green grid on/off, save/end game, etc. functions. All the information you need about this game, this hole, this course is right here, but somehow it does not clutter your play view.

The realistic physics and smooth ball movements make this game fun to play. You can be consistent by using your usual golf game strategy, or you can be creative by experimenting with new ideas. After all, it's Tiger's style to be creative. The game reflects your different strokes and intentions well; that's why with just a little bit of change in strength in the "C" meter, you can either see the ball on the green or loose it in the rough. I practiced controlling the "C" until I was pleased with my power strokes, lobs, chips and bunker shots before getting serious on the course.

There's background music and some birds chirping. I opted to turn them off. The game runs in both portrait and landscape modes on Pocket PCs, though I couldn't get the landscape mode to work on my Jornada 568. The portrait mode fits the game play better anyway. The game is a little over 5.6 MB and can run from a CF card.

The price tag is bit high in Pocket PC land, but can be off-set if you think about how much you spend on your last trip to your local country club. And the Palm price is reasonable.

Playing Hints and Tips:

Choose Tiger Woods as your player. As you'd guess, I always get better scores when I play as him.


Tier Woods Golf screen shot

Tiger Woods Golf screen shot

Pocket PC

Ratings (scale of 1 to 5):

Graphics Beautiful scenery graphics, smooth ball movements, and realistic player movements.
Sound There aren't many sound effects. Personally I'd prefer no sound in a golf game.
Fun Meter You can certainly try your strategies in this game before hitting the next green and surprise your friends with improved scores.
Addictivity With a huge selection of game play, you should be busy for a long while.

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