Do you ever switch on the telly late at night hoping for an educationally stimulating session with a foreign film, or some obscure video footage of James Brown, only to be met with the excruciating sight of a bunch of overdressed accountants batting a glorified gobstopper around vast tracts of private, green and verdant, land that could be better used as public parkage?
Do you choke on your kebab as Fred Couples or Fuzzy Zoeller scoop another $350,000 for hitting the gobstopper with an anorexic hockey stick or then? Do you find yourself, an hour later still watching it, and at every other shot saying: "Oh come on, I could do that! I'll suffer the shame of red and purple slacks, shoes that went out of fashion during Al Capone's IRS hearings, give me the money for hitting the gobstopper! Give it to me!" Do you then go on to the local pitch 'n' putt and take 232 shots to get round? Then you need an Amiga golf game. And not just any Amiga golf game. You need this one...
Amiga games can be things of extreme delight. This normally happens when programmers get together and say: "Let's try something a bit, well, new. Let's give the customer a few choices that they can take without having first to have obtained a degree in applied lateral thinking. Let's make this one a fun game".
You're expecting me to say something clever now, something like: "Wouldn't it have been great if The Really Useful Software Company had done this?. Well, they have.
Let's go all the way!
We have a situation here that is akin to the situation in Amiga footy sims. There was a time when Kick Off ruled the roost. Then Sensible Soccer came along and we all looked at dear old KO and saw that it was dated - good, but dated.
The situation with golf games has been that Electronic Arts' PGA Tour Golf took on all-corners and thrashed them in terms of playability. But now, Ocean's Ryder Cup has slipped into its red plus fours, dusted down its Ping irons, donned its stupid-looking sweater, addressed the ball and is set to take PGA all the way to the 18th.
The thing it lacks are few, but irksome. You don't get to see your stats grow as you improve; the putting is not taxing enough, and the maps of the holes are too small and lack detail. What it has in its favour however, is a bucket load of style, options graphics, playability and value.
For a tee-off, there are three control systems. Not three levels of play, but three separate and equally effective methods by which to get the little white, pimply sphere from the tee into the hole. You can use power and snap; You can use power, shot type and target; or you can use the wobbly sight over the ball that was premiered in Ocean's International Open Golf game (upon which Ryder is based).
All three methods of control are effective, all three require their own levels of skill and finesse, and all three enable any Amiga sports fan to easily extract more of a good time than should really be allowed with a mouse, an Amiga and a game based on the favourite sport of resting football players.
Phew. It really is good is this game...
Graphically it takes PGA's nine iron and does disgusting things with it in the rough. The landscapes and even the golfers themselves are drawn with elegance, style and enough subtlety to make you forget that it's two below zero, raining and your best friend just run off with your dog. The redraws just happen. Ping! And then you're there (which is more than you can say for the system-ravaging Links).
The rough looks rough and the fairway looks... fair. OK, so the green all look as if they've been built by Chris Bonnington in a particularly sadistic mood, perches as they all seem to be on hilltops, but they are still playable.
Ryder Cup has slipped into its red plus fours, donned its stupid-looking sweater, addressed the ball and is set to take PGA all the way to the 18th.
The sound sucks...
The sound is poor. Belay that, the sound is shamefully dismal. Why the programmers think that we should be happy with 'Tweet tweet', 'Plop'and 'Yah-hah!' is beyond me. Putting this audio atrocity on this superb game is akin to sticking a suckered Mr Blobby doll on the side window of a Hispana Suiza. You should get it together, chaps.
But what of the options? Lovely. You don't get the useless practice drive and practice green options that no one ever uses. You get straightforward, practice the course or play the course. There's no choice of clubs but there is choice of team mates.
This is the Ryder Cup of course, where golfers stop being walking money machines with as much charisma as a parliamentary under secretary for glass recycling and become national heroes.
You get to play in a glorious team, either European or that other lot from over the Atlantic. You play foursomes, fourballs and singles, standing (virtually, of course) shoulder-to-shoulder with greats such as Seve, Bernhard, Woosie or Mark James. You even get to edit our Mark James and type in your own name.
This turns Ryder Cup into the Sensible Soccer of golf games. Before long you hear yourself intoning in a whisper (in case the Americans hear): "Come on Bernie son (Langer that is). Don't let us down lad, we only need to halve this one and we've got the buggers on the run." Or, more often than not: "Sorry Nick mate, hooking's been a problem today, the old mouse finger's playing me up, still it's only the 12th".
Great, smashing, super
This is a fine, fine, fine game with more to offer than a government minister in a child support hearing. Options, style, playability and sporting tensions. Excellent.