Mini Golf
Copyright/Publisher: Gremlin Graphics/Magic Bytes, Release Year: 1989,
Genre: Golf, Number Of Players: 1 to 4

Isn't it funny how, whenever you play crazy golf, most of the people playing aren't children? And they never seem to feel ridiculous about walking along little tracks hitting golf balls through plastic windmills?

Now here is a computer game that should appeal to just those kind of people Mini Golf is a simulation of the miniature sport to be found at holiday resorts everywhere. Up to four players can take part over a set of eighteen holes. Just to be awkward, drainpipes, windmills, bridges and ramps, all viewed from overhead, are dotted all over them.

You start off by placing your ball on the white starting pad. Next, aim your shout by moving an extendable line to indicate the power and direction of the putt. Buu beware! Hitting the ball too hard at the hole causes it to skip over, so the power line is useful.

Take too many strokes on any hole, and you're slung off and given a penalty. On the Amiga version, you have the choice of playing on either Beginner or Expert level, the former being the standard eighteen holes viewed from overhead (as on the 64) and the Expert level taking place on a more 'surreal' set of holes, ranging from dragon and castle scapes to a giant businessman's desk (?).

At the end of the game the scores are added and displayed on a scorecard. That's when you declare the winner and start beating up your mates.

I like playing mini golf - in fact, on holiday, I go out of my way to force everybody I know to play it! On first sight, both versions of Gremlin's Mini Golf seem to be well designed and implemented simulations, with an easy aiming method, clear layout and varied hole design.

Thing is, on completing the easy level on the Amiga, moving onto the second set of holes proves to be a strange experience (woo-ee-oo=. Most of the action takes place in a peculiar pseudo-3D environment, which just doesn't work like proper 3D and is more confusing than anything I've ever seen. Shame really, 'cos if the 2D's anything to go by, it could have been great.

Some of my greatest holiday memories are of playing mini golf whilst severely under the influence, so playing this game fully alert was quite an experience. Imagine my surprise when the 3D effect of the expert level seems as though the player-s drunk anyway!

The graphics may be very nice, but what difference does that make when you can't tell which way's up or down? This is a pity since the Beginner level is extremely playable especially with friends.

I played the 64 version of this first and thought that it was a rather good game with some nice touches (such as the pixellated screen changing effect) so the improved graphics of the Amiga version were initially pleasing.

However, when it came to playing the higher stages I found it almost impossible to tell where the hell the ball was going! Why not come up with some more devious holes instead of just being confusing - because the play system of the 64 version and the first level of the Amiga version is great. My advice is to try this out first - you may be disappointed.


Four-player option, plus good appearance and control - except for the Amiga Expert stage.
Functional and generally well laid-out, but there isn't much colour on the 64.
Equally weak effect on both versions.
Easy to pick up and enjoyable to play at first - especially with friends.
Not enough variety on the 64 version and a poor Expert stage on the Amiga, but the multiple player option should keep you putting for a while longer.
An intitially pleasing program that loses its appeal rather quickly.