Software review: Links 2003

Links 2003 has an incredible amount of depth, yet it doesn’t stop the casual gamer from playing. If, like me, you are new to this golf series, you’ll find it perfectly easy to pick up and play. You can be off on the fairways in a matter of moments, happily slicing your first shot into the trees. But you don’t have to end up hacking around in the rough, because a new practice facility lets you perfect your swing before stepping on to the course.

There are four different swing options available, ranging from the Easy Swing to the Powerstroke. The real-time swing lets your mouse become the club, factoring in speed, tempo, direction and spin in every shot. The more accomplished you become, the more you can experiment.

However, the great thing about Links 2003 are the special features. For instance, the Arnold Palmer Course Designer allows you to walk in Arnie’s footsteps, creating the kind of golf course even Mr Palmer would be proud of.

I found the Links Career the most rewarding part of the game. For the experienced player it demands focus and motivation, with the cup as your goal. Once mastered, you can get really brave and go online to play golfers from anywhere in the world. For the neophyte online gamer this is inspiring, as you chat to your opponent while competing on ‘friendly’ terms. How­ever, a word of advice: make sure you have broadband, because your dialup is guaranteed to fail you when it’s least convenient.

Links 2003 is the most realistic golf game for your PC. It takes you through six all-new championship courses, giving you more realistic control over your shots and delivering very convincing graphics.

Is there anything missing? Not really, apart from a lack of pros to choose from. This is a game that can make a Sunday disappear in no time.

Publisher: Microsoft
Developer: Microsoft
URL: www.microsoft.com/games/links2003

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Mark Boslet

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