Greg Norman's Shark Attack! drives majestically down the fairway in terms of options but manages only a wicked out-of-bounds slice when it comes to game play and results. The first clue that there is something wrong here occurs immediately upon opening the box. Seems the designers and the publisher couldn't make up their minds about what the game is called. The manual refers to Greg Norman's Ultimate Golf whereas the box advertises Greg Norman's Shark Attack!, subtitled The Ultimate Golf Simulator. If that seems a bit picky, hang on because it only gets worse. It's true that the game contains a good array of options and customizable aspects but bad visual presentation and poor game play totally negate the good points. Perhaps it's because several golf simulations were released in close time proximity to each other and comparisons are inevitable. For example, PGA Tour Golf has tournament options, VGA capability and real PGA pros, Jack Nicklaus' Unlimited Golf & Course Design sparkled with the built in course designer and VGA capability while World Class Leaderboard featured sixteen courses (versus two for this one). Graphics in Greg Norman's Shark Attack! are woefully sub-par (pun intended) and can be attributed to the limitation of EGA or CGA capabilities. There is, however, no excuse for the overly complicated (compared to the other games) shot meter. You must coordinate two separate meters in order to make your shot, one for power and the other for direction. To show the absurdity of this setup, here's a quote from the instruction manual: "Below the power bar is direction indicator with a swinging line and a stationary line. To align your shot, fire or click when the two lines coincide. If the two lines meet before you click, don't worry. You have at least another two tries before the (power) bar reaches the bottom." Wouldn't it be nice on a real golf course to have the option of two addition tries to straighten your shot out? Obviously this doesn't hold up too well as a simulation of a real golf swing.
Unfortunately, with the graphics and swing simulations missing the green in a big way, there's not too much left to praise. Giving the game it's due, however, the designers did try to incorporate quite a few nice options. Wind and weather conditions are adjustable and a setup option that allows for up to fifty players you can create are nice features. But with the disappointing flaws at the core of game play, that option is akin to taking fifty vegetarians to an all meat buffet. The good news is that there is plenty of food, the bad news is that no one cares to eat any of it. Finally, it must be said that the manual scores yet another bogie, in that there is more useless information on Greg Norman than there is useful data on some aspects of game play. Bottom line: this is one golf simulation you'll want to avoid like the Pacific Ocean on Pebble Beach's 18th tee.
Graphics: Just about as blocky and ugly as you'd ever want to see.
Enjoyment: As the manual points out: "...Norman may well be the most charismatic player in the game today" (circa 1990) but it's a real shame the game wasn't infused with some of that personality and charisma.
Replay Value: Certainly a golf simulation with more than one course (two in this case) should by default contain replay value. Of course, that presupposes that the game is worth playing repeatedly.
Eight man-years of development resulted in this detailed recreation of golf, endorsed by one of the great players of the 1980s. Two courses are included, with 3D modeling of the effects of ball lie and swing style. You can disable ball effects to make it more straightforward, and weather and wind effects are optional.
Match play and stroke play are included, as are Fourball, Foursome and Greensome modes for 4 players in 2 teams of two, as well as a practice mode. The game is played from a 3D perspective, with an overhead view before each shot.
People who downloaded Greg Norman's Shark Attack! (Greg Norman's Ultimate Golf) have also downloaded:
Jack Nicklaus Signature Edition, Jack Nicklaus' Unlimited Golf, Jack Nicklaus 5, David Leadbetter's Greens (a.k.a. MicroProse Golf), Kingpin: Arcade Sports Bowling, Front Page Sports Football Pro '96 Season, Links 2003, Jack Nicklaus
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