For those of you that dream of playing on courses from around the country, here is your chance to without spending a fortune in cash and a month travelling. The few holes included in this game are very well done, and provide an extremly diverse test of golfing skills.
Graphics - 15 / 20
America's Toughest Eighteen starts with an extremely clear picture of one of its eighteen holes. This is a good start for the game in itself. It continually flows through actual pictures of the holes which are incorported into the game. There were a total of zero graphic options which could be changed. This is an unwelcome change to those of us used to cranking up the resolution to at least 800 X 600. I'm not really sure what resolution the game runs in, but pixels are definitely noticeable when the ball gets close to objects on the course such as rocks or trees. The images become very blurred, however the background and further down the course still looks pretty clean. From the tee box, the layout of the course hole is nicely done. After hitting the ball and moving down the course, it is immediately noticeable that nothing in the background has any motion whatsoever. The waterfalls are one very evident feature which could have used some tuning.
Sound - 12 / 15
The game does incorporate some great sound effects. It has become pretty standard in golf games to include such noises as birds chipping and bullfrogs croaking. This game does a good job of using these effects to add to the outdoor feeling. The sound effects are realistic and seem to be right on time. When you swing the club you hear it, not ten seconds after the swing is over, but right as you're swinging. The one commentator in this game becomes very annoying with his British accent and repetitive one-liners.
Gameplay - 23 / 30
Nothing special here, just like any other golf game. Comes with a variety of gaming modes: Stroke Play, Tournament, Match Play, Skins and Stableford. Personally I enjoyed Stableford mode the most because once you go over bogey you have to pickup. It's based on the more points the better and you get points for eagles, birdies, pars...etc. The game controls are pretty easy to get the hang of. You can choose to click, release, click or click, click, click. There are three different difficulty levels. On beginner it aligns you to where you need to hit the ball and shows you how hard to hit it. There is very little slicing or hooking when playing in beginner mode. There are eight different players to choose from and all can be customized in such areas as swing type, clothing, level of play...etc.
Fun Factor - 15 / 20
Game was fairly fun for the first couple of times I played all 18 holes, but I became burnt out on it quickly. Only 18 holes sort of puts a limit on gaming time, but for the hardcore golf gamers the variety of game modes will keep you busy. It is very easy to learn to play the game which made it more enjoyable. After couple of times playing the game you get the hang of it fairly well.
Multiplayer - 3 / 5
No internet multiplayer is included in the game. It does support hot seat gaming for several players. Supports multiplayer in a variety of gaming modes. All modes support multiplayer (the skins mode is multiplayer only). Keeps track of loads of statistics, and at the end you have options to review these. Several are a little to finicky for me, but if you're an avid golfer they might mean something to you.
Overall Impression - 7 / 10
Not a bad game overall. Gets a little boring after a couple of times playing the course. Was a pretty cool idea to make a game of the toughest 18 holes in the country, but the fact that there are only 18 playable holes really sucks. Unless you are a huge fan of golf games, leave this one on the shelves.
People who downloaded America's Toughest 18 have also downloaded:
British Open Championship Golf, Jack Nicklaus 5, Alley 19 Bowling, PGA Tour Pro, Links 2003, David Leadbetter's Greens (a.k.a. MicroProse Golf), Aaron vs. Ruth, Links LS 2000
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