Can you survive An Unholy Return: The 31 Games of Halloween?
PGA Golf Reviewed by Adam Wallace on . Rating: 57%
PGA Golf
PGA Golf PGA Golf PGA Golf PGA Golf
  • Review Score:

  • C+
Grabbing licenses in the early days of video games was like playing dodgeball. Everyone wants to grab one first just to peg the opponent with it. While Atari was smacking around Mattel with all the arcade licenses they were snapping up, Mattel was beating Atari senseless with all the sports licenses they were getting. While the Intellivision didn't have official players or teams in their licensed sports games, the licenses looked good on the game cartridges and lended extra credibility to their titles. Not that Mattel needed the extra cred; one comparison between Football on the 2600 and NFL Football on Intellivision said everything. The same holds true when comparing PGA Golf to Golf on the 2600.

Mattel had every right to brag. Despite releasing around the same time, PGA Golf was miles ahead of its Atari competitor. The nine holes offered in PGA Golf looked much more natural than the stacked boxes of the Atari game, albeit with a few jagged lines here and there. Four players could use shared controllers like with Computer Golf on the Odyssey 2. Nine clubs (three woods, four irons, a wedge, and the putter) are available. The game even made smart use of the controller by mapping three shot strengths and club selection to the numeric keypad. Now, why didn't Chip Shot (which released seven years later) do that?

PGA Golf (Intellivision)Click For the Full Picture Archive

There are plenty of issues with PGA Golf that can't be ignored aside from its age and lack of real use of the PGA license. The aiming mechanics are awful. Using the control disc to aim might seem natural until you realize the movement is incredibly jittery. There were several times where letting go of the disc too jerkily threw my aim off right before the shot. Also, despite the disc providing sixteen directions as opposed to the eight provided by standard joysticks and d-pads, aiming is still not as precise as it needed to be. Then there are the trees which, while adding a lot more realism to the game for the time, are very difficult to escape if trapped.

PGA Golf is a much better game than the offerings that Atari and Magnavox had at the time. In fact, from a gameplay standpoint, it's even better than the far more feature-rich game Chip Shot that the Intellivision got seven years later. However, like with Golf on the 2600, this one has little to no appeal for anyone that didn't grow up with the Intellivision. Nostalgic gamers may get a kick out of it, but younger gamers should just pass. Mattel may have turned heads with the PGA license in 1980, but it doesn't do a thing for them now.
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