PGA Tour Golf – Review

In real life, I enjoy playing golf. I’m not very good, and I’ve never scored a birdie, but it is hard not to love being surrounded by greenery and, in some cases, wildlife. I have played in scorching heat in Canada (Alberta and Ontario), fighting off mosquitoes but receiving regular visits from the cart girls selling refreshments, and I have played in rainy, gusty conditions in England where there are no cart girls but it’s easy to sneak your own drinks onto the course.

Title screen (screenshot taken by the author)

PGA Tour Golf is a sports simulation game developed by Sterling Silver Software and published by Electronic Arts. The first of a franchise, it was released in 1990 for MS-DOS. It was later released for the Mega Drive and Amiga in 1991, and SNES in 1992. Later releases for the Master System and Game Gear were published by Tengen in 1994. For this review, I played the Mega Drive version.


As with most sport sims, there is no plot per se. The object of the game is to compete in and win four tournaments whilst competing against other professional golfers.


With up to four players, you have the option to play a Practice Round or a Tournament, or you can simply practice on the Driving Range and/or Putting Greens. The practice modes are self-explanatory, but they are handy for people unacquainted with the game.

In Tournament Mode, each tournament consists of four rounds of 18 holes competing against 60 other golfers, of which all are real-life professionals.

The game contains three real courses from the US and one fictional course:

TPC at Sawgrass (Florida)

TPC at Avenel (Maryland)

PGA West Stadium (California)

Sterling Shores (Fictional)

At the beginning of each hole, you are greeted with a  rotating 3D view of the green and advice from one of the professional golfers on how to approach the hole.  Before each stroke, a bird’s eye view of the hole with a cross hair over the pin will appear. You can move the curser and it tells you  the distance from your golfer to the cursor. You can go back to the overview at any time by pressing ‘A’ button.

As you address the ball, a small window will appear showing you how the ball lies, allowing you to select the most appropriate club. The HUD contains all the information you need. You have the wind speed and direction in a box on the bottom left, the power gauge in the middle, and the hole number, hole par, stroke number, current score, distance to pin and club you are using in a box on the bottom right. On the horizon is the cross hair which shows you were you are aiming your shot. You can move this cursor left or right. Your caddy will automatically select the club they think you should use but you can change clubs yourself by pushing up or down on the D-pad. As you do this, you will notice the number to the left of the power gauge will increase or decrease. This is the maximum number of yards the club will hit the ball if the ball was unaffected by wind or how the ball lies.

When you are ready to hit the ball, press ‘B’ and the power gauge begins to fill from right to left. When you have reached your desired power, press ‘B’ again and the power bar begins to descend having left a mark when you stopped the power gauge rising. You then need to press ‘B’ a third time as the power bar reaches the Stroke Bar. If you are accurate, you will hit the ball without a slice or draw. The earlier or later your stop the power gauge either side of the stroke bar will determine the degree of which you slice or draw the ball. After striking the ball, and when the ball begins to descend, the camera angle changes, and you will see where the ball lands.

When you reach the green, a 3D square grid will appear showing you the lie of the green. This allows you to judge the slopes of the green when attempting to putt. Again, by pressing up and down on the D-pad when you are on the green increases and decreases the maximum power of the putt.

An overview of on of the four courses you can play (screenshot taken by the author)

How Does It Handle?

PGA Tour Golf is not for the feint hearted. It is clearly designed for golf fans and is very challenging, much more challenging and unforgiving than Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf (1989). I wonder if the game is a bit too difficult. You have to be incredibly precise (maybe too precise) when you try to stop the descending gauge at the Stoke Bar else you can very easily draw or slice the shot. That being said, I really like the power gauge for this game. The ease of which you can change clubs and use the percentages of the power bar to estimate shots is a much simpler and user-friendly way of playing than Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf (1989).

When putting, I like the fact that you can change the maximum strength of the putter as this allows you to more accurately gauge the strength of your putt. That is not to say that putting is easy, of course. I found the putting to be very unforgiving with little margin for error.

Unlike Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf (1989) where you have to keep pressing ‘A’ to scroll through wind, distance, club selection etc., I love how all that information is one the main HUD. This speeds up the game and means you don’t keep having to go back a screen because you’ve forgotten the distance to the pin.

All the information you need on one screen (screenshot taken by the author)


I love the design of the main menu. The picture of the Pro Shop is very colourful and nicely illustrated, and it really adds to the feeling of getting ready for a round of golf. The drop down menus show that the game was designed for MS-DOS/PC.

The in-game graphics aren’t as realistic as Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf (1989) and the courses themselves are far less detailed when it comes to the trees, sky, and differentiation between the fairway and the rough. The bitty graphics become even more apparent the larger your TV screen. The sprite also pales in comparison. Oddly, there is no difference in the look of the clubs or the stance of the golfer whilst using them with the exception of the putter which is disappointing. However, I do prefer the graphics of PGA Tour Golf to Jack Nicklaus’ Unlimited Golf & Course Design (1990).

The innovative 3D overview of the greens is awesome. It is a simple design, but is a great way to display the lie of the green. It allows the player to read the greens more accurately that previous methods. Bravo!

I also like the way the camera angle changes a few seconds after you have hit your shot so that you view the ball coming into land is a nice touch. This really helps with the feel of professional golf you see on television. 

Music and SFX

The only music you hear in the game is the cheap 8-bit ear-offending tune that plays over the introduction to each hole where a professional golfer offers advice on how to play the hole. I appreciate this game is ported from MS-DOS but one would expect the music to be of better quality for the Mega Drive. 

The sound is very minimalist. You hear a few birds tweets, the sound of the ball as you strike it and as it lands, and a ripple of applause when you putt the ball. It is how golf should be. Peaceful and relaxing…at least for the spectators anyway.

Replay Value

The main replay value of this game is the multiplayer mode. Each of the tournaments are individual titles and so once you have won them, you have won them. The money accrued means very little other than to be kept as a bragging statistic which is a shame. It would have been nice to be able to buy some different clubs like you can in Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf (1989). That is not to say that the game will be cast aside quickly. The tournaments are incredibly hard to win and mastering the game will take some time.

Did I Complete The Game?

At present, I have not won a tournament…in fact, after several attempts, I have only ever qualified for the third round once whilst competing in the Sterling Shores tournament and the second round of the TPC at Sawgrass.

The 3D view allows for more challenging green designs (screenshot taken by the author)

What The Critics Said:

Mean Machines: “A superb sports simulation which will appeal massively to golf fans, and will even be enjoyed by those who normally wouldn’t play this type of game. Overall 91%.[1]

Raze: “PGA Tour Golf is a very accomplished piece of programming on the Amiga, and even more so on the Mega Drive, putting Arnold Palmer in the rough. The slick presentation on both versions gives the game a very professional look and a lot of appeal. To casual players or more serious golf devotees it will provide an ideal opportunity for long term entertainment. Overall 87%.[2]

Video Games and Computer Entertainment: “The computer plays a good game, but this is one of those that really shines when you play with one, two or three other people. If the graphics, which would seem to be no more than 32 colours, were on a level with Arnold Palmer Tournament Golf (or even the celebrated Links 256-colour golf game from Access), it’d be a truly remarkable achievement. As it is, PGA Tour Golf is still a thoroughly entertaining, challenging and complex golf simulation. Overall 26/40“.[3]

Sega Power: Possibly the best golf game to appear on the MD! Good 3D views, loads of options, a multiplayer mode, a Save Game option, and classic golfing play. A must for all golfers. Overall 5/5.[4]

My Verdict:

“Although the graphics are a bit sub-par (pun intended), PGA Tour Golf is fun and easy to learn but challenging to master. It has plenty of replay value, especially in multiplayer mode, and the creators have captured the atmosphere of the sport nicely.”


What are your memories of PGA Tour Golf? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.

[1] ‘Mega Drive Review: PGA Tour Golf’. Mean Machines. (April 1991). Issue 7:40-42.

[2] ‘Reviews – PGA Tour Golf’. (May 1991). Raze. Issue 7:38.

[3] Mandel, J., ‘PGA Tour Golf’. Video Games and Computer Entertainment. (May 1991). :47-8.

[4] The Hard Line – PGA Tour Golf’. Sega Power. (October 1991). 23:54.


John Madden Football ’93 – Review

“Red…7…28…hut, hike!!!” John madden is back! Get ready for hard-hitting defensive plays and Hail Mary passes, as we delve into this offering from Electronic Arts.

Title screen (Screenshot taken by the author)

Madden ’93 is another in the line of the Madden franchise. It was developed by Blue Sky Productions for the Mega Drive and Electronic Arts for the SNES. It was published by EA Sports Network and released in 1992. I chose to review the Mega Drive version.

The game looks identical to its predecessor (Screenshot taken by the author)

Ah yes, American Football, that favourite of North American Sports that just doesn’t seem to translate well in the UK. The computer games did, however, and this one was no exception.


You can play either one-player, two-player, or two-player co-operative which is fun to play, as I did with both my brothers.

Like its predecessor, you have the option to play Pre-Season, Regular Season, Playoffs and Sudden Death modes. Although I question the purpose of pre-season as it doesn’t add anything to the team or player stats. The only difference is that the play clock is disabled, meaning you can take as long as you like when selecting plays. A new mode, All-Time Greats has been added which is a smaller 8-team tournament.

Throwing plays is still the best tactic (Screenshot taken by the author)

What’s New?

Some of the new features include stumbling, taunting, head-butting, and one-handed catches. Although you can play in snow, wind and rain etc., they still haven’t added a random weather option, which would be a nice touch. Sadly, there is still no sign of real player names, but on a positive note, you no longer need a password as the game automatically saves your progress.

How Does It Handle?

The gameplay has been improved since it’s predecessor. It’s tougher to dominate matches with a throwing game as defensive players intercept and block the passes a lot more. The running game is slightly better with faster runners, but I’d still recommended not bothering and sticking to a throwing game.


The graphics are pretty much the same as Madden ’92. In that, they still look very good. Not complaints here.

Did I Complete The Game?

In many modern sports games you don’t necessarily complete these sorts of games, as much as win the league and cup titles, and then move on to the next season. Completing early sports games simply means winning a tournament or league once before restarting with a different team. I have won the play-offs many times with several different teams including Chicago, Cincinnati, Buffalo and Philadelphia.

What The Critics Said:

Computer & Video Games Magazine: “Definitely the worst of the trio, and hopefully EA will learn that ’92 is virtually impossible to improve on. Overall 77%”.[1]

Gamesmaster Magazine: “John Madden ’93 is simply the most sophisticated, intriguing and complex game available on any system anywhere. If you fancy yourself as having a brain as well as a fast trigger-finger, this is the game for you. Overall 90%[2]

Sega Power: “Can’t fault it as a football game, but the differences between this and the ’92 version aren’t that noticebale. If you haven’t got any of the John Madden games, get it. Overall 5/5.[3]

Gamerpro: “John Madden Football ’93 is even more fun to play than Madden ’92…it’s clealy the benchmark for all other football video games. Overall 4.6/5.[4]

Mean Machines Sega: “Not a bad game at all, but hopelessly redundant nonetheless. Go for the slightly better John Madden ’92 if you’re after a definitive American football game and give this one a miss. Overall 89%.[5]


Best Sports Game of the Year (All Systems) – Electronic Gaming Monthly’s Best and Worst of 1992[6]

My Verdict:

“Overall, the game is more challenging than Madden ’92, which is for the better. A step forward for the franchise.”


What are your memories of Madden ’93? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.

[1] Anglin, P., ‘Game Review: Mega Drive – John Madden ’93’. (January 1993). Computer & Video Games Magazine. (January 1993). Issue 124:90.

[2] ‘Game Review: Mega Drive – John Madden Football ’93’. Gamemaster Magazine. (January 1993). Issue 1:66-8.

[3] ‘The Hard Line – Review: Mega Drive – John Madden Football ‘93’. Sega Power. (September 1993). Issue 46:97.

[4] Weekend Warrior ‘Pro Review: Genesis – John Madden Football ‘93’. Gamerpro. (December 1992). :141-2.

[5] ‘Review – John Madden Football ‘93’. Mean Machines Sega. (December 1992). Issue 3:102-4.

[5] ‘EGM’s Best and Worst of 1992: Best Sports Game of the Year (All Game Systems) – John Madden Football ‘93‘. Electronic Gaming Monthly’s 1993 Video Game Buyer’s Guide. (1993). :16.

John Madden Football ’92 – Review

Sports games have always been popular amongst gamers. However, technology has always held creators back from producing quality and realistic sports sims. Madden ’92 is an example of an early attempt to produce a playable American football game…and to be fair, they didn’t do a bad job.

Title screen (screenshot taken by the author)

John Madden Football ’92 is an American football sports game developed and published by Electronic Arts for the Sega Mega Drive, beginning a series of yearly instalments for the video game market. I chose to review the Sega Mega Drive version.

Basic Rules

For those unacquainted with the game of American football, each team consists of groups of offensive, defensive, and special team players. When you are in possession of the ball, you have four plays or “downs” to move the ball forward 10 yards or more. This can be achieved by throwing or kicking the ball or running with it. This is decided before each play as you set your team up in a tactical way to deceive and outmanoeuvre your opponents. If you fail to move the ball 10 yards or more within those four downs, the ball passes to the opposite team. If you are successful, then you go back to a “1st Down” and the process starts again until either you score a “touchdown”, “field goal”, or lose the ball in a number of different ways.

“Red, 27, HIKE!” (screenshot taken by the author)


Madden ’92 can be played in single-player modes as well as two-player head-to-head and co-op modes (the later being a new feature).

There are 28 professional teams (the All-Madden team can only be played in Regular Season) to choose from and several new options for you to play:

  • Pre-Season – An exhibition match with no fouls except offsides and the 45 second play cock is turned off
  • Regular Season – Exhibition but with all game rules in effect
  • New Playoffs – Begin a new tournament
  • Continue Playoffs – Continue with a previous tournament
  • Sudden Death – Normal game rules but the first to score wins the game

American football consists of four quarters, and you can choose how long these quarters are. Quarter lengths of 5, 10, and 15 minutes can be chosen.

You then get to choose the type of stadium and field you play on. The choices are:

  • Open stadium with grass
  • Open stadium with Astroturf
  • Domed stadium with Astroturf

When you select open stadiums, the weather can affect the game in the guise of wind, rain and snow. In the snow and rain, players are slower and have less traction. The wind affects field goals and punts making it trickier to judge direction.

The game came with a very comprehensive manual explaining in detail the intricacies of the plays and in-depth stats on the players. Simply by reading the manual, one could quite easily become an expert (or a bore).

The manual will help you learn the strengths and weaknesses of the various plays you can make (screenshot taken by the author)


Madden ’92’s competitors released in 1991 were Tecmo Bowl (NES) and Mike Ditka Power Football (Mega Drive). I haven’t played either of those games and so cannot compare playability, but I do feel that Mike Ditka Power Football’s graphics are slightly better than Madden ’92. That’s not taking away from Madden ’92 which I think looks very good.


Music doesn’t play a big role in this game, and one can live without the SFX. I tended to listen to a podcast or stick on some music.

Personal Memories

Naturally I had heard of American football as a youngster through American films but had never actually played it. I had previously played John Madden American Football (1990) which gave me the opportunity to learn how the sport was played. When we picked up Madden ’92, I was pleased to see there had been some improvements. There were more plays for the teams to perform, and when a player was injured, an ambulance would drive onto the pitch, which proceeded to plough through the huddled mass of players, splaying them across the field. Sadly, there was still no license for authentic teams, stadium and player names.

In my youth, I would always play as Chicago (because for some reason I liked the Chicago Bears), and my older brother preferred Cincinnati (Bengals). Like most sports games, Madden ‘92 is better in two-player mode. The negative aspects of this game include the fact that the players are very slow when running that trying to gain rushing yards is pointless. You may as well stick to throwing plays.

Did I Complete The Game?

In many modern sports games you don’t necessarily complete them, as much as win the league and cup titles and then move on to the next season. Completing early sports games simply means winning a tournament or league once before restarting with a different team. I have won the play-offs many times with several different teams including Chicago, Cincinnati, Buffalo and Philadelphia.

What The Critics Said:

Mean Machines:Better than the original John Madden’s football in every department. What more can be said?”. Overall 95%.”[1]

Mean Machines Index: “Featuring new teams, higher difficulty level and plenty of gameplay tweaks, this sequel does the impossible and improves upon the original to become the best Megadrive game yet seen! An essential purchase. Overall 96%[2]

Sega Power: “Better than the original, but at first sight it seems very similar. Don’t be fooled! (If you’ve got the original though – think before buying. It’s not radically different.) Overall 5/5.[3]

GamePro: “John Madden Football ’92 features the most talented computer opponent – ‘nuff said. Add to this the additional plays, two-player cooperative play, and improved graphics, and JMF ‘92 gives you great bang for your buck. Overall 5/5”.[4]

Sega Force: “Madden is one of those rare things, a complex game easy and fun to play, but with the detail to allow constant improvement by practice. Even rarer it merges detailed tactics with arcade gameplay so well, few people will be able to resist it. Overall 94%”.[5]

MegaTech: “This is the best American footy game anywhere on any machine. The graphics are excellent, and more importantly, the control system is easy to understand and use. No Megadrive owner should be without a copy. Overall 95%“.[6]

My Verdict: “An improvement on the first game. Definitely more enjoyable in two-player mode but sadly, the game hasn’t aged well.”


What are your memories of Madden ’92? I would love to hear your thoughts, and don’t for get to follow and subscribe so that you don’t miss my latest reviews! You can also find me on Instagram: @nicklovestogame.

[1] ‘Review: Mega Drive – John Madden Football ’92’. Mean Machines. (December 1991). Issue 15:20-24.

[2] ‘Review Index: Mega Drive – John Madden Football ‘92’. Mean Machines. (October 1992). Issue 1:139.

[3] ‘The Hard Line – Review: Mega Drive – John Madden ‘92’. Sega Power. (September 1993). Issue 46:97.

[4] Fanatic Fan. ‘GamePro’s Video Football Playoff – John Madden ‘92’ GamePro. (December 1991). Issue 29:55-56.

[5] ‘Reviewed – John Madden’s Football ’92’. Sega Force. (January 1992). Issue 1:36-7.

[6] ‘Game Index – John Madden Football ‘92’. MegaTech. (May 1992). Issue 5:76.