Leaderboard, ZX Spectrum

The ZX Spectrum conversion of the classic Commodore 64 game, Leaderboard, was coded by Roy Gibson and Ian Weatherburn, with graphics by Simon Butler, and was published by US Gold in 1987.

While it is playable enough it’s fair to say that it is probably the most bare-bones and basic conversion of this great golf game out there.

The developers decided that they wouldn’t bother putting the vital match information in a panel on the right-hand side of the screen (as can be seen in virtually every other version of Leaderboard), but instead show it before each shot. This was a mistake in my opinion, because it makes the same look spartan, and also because that information is useful when playing. Necessary, even.

The double-tap swing mechanics, ball simulation, and animation are all recognisably Leaderboard-like, but the game as a whole lacks visual appeal. The original Leaderboard (compared to World Class Leaderboard) is played on a series of four water courses and has no trees or bunkers, or other visual details, and as a result the game does look a bit empty. And – compared to the original Commodore 64 version – the lack of colour makes the experience far less enjoyable.

Leaderboard on the Spectrum is enjoyable enough to play. I shot a couple of rounds of 18 holes and it felt good to me, as far as playability goes. But the game definitely lacks something. And that something is probably visual appeal. Playing Leaderboard on the Spectrum is like playing a game that is only half-finished. World Class Leaderboard is much better on the Spectrum, but that’s not without its problems either.

More: Leaderboard on Wikipedia

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