World Class Leaderboard, Game Gear

The Game Gear has a surprisingly good conversion of World Class Leaderboard in its library. It was programmed by British company Tiertex and published by Sega in 1991.

Anyone who knows golf games will know Leaderboard – created by Bruce and Roger Carver of Access Software – because it was one of the first really good golf games ever made for home computers. It has a very simple but effective control system that makes its easy to play and understand. All versions of Leaderboard use this two-bar, two-press control system, including this conversion on the Game Gear.

During play the game makes a club selection for you, based on the ball’s distance from the hole, but you can push up and down to select whatever club you like. Making a shot: you first decide the direction of the ball by moving the marker left or right. You then hold down the fire button to decide the strength of the shot; let go, then press again to decide the slice. And that’s pretty much it. The wind direction can affect the flight of the ball, and on higher skill levels the slice of the ball has more of an effect on the shot.

The game has four courses (St. Andrews, Gauntlet, Doral, and Cypress Creek) and up to four players can play together, taking it in turns. Compared to the original Commodore 64 version this has a few extra options and features, like switching views (to either left, right, or overhead) before making a stroke, and sampled sound effects, like applause when you sink a hole under par, or a warning from the commentator when you hit a ball into a bunker

The only downside is that the game doesn’t give you a sand wedge for chipping the ball out of bunkers, but the way around that is to use the pitching wedge very carefully by tapping it slightly to make tiny shots. Doing that gives the effect of a pitching wedge.

I’ve seen people bad-mouthing this game online because it doesn’t draw in the landscape instantly, or because it doesn’t have a sand wedge, but those people are clowns who don’t know Leaderboard. Ignore the nay-sayers – World Class Leaderboard is a classic golf game that is still great fun to play – especially multiplayer – if you know what you’re doing. If you want a faster, more realistic game of golf, you shouldn’t really be playing a thirty year-old Game Gear game like this.

More: World Class Leaderboard on Wikipedia

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