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Accolade Inc
Chris Fayers
Sport: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K/128K

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Sean Kelly
Chris Bourne

Mini-Putt is a straightforward simulation of the sport of Crazy Golf. There is one or two player mode, and a choice of four courses, each made up of nine holes. Two of those courses are loaded with the main game, and the other two from the multi-load. And many well known (!) holes, such as the 'windmill' - with revolving windmill blades - the 'castle' and the 'aeroplane' can be found on the courses, as can oodles of bouncy walls, obstacles, hills, hollows and ponds, all determined to send even the most crazy of crazy golfers even crazier.

The playing screen is made up of four units, the main one being the view of part of the hole you are playing. Underneath this are (four minus one equals...) three more units. The left unit shows the power needed to accomplish a particular shot, the middle unit, a plan view of the complete hole, and the right unit a list of hole, par, number of putts taken, current value of BP shares...

To play a hole, you first move the 'X' on the main screen to the spot where you wish the ball to end up. Next the power of shot needed to get the ball there is noted, and then by cunning use of the fire button, a bit of dexterity and the two scales, you set the speed and accuracy of the shot. How good the shot is depends on whether you get the right speed and accuracy. Once your whack is completed, you'll then see the ball either slowly lolloping along, or thundering around bouncing off everything in sight, depending on how hard you hit it. When it comes to rest, you start again. And... er... that's it.

This is one of those games which could, with a little more effort, been quite a funny and addictive game. As it stands, however, there are a number of things which let it down. It is very easy to play, and quite often a hole could be completed by hitting the ball as hard as possible in the direction of a hole. If the hole was surrounded by fairly close walls, then more often than not belting the ball with your club (that's the technical term for the big stick) would result in a ricochet ending up in the hole. Most of the holes had a par of two, which also indicates the ease with which they could be completed.

I found the game a little tedious, firstly because of the repetitive nature of taking a shot, and also because more time was spent watching the ball belt around and slowly stopping than actually being involved in the game.

In the end it reminded me of a single event in something like Decathlon: where although each event is fairly simple and easy to control, playability is increased by the range of different events. Unfortunately, in Mini-Putt the only variety is from the number of holes, and the game play remained boringly simple throughout.

I expect that playing in two-player mode would increase the fun for a while, but again the novelty would wear off pretty fast. Not a game I feel I could recommend to even the most hardened of crazy golf fans. If there are any.

Unspectacular view from above, hit ball and watch it bound around' type game, slightly redeemed by a two player mode.