Links 2001

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Links 2001
Links 2001 cover.jpg
Developer(s)Microsoft
Publisher(s)Microsoft
Designer(s)Bruce Carver[1]
Artist(s)Eric Parkinson[1]
Composer(s)Matt Heider (Next Level Music)[1]
SeriesLinks
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Macintosh
Release
  • US: October 2000
Genre(s)Sports
Mode(s)Single-player
Multiplayer

Links 2001 is a golf video game developed and published by Microsoft. It is part of the Links series and follows Links LS 2000. It is the first game in the series to include a golf course designer, allowing the player to create custom courses. It also features Arnold Palmer, Sergio García, and Annika Sörenstam as playable golfers.

It was released for Microsoft Windows in October 2000, and received "generally favorable reviews" according to Metacritic. Critics praised the graphics, game physics, and the addition of a course designer, but the game's voice-overs were criticized, particularly those of García and Sörenstam. The game sold an estimated 240,000 copies in the United States.

Links Expansion Pack, released in May 2001, offers additional features for the game. Links Championship Edition, released in September 2001, consists of Links 2001 and the expansion pack.

Gameplay[edit]

Links 2001 features five real golf courses: Aviara Golf Club (California), Chateau Whistler (Canada), Old Course at St Andrews (Scotland), Prince Course at Princeville Resort (Hawaii), and Westfields Golf Club (Virginia). A fictional sixth course, called Mesa Roja, features a red rock desert environment meant to be somewhere in the southwestern United States.[2][3][4][5] The game includes informational videos of each course.[6] A course converter allows courses from the Links LS games to be played in Links 2001. Courses from Microsoft Golf 2001 Edition can also be made compatible.[7][8]

The game features 14 golfers, including Arnold Palmer, Sergio García, and Annika Sörenstam,[9] and the player can choose to make their golfer left-handed.[3] The on-screen golfer makes comments in reaction to the player's golfing.[10] The player can create new golf characters with various customization options, which include the golfer's appearance. The player can also customize the golfing clubs.[6][11] The player chooses from three different golf swing methods: Easy, Classic (traditional two-click and three-click methods), and the complex PowerStroke.[2][9][12] The swing meter can be moved around to any location on the screen.[9][3] When putting, a grid overlay aids the player, and includes varying colors to help determine terrain differences.[11][9][3]

Links 2001 features 46 game modes, including Bingo Bango Bongo, match, scramble, skins, and stroke.[11][9] Rather than a set of default tournaments, the player creates their own custom tournaments,[10] with up to 63 computer-controlled opponents.[5] The game also includes the Mode of Play Designer, which allows the player to edit the existing game modes.[2][9] Additionally, the game's Arnold Palmer Course Designer allows the player to create custom golf courses. The designer includes over 1,000 textures, and additional textures can be imported.[11] The player can also create custom sound effects for the game and can import sound scripts from previous Links games. The game also offers 3D video support.[4] Upon its release, the game featured three multiplayer options: modem play, Microsoft Gaming Zone, and the online Links Tour.[5][3] Online tournaments were also offered through the Virtual Golf Association.[13][14][15][16][17]

Development and release[edit]

Links 2001 was developed by Microsoft,[18][9] and uses a revamped graphics engine and new game physics over its predecessors.[12][19] The greens in the game were created through 500 GPS points taken on the actual golf courses.[9][5][3][20] Microsoft described the game as "the most comprehensive upgrade to the series since Links: The Challenge of Golf was introduced ten years ago".[21] Links 2001 is the first game in the Links series to include a course designer. The Arnold Palmer Course Designer is the same tool used by the development team to create the six included courses.[11][20][22] García and Sörenstam provided their voices to the game,[23] and Sörenstam is the first LPGA golfer to be featured in the Links series.[24] Links 2001 was completed in mid-October 2000. It was published for Microsoft Windows and was released in the United States at the end of the month.[25][26] The game was published by Microsoft as a set of four CDs.[6][27] The course converter was released in January 2001.[7][8]

An expansion pack with additional features, titled Links Expansion Pack, was announced in February 2001 and was released in late May.[28][29] A patch for Links 2001 was released in June 2001, offering various corrections.[30] Links Championship Edition, consisting of Links 2001 and the expansion pack, was released for Windows in September 2001,[31][32] and a Macintosh version was published the following year by Bold.[33][34] Links Expansion Pack Volume 2 was released in November 2001, and is compatible with Links 2001 and Links Championship Edition. Among its new features are additional courses and golfers.[35]

Reception[edit]

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
Metacritic86/100[36]
Review scores
PublicationScore
AllGame3/5 stars[18]
CGM4.5/5 stars[9]
CGW4/5 stars[37]
Eurogamer8/10[10]
GameSpot8.7/10[5]
GameSpy92/100[38][3]
GameZone4/10[27]
IGN8.5/10[6]
PC Gamer (UK)88%[21]
PC Gamer (US)91%[39]
PC Zone7/10[40]
Gamecenter9/10[12]
Hartford Courant9/10[41]
Sports Gaming Network90/100[4]
Award
PublicationAward
Software and Information Industry AssociationCodie Awards (Best Sports Game; 2001)[42]

Links 2001 received "generally favorable reviews" according to Metacritic.[36] Critics considered it an improvement over its predecessors, including Links LS 2000.[11][3][6][21][4] Some considered it the best golf simulation available,[11][12] while others felt that PGA Championship Golf 2000 was a superior game.[18][5][40][4] Keith Pullin of PC Zone wrote that "only the most loyal of Links fans will actually notice any difference" between Links 2001 and its predecessors.[40]

The graphics were generally praised and considered the best in the Links series up to that time.[11][3][9][12][4][5][37][10][39] Stephen Poole of GameSpot called it the best-looking golf simulation available at the time.[5] However, IGN's Dan Adams considered the graphics and the golfer animations to be lifeless.[6] Eurogamer stated that the golfers were "superbly done," but that they "can appear a little false and fuzzy around the edges when set against some of the course backgrounds."[10] Alan Lackey of Computer Games Magazine stated that the golfers "look more natural to their surroundings and no longer have the appearance of being pasted into the scene."[9]

The inclusion of a long-awaited course designer was praised and viewed as a significant addition to the series, although some critics noted its complexity.[11][3][12][5][37][39] Michael L. House of AllGame wrote that "the ludicrously uninformative and hopelessly inept documentation in the manual and online instructional help doesn't remotely provide enough data for the casual gamer to even begin to complete a playable course within a reasonable time period."[18] However, Steve Brown of PC Gamer felt that the course designer was easy to use.[21]

The voice-overs were criticized as being repetitive and of poor quality, particularly those of García and Sörenstam.[3][12][4][5][6][37][10][18] Eurogamer praised the audio, especially the sound of crowd murmuring.[10] Sports Gaming Network complained of missing and delayed sound effects, and wrote about the audio, "What has always been a strong point in the series has actually gotten a little worse."[4] The game physics were mostly praised,[11][3][12][10][6][9][39] although Pullin considered them to be poor, and also felt that the PowerStroke method was too complex.[40] Some critics noted game installation issues and video card compatibility problems, as well as the large installation size of more than one gigabyte.[3][9][12][4][37] Some criticized the lack of changeable shirt colors for the golfers.[18][5][4]

House was disappointed that the game did not release simultaneously with the course converter, and also noted various game glitches.[18] John Brandon of GameZone felt that the game was bloated with too many features. He criticized the game's sluggish pace and wrote that the game takes golf and realism "way too seriously," stating, "I don't want to play actual golf, I want to play simulated golf."[27]

In 2001, the game won a Codie Award for Best Sports Game from the Software and Information Industry Association.[42] The game was also nominated for the 2001 Interactive Achievement Awards in the categories of PC Simulation and PC Sports, but lost both.[43][44] The game was tied with Madden NFL 2001 for a fourth-place ranking in the 2001 PC Sports Game Writers' Poll, conducted by Hartford Courant and CTNow.[45][46]

Links 2001 was the ninth best-selling computer sports game of 2000, with 87,521 copies sold.[47] Ultimately, the game sold an estimated 240,000 copies in the United States.[48]

Links Championship Edition[edit]

Reception
Review scores
PublicationScore
Inside Mac Games6.5/10[49]
MacAddict4/5[50]
Macworld3.5/5[51]

Several critics reviewed the Macintosh version of Links Championship Edition. Peter Cohen of Macworld called the game "a startlingly realistic simulation of golfing," but stated that its "complex interface may make it daunting for casual duffers."[51] Niko Coucouvanis of MacAddict wrote that non-golfing fanatics would be bored by the game.[50] Eddie Park of Inside Mac Games praised the variety of options and recommended the game for hardcore golfers, but noted "a minimum of animation, a lack of sound," and graphics that "look flat and dated".[49]

The Windows version sold an estimated 100,000 copies in the United States.[48]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b c "Links 2001 credits". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  2. ^ a b c House, Michael L. "Links 2001 overview". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Quigley, Shawn (October 31, 2000). "Is the Woods vs. Garcia rivalry getting new life?". SportPlanet (GameSpy). pp. 1–6. Archived from the original on January 19, 2001.
  4. ^ a b c d e f g h i j "Links 2001 (PC) Review". Sports Gaming Network. November 28, 2000. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  5. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k Poole, Stephen (November 3, 2000). "Links 2001 Review". GameSpot. Archived from the original on October 19, 2014.
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h Adams, Dan (November 2, 2000). "Links 2001". IGN. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  7. ^ a b "Links 2001 Course Converter Now Available for Download". GameZone. January 31, 2001. Archived from the original on March 9, 2001.
  8. ^ a b "Course converter for Links 2001 available". Computer Games Magazine. February 1, 2001. Archived from the original on May 25, 2003.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Lackey, Alan (November 25, 2000). "Links 2001: Microsoft finally joins the front of the pack". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on May 18, 2003.
  10. ^ a b c d e f g h "Links 2001". Eurogamer. November 24, 2000. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Rice, Kevin (2000). "Links 2001 Review". Daily Radar. Archived from the original on April 13, 2001.
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i Ocampo, Jason (November 17, 2000). "Links 2001". Gamecenter. Archived from the original on January 6, 2001.
  13. ^ Walker, Trey (June 25, 2001). "Links 2001 VGA Tour begins". GameSpot. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  14. ^ "VGA Tour Finals". IGN. November 19, 2001. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  15. ^ "Microsoft Keeps Gamers Rolling in Money". IGN. November 26, 2001. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  16. ^ "VGA Vids". IGN. November 29, 2001. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  17. ^ "Virtual golf games tee off". BBC. November 18, 2001. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  18. ^ a b c d e f g House, Michael L. "Links 2001 review". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 15, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  19. ^ Rice, Kevin (2000). "Links 2001 Preview". Daily Radar. Archived from the original on April 17, 2001.
  20. ^ a b Abner, William (April 14, 2000). "Links 2001: Return of the king". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on July 4, 2003.
  21. ^ a b c d Brown, Steve (Christmas 2000). "Links 2001". PC Gamer. Archived from the original on September 2, 2002.
  22. ^ Fudge, James (July 14, 2000). "Links 2001 Course Designer Beta Sign-Up". Computer Games Strategy Plus. Archived from the original on July 9, 2003.
  23. ^ Lackey, Jeff (October 17, 2000). "Links 2001: Links fans finally get a course designer". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on June 30, 2003.
  24. ^ Ferguson, Doug (August 6, 2000). "Tiger's Education: Learning How to Access His Money". Los Angeles Times. Associated Press. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  25. ^ Fudge, James (October 17, 2000). "Links 2001 Goes Gold". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on July 9, 2003.
  26. ^ Fudge, James (October 28, 2000). "Links 2001 Spotted on Store Shelves". Computer Games Magazine. Archived from the original on August 21, 2003.
  27. ^ a b c Brandon, John (November 13, 2000). "Links 2001". GameZone. Archived from the original on April 17, 2001.
  28. ^ "Links 2001 Expansion Pack on the way". Computer Games Magazine. February 28, 2001. Archived from the original on April 18, 2003.
  29. ^ Deci, T.J. "Links Expansion Pack". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  30. ^ "New Links 2001 Patch Available". IGN. June 8, 2001. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  31. ^ "Golfers Rejoice". IGN. September 20, 2001. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  32. ^ House, Michael L. "Links Championship Edition overview". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  33. ^ "Bold's new golf game to be Links Championship Edition". Macworld. September 28, 2001. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  34. ^ Cohen, Peter (August 3, 2002). "Links Championship Edition ships". Macworld. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  35. ^ House, Michael L. "Links Expansion Pack: Vol. 2". AllGame. Archived from the original on November 14, 2014. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  36. ^ a b "Links 2001". Metacritic. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  37. ^ a b c d e Lackey, Jeff (February 2001). "Tee Time". Computer Gaming World. p. 113.
  38. ^ "Reviews index (L)". GameSpy. Archived from the original on February 8, 2002.
  39. ^ a b c d Smolka, Rob (January 2001). "Links 2001". PC Gamer. p. 165.
  40. ^ a b c d Pullin, Keith (August 13, 2001). "Links 2001". PC Zone. Archived from the original on September 15, 2007.
  41. ^ Rosano, Paul (November 19, 2000). "A Better View With 'Links 2001'". Hartford Courant. Retrieved July 2, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  42. ^ a b "2001 Winners". Software and Information Industry Association. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  43. ^ "PC Simulation". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on May 10, 2012.
  44. ^ "PC Sports". Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences. Archived from the original on May 11, 2012.
  45. ^ "PC Sports Writers Poll". Hartford Courant. February 4, 2001. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  46. ^ Rosano, Paul (February 4, 2001). "'NHL' Tops 2000 Poll". Hartford Courant. Retrieved July 2, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  47. ^ Rosano, Paul (March 4, 2001). "PC Games Lagging Behind In Sales". Hartford Courant. Retrieved July 2, 2019 – via Newspapers.com.
  48. ^ a b "The Top 100 PC Games of the 21st Century". Edge. August 25, 2006. pp. 1–2, 11. Archived from the original on October 17, 2012. This list is for the U.S market only. This list only features games released since January 2000 for Windows PCs. Other Franchise Hits qualify if they use the same IP or character in broadly the same genre, and if they managed respectable sales of (roughly speaking) above 100,000 units.
  49. ^ a b Park, Eddie (August 19, 2002). "Links Championship Edition". Inside Mac Games. Retrieved July 2, 2019.
  50. ^ a b Coucouvanis, Niko (January 2003). "Links Championship Edition". MacAddict. Archived from the original on September 9, 2004.
  51. ^ a b Cohen, Peter (February 1, 2003). "The Game Room". Macworld.

External links[edit]