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Stuart Campbell wears fairly silly trousers at the best of the times, so we bunged him a pair of plus fours and said 'Try this on for size'...

Okay, let's get something out of the way right at the start. You might, after NHLPA Hockey and John Madden 93 and the rest of 'em, be expecting PGA Tour Golf II to be an improved-but-not-really-all-that-different version of the original PGA Tour Golf. And you'd be right, and that's that. Not, of course, that there aren't any differences, there are. You get three new courses to play, a new kind of golf to play (the 'Skins Game', which is a matchplay game where each hole is played as an individual contest for money), and some new control facilities to play with. But at heart, this is much the same game engine as it was before, which is fine. As with EASN's other updates, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.

So let's do the traditional stuff. First up, should owners of the original PGA Tour buy this? Answer - only if they've got more money than sense. Sure, it's better, but only in the same way that having a 26" TV is better than having a 25" TV - undeniably true, but you wouldn't buy both of 'em to be able to appreciate the differences.

So, next obvious question. Should those of you who DON'T own the original PGA buy this? Answer - yes, frankly. This is a spiffing game, absorbing and entertaining to play by yourself but also immense fun if you've got a couple of mates round. Not only that, but unlike so many Mega Drive games (namely the coin-op conversions and arcade-style blasters and platformers, ie about 70% of the catalogue), this is a video game which is actually cheaper than the thing it's simulating. Let's face it, Sonic 2 is lots of fun, but if it was a coin-op it'd take you about half-a-dozen goes at a maximum of 50p each to get to the end of it, leaving you (in one sense) spending 40 for three quid's worth of entertainment. Joining your local golf club and having the odd round, however, would probably cost you the price of this cart every time you got your tees out (for the lads or otherwise). And that after a three-year wait, to boot. But I'm getting a bit off the track here. Back to PGA II, yes?

Right, so it's golf. Why, then, since golf itself is so crap, is this a good game? Well, obviously, you don't have to do all that tedious trekking around for miles and miles chasing after something only to batter it as far away from yourself as you can when you catch up with it. But even apart from that, this is a real joy to play in its own right. It's so finely controllable that the pickiest golf pro will be able to do just about anything they'd feasibly want to, but if you're just after a quick knockabout the game does so much for you that you never have to worry about anything more than a quick reaction-test on the shot-power meter. The Mega Drive selects the best club, points you right at the flag, all you have to do is hit the B button three times and the ball's flying straight for the hole. Not only that, but there are options aplenty to fiddle with, like the smart action replay facility and the great hole preview, where a camera swoops dramatically down and around each hole as if suspended from a helicopter, and the one where if you mess up on a shot, you can take a 'Mulligan', which basically allows you to cheat until you hit a shot you like and then play on from there. And some other ones, too. It's brilliant really.

It's not all sweetness and light, the sound is a series of clunks and clanks and jarring, overloud music, and the ball tends to stop rolling a bit suddenly and unrealistically, but there really aren't any major gameplay faults here at all. For multi-player sporting fun, you'll have to go a long way to beat PGA Tour II.


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Looks simple, but effective

Easy-to-use control

...but still excellently flexible

Seven complete courses

Two different kinds of game

No-nonsense, fast-moving play

Groovy action replay

Nice 3D effect


Slightly dodgy ball-rolling

Fairly nob sound



As is becoming par for the course (arf!) with these EASN games, there isn't all that much difference between this and PGA 1, but it's undeniably the Mega Drive's best golf sim yet. If you haven't got the first game, don't miss PGA II.