2006: Under review: Real golf on Line 1

Mobile phone games are like 3-foot comebackers for par. They’re best straightforward and uncomplicated, needing about as much attention as that middle-aged, club-throwing delinquent in your foursome.

NBC Sports Real Golf (released Aug. 1 on Cingular), the newest golf game for your talking machine, is everything you need in a cellular links experience. And good enough reason to ignore that incoming call from your mother.

Think of all the places you might play a game on your cell phone: Commuter train, board meeting, church. The last thing you need is a golf game to frustrate you as much as your own swing does.

The controls are easy, made up of a power bar typical to most golf games, as swings consist of only two clicks. Aiming is just as simple.

Graphically, there is much more detail, which is refreshing even for such quick-hit entertainment.

You can set course conditions and choose different sets of clubs. Your golfer overreacts, throwing his club almost every time you don’thit a fairway or green. He also cheers the good ones, as you try to climb the leaderboard against fictional players such as Arnold Palms, Cougar Woods, Jacky Nichols, Leon Travini and Steve Ballsters.

The game’s only big drawback comes on the greens, where long putts are basically shots in the dark. There’s no real science to reading your putts, especially from more than 25 feet, which would be a huge problem for a console game. But this is a point-and-shoot playground, where the goal is getting through 18 before your boss notices rather than shooting 18 under.

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