“ Genre: Sports „
Nostalgia time for me once again in the manner of Snooker this time. Back in the old days of the Atari ST one of the most addictive and worthwhile games you could have was Jimmy White's Whirlwind snooker. I remember my brother bringing it home and thinking that there was no way a snooker game could be fun. But I sure was wrong as we got hours out of that game, it was mostly exhibitions we played but there was the added fun of the trickshot which was good for a laugh too.
So many many years in the future and the sequel appears for the Playstation, again I Was silly to think that they could have done much with it. Of course they could, although the basis of the game is the same, the graphics are much improved. Gone are the blocky pixalted snooker balls and they're replaced by some very slick graphics and a much nicer and easier to use interface and general presentation.
The gameplay is similar in that you point and click to set up your shot, not forgetting to stop to chalk up your cue. Then let loose with your shot. Not much to it really, the sound is all authentic snooker cue and ball sounds and give the eerilie quiet presence of the crucible.
All in this is a great game and something very different from your usual sports game. Well worth a look as you can pick this up real cheap now.
Cueball versus World Championship Snooker
What was it that made Callan Cool venture into the local branch of 'Game' that morning? Not even he knew. He often popped in to browse the budget titles, and certainly couldn't afford even a fiver for a game. Never mind. There wouldn't be anything to interest him, he thought. Yet there it was, sitting on the shelves amongst the other £5 titles, World Championship Snooker (WCS). It stood out for one reason. The Coolster had had his eye on this title for a while, but at £10 in the
Codemasters Classics range it was priced out of his unemployment benefit. The Bills and food came first.
But here it was on Sold out, it's price halved. Could Callan resist the temptation. He left the shop without the game. He'd passed the test hadn't he? He turned the opposite way to which he'd intended to go, and walked straight back into the building society from which he'd left a short while previously. Minutes later a five pound note was in the till, and the Coolster was the proud owner of yet another Snooker title. He'd given away a scratchy copy of Virtual pool hall to his brother with the computer he'd fixed up for him. But he still owned a copy of the excellent Jimmy Whites 2 - Cueball, and the brilliant Cool Pool, which was a joy to play.
Codemasters had a reputation of producing renowned sports simulations and this was no exception. He'd found that despite its fantastic graphics Johna Lomu Rugby was too awkward to play, what with all the buttons to get used to, and with Toca Racing it was impossible to control the cars properly. Toca 2 was better in that respect but not perfect, as were the two Colin Mc Rae rally games. Oh they all looked great with the exception of the first Toca, but were all to hard to handle. It was with trepidation that he installed this game. I mean, with virtual pool and pool hall you only had an aiming guide in single player practise mode, and as he was hopeless at snooker and pool he was no good at the game. His brother so he told Callan, was much better at it, but was he really. What if WCS was just like Virtual Pool hall? He'd have wasted his precious God given resources on a game he couldn't play.
Jimmy White's was better in that respect. It had a mode where the computer lined up the shot for you, and you could let the computer take the shot or take it yourself by holding down the mouse button over the cue and moving the mouse back and forth like stroking a real cue. However you could only use this in practise mode against a friend or a computer opponent, and although you won nearly every game, you could only get to play Clueless Colin. You only moved onto the next opponent if you beat them in a proper game, and Cool wasn't good enough to do that. Any ball that wasn't over a pocket he'd miss. Oh the graphics were sumptuous, right down to the embossed 'Virgin' logo on the snooker table pockets. Archer Maclean did Richard Branson proud there. It had become the best selling snooker and pool simulation in the UK. Just how did you get to be able to play all opponents? I mean beating 'Clueless' was OK, but lost it's sparkle after a while. True Callan always beat him, whereas he'd be lucky to pot a single ball against the easiest of the computer practice in normal game mode. And he'd never get to play a game against Mr. White himself, would he? Come to think of it, there wasn't even a competition mode.
But what about WCS, did it suffer the same foibles as the Cueball and Virtual pool? At least Cool Pool featured the aiming guide in all matches, but competition mode was lacking. At Least WCS featured local leagues and tournaments, as well as the big one itself, The world Finals at the crucible. And all the venues were real snooker clubs from around the country; Manchester, Preston, Newcastle and London. The Coolster was very concerned that at some venues the crowd were seen drinking and smoking. After all this is supposed to be a game with a rating that kids of 3+ can safely play and people setting a bad example with images of people smoking and drinking. Some would say that those two activities are all around us anyway and that Callan was wrong to be concerned, but with his Christian beliefs he knew he was right. The game also featured the worlds top professionals and whilst you didn't see them drinking alcohol and smoking , the Coolster was concerned about fags and booze in the game whatsoever, no matter how small. In his opinion it was setting a bad example to the kids who would play the game.
'Never mind' he sighed, 'I won't play at the venues that feature smoking and drinking.' But he wondered if the game had a usable aiming guide that he could use in competition. Luckilly it did, but he found that getting the best out of it often meant aiming in the overhead view. This was a pain, as he had to hold his mouse button down over the top view icon before he could aim properly in this view. The solution was to use the arrow keys to aim in the top view and switch to the 3D view to take the shot. Unlike Cueball, he couldn't stroke the mouse as if it was a cue like he could in that game. Instead he had to click on the take a shot icon and move the mouse up and down to set power and click to take the shot. If he clicked when he wasn't aimed properly he could always right click to deselect. By contrast, the cue stroking action in Cueball was much better. If he hit it too hard he'd miss the shot, which gave the game a competitive edge. If he'd let the computer take the shot he always potted the shots, which was too easy. At least by stroking the cue he added an element of risk to the game which made it better to play, but as it was only available in practice mode he could only realistically play Clueless Colin with any chance of winning. WCS, on the other hand, having the aiming guide, was easy to play, but never a doddle. And the opponents got steadily harder as the rounds increased. Good job there was a save game option, even though you could only use it after a frame and not mid. The save Game in Cueball hadn't worked at all until he'd downloaded the patch from the publishers web site at www. Awesome.co.uk . It was on this site that Callan found a brilliant cheat. By simply exploring the snooker room, behind a potted plant in the corner was a mouse hole. In this room, as well as a Tom and Jerry style matchbox mouse bed, Cool found a cotton reel he could click on. Amazingly he found he was now able to play any computer opponent in practise mode. Whilst Colin as ever was easy to play, he found that although each opponent got tougher the further up the list you went, most were beatable. Even Jimmy could be beat if you were able to get a good break from the start. Callan had been averaging 30 breaks so this presented a challenge, but the wasn't insurmountable. Yet the lack of a tournament mode was a slight disappointment which was more than made up for by the lavish graphics, especially on the baize itself. The balls however did often tend to suffer from blockiness if they were small, yet surprisingly, the larger they were on screen, the more photo realistic they looked. The physics of the game were superb, and the game ran flawlessly on his old Cyrix 333 computer. He tried his hand at the draughts and darts mini games in the snooker room but couldn't get the 'Dropzone' computer game in the pool room to work, though he did manage to watch a game of basketball on the TV above the bar in there. 'Maybe other Ciao reviewers will tell me how to get into the game' he thought. The first thing that had caught his attention upon entering the Poll Room was the awesome American Diner style Pool Table. 'That table looks absolutely Fantastic!' He enthused 'The Aluminium panelling detail is out of this world. I doubt if I'll ever see a better looking table in any cue game.' Callan scoured the room 'Oh no! Not another bar' he sighed almost despondently. 'This is supposed to be a game for Kids to play as well!' He'd read on the Awesome web site that there were two buttons marked 'Do not press' in that room too, and although he searched high and low, he could find no trace of either of them. He tried the bubble gum lottery machine in there just for fun, but being a Christian, he'd never dream of actually doing the lottery as it was gambling. Why, the church he attended wouldn't even apply for lottery funding for 'The Hope Centre' it ran to help the unemployed and homeless like himself get back on their feet. 'And that,' he thought, was the right attitude, 'As no church should profit from something as immoral as gambling.'
By contrast, whilst there weren't as many objects in the WCS rooms, the rooms themselves looked great. The tables themselves were nowhere near as good as the tables in Jimmy Whites, yet the balls never pixelated at all, though to be fair, the ball shading often gave an unreal feel to then which both Virtual Pool and Cool Pool never suffered from. Their balls were always spot on. And WCS's crowds didn't look right. Even on a 64 Mb Geforce 2 card the bodies of the crowd didn't look right, and the ladies torso's in particular looked pathetic. The Coolster's religious beliefs prevented him from giving an accurate description of this phenomenon, but if you've played the game you'll know what he meant by it. The Stained Glass panels on the bars in the snooker clubs looked really accurate, right down to the Highland Spring Ice buckets, but although there was no alcohol or tobacco products mentioned by name Callan was unsure whether or not Bars should be portrayed in a Game young children and teens could buy. 'Never mind' he sighed 'I suppose as the venues are all real clubs then those clubs will have bars in them' He noted that the quality of graphics for the rooms and balls was excellent, with wooden flooring, stained glass and carpets coming in for the greatest praise, the tables and the rest of the graphics were a lot poorer than those in Cueball.
So which was the better game. The Coolster thought long and hard. 'Well,' he said, 'The aiming guide, challenging opponents and tournament and league mode of WCS are much better than Jimmy White's Cueball....... But the superb 'Cue stroking' action of Cueball just can't be beaten. The way you use the in game menus and the shot taking action of WCS lets it down. Plus there's a great Pool mode which is missing from WCS, and the side games are really cool. It's just a shame about the lack of a decent aiming tool and competition mode that lets it down. I really can't pick a winner. Maybe the DooYoo faithful could buy both games plus Cool Pool from 'Game' for a tenner for all three, and decide themselves as to which is the best. But I wonder what angle I can use to write the article for them to read? '
First things first I will admit I didn't actually buy this game, instead I downloaded it from Freeloader. I subsequently borrowed (and never actually returned, oops!) the game from my friend on CD anyway, but as it turned out both versions are 100% identical, so I need not have bothered. Anyway, Jimmy White's 2 is the follow up the original game (Jimmy White Snooker), which was released on a number of systems including the PC, Amiga and Mega Drive. I played it on all 3 and it was a very good game, but as time passed it became dated and became just too old to keep up with modern games. So this much needed update was needed to bring Jimmy White's in to the modern age. This game certainly did the trick, being one of the best snooker/pool games I have ever played. But it doesn't stop there, as Jimmy White's 2 also features games of draughts, darts and even that old arcade classic, Drop Zone. Snooker (and pool) are it's main feature though, and it does a very good job. First things first, how does it look. Overall the presentation of the game is very good, although the graphics aren't brilliant. They're functional but not brilliant, lets just say they won't push your new GeForce 3!! The game is set in a large mansion. You start in the main hall, with two doors in front of you, one of which leads to the snooker room and the other to the pool room. The main hall also contains all sorts of pictures, score tables and other such oddities. All can be viewed in greater detail, and you can just take a general look around. Not that you'll be doing that for too long, you'll be too eager to have a game of snooker!! Clicking on the correct door leads you in to the snooker room. The table is set in a traditional English snooker room, complete with open log fire, grand paintings and wooden decor. Just how you would expect snooker to be played in an old English country mansion. All I need now is a mansion
and a snooker table and I'm set!! The room is interactive and you can look and play with a lot of things, the most important being the table. Clicking on the snooker table displays the options for you to start a new game. You can choose to practice, or play a one or two player game. Most people will play the single player game, in which you are pitted against a long line of AI characters. At first you have to play the first one, but as you beat each one you get to play the next one, and as they increase in difficulty you're going to find it harder and harder to win a match. All the rules of snooker are in there, even some of the more obscure ones. Control can be done in one of two ways. You have the choice to either aim, and shoot with the mouse, or use the control panel at the side along with a power bar. Using the mouse you hit the ball by moving the cue back and forth, which is done by moving the mouse back and forth. This was a technique pioneered in Virtual Pool/Snooker (I think) and is a novel way to control a snooker game. In reality I normally use a combination of both methods, depending upon what type of shot I'm playing. Soft delicate shots are better played with the control bar, but for those blasted shots you can't beat using the mouse. Spin is an important feature in the game. Mastery of spin and swerve are vital, but it's here that I normally suffer against the computer opponents. And here lies my first moan about the game......... The computer players start off very good. They play very fairly and are close to how a real player would play but as you advance up the skill level their play becomes unbelievable. In real life a player does well by keeping the cue ball in position, but in this game your opponent simply plays outlandish shots. If they accidentally snooker themselves they will often play a pot off a cushion all the way down the table. Even if you snooker them they will often play a pot off a cu
shion. It wouldn't happen in real life and it is extremely frustrating when the computer does this, as it renders all attempts by you to play safe useless. They do make mistakes which is a godsend, but rather than them missing hard shots over easy shots they just seem to have a random time when they have to miss, and no matter how easy the shot would be, they miss. Should you get sick of snooker, don't fear. There are a couple of other things in the snooker room that will keep you occupied for a while. Along with the main two, the dart board and draughts table, there is a movable atlas and a working clock, that even chimes every hour!! The darts and draughts can be played against the computer or another person, just like the snooker, and are basically just simple versions of draughts and darts. Not much to say in reality!! The darts does prove a little hard to control as aiming and throwing is done with the mouse. Draughts relies totally on your skill!! Should you tire of the whole of the snooker room (unlikely as it may be) you then have the whole pool room to play around in!! This room has a very American 60's diner feel to it, in fact it is set in a bar! The table is noticeably smaller than the snooker table and offers 3 variations on the pool game, being UK 8 ball, US 8 ball and 9 ball. 8 ball pool is the standard game where you have to pot all you balls (red/yellows in UK, spots/stripes in US) but 9 ball is a little different, you have to hit the lowest value ball first, the winner being the person who pots the 9 ball (either by a cannon, or potting all the other balls then the 9 ball). Again you play opponents in order of difficulty, but due to the nature of pool the extreme play of the better opponents isn't as noticeable or annoying. I prefer snooker to pool, but pool serves much better as a quick pick up and play game! Just like the snooker room there are two extra little games in the pool room.
One is a fruit machine, the other a working version of the Drop Zone arcade game. The fruit machine is pretty useless really, it's just that when no money is involved it's all a little pointless!! Drop Zone on the other hand is a real gem, being a replica of the original classic. Unfortunately it is a little hard to do and I often can't get past the first level!! That's just about all there is in Jimmy White's 2. I can't tell you how good it is, probably the best pool/snooker game out there (with the exception, maybe, of Virtual Pool 3). It's a great continuation to the series and unbelievable detail has been paid to every single part of the game. It's a shame the AI is so tough at later levels as it is the only bad thing I can think of in the whole game. The graphics could also use a bit of a touch up, but they don't affect the game at all. The game will play on nearly any computer, with the minimum requirements being.......... Pentium 166 Mhz MMX processor or equivalent 32MB RAM DirectX 5.0 2Mb compatible video card 70Mb Hard Drive Space Definitely worth a look, especially for the snooker fan!!
As a big snooker fan I dashed out to buy this game for my Playstation on the day of release. My first thoughts of the game were, the graphics look good and the game has a few nifty sub-games such as one amed bandit , darts and a shoot-em up game. I found that playing on the pool table was very realistic. I found it easy to pot the balls using the sight line. Playing on the snooker table was a different story all together. Though the graphics were impressive, I found it very difficult to judge my aim, as I found the control system slow and jerky. It was also very difficult to line your shot up at close range because I would have a red ball thrust in my face which I felt was very off putting. The background music for the game for me was very iritating. I would hear the same sequance of music over and over again, and when the soundtrack changed the game would pause even if I was in the middle of lining up my shot or even taking it. I ended up switching the music off. To conclude, I would say that this game is not my idea of a good snooker simulation. Aviod at all costs is my advice.
This game is made by the people at "awesome develpoments", and published by Virgin interactive. This being the sequel to the top-selling Jimmy white's Cueball in 1993, and as you would expect, this game is a massive improvement of the origonal, because of the graphical capabilities of today's machines over the PCs you could by in the early 90s. This is the first thing that catches your attention about this game, the fact that the graphics on this game are absolutely spot-on. You can zoom right in on a shot, and you will get no pixelation at all, and the shots seem so smooth, as long as you have a graphics card that has more than 4MB (most nowadays). The phsics of the balls and the collisions works to perfection, even small deatails like collusion are included (This is when hitting the cushion harder will make the ball come off at a sharper angle, than at a slower speed) and that you do have to remember to chalk the cue, or you will chip the ball when you perform a screw shot. As well as playing against the computer, you can do trick-shots, where you position all the balls to set up something to amaze your friends. This is particularly effective when you attempt a shot where you raise the cue angle, and put side on the ball, thus swerving the cueball around the other balls, and making it look like you are a true pro!. There is also the option of playing over a network against other people, either over a LAN connection, or over the internet. Which is very fun if you set up a tournament between you friends or something. When you first play it, you may think that the learing curve is a little hard, and you would be right, it is a difficult game to play (as snooker is!, the pro just make it look easy on the telly), and you will be lucky to pot one ball on your first attempt, but over time you will get better. The good thing about this is, because this game is such a good simulation of the real thing, that your Sno
oker ability in real life will improve too. Don't you believe that snooker is the only game included within this package. As you can play pool, darts, chequers and an arcaede game produced by Archer Maclean himself a few years ago called "dropzone", which too is fun in a retro kind of way. Because the game is set in a mansion, you get a free-roaming way to get to all your games, for example you could be playing snooker, but you want to turn some music on, you acan actually walk to the jukebox and put some on, and then walk over to the dart board and start a game of darts. Overall, if you are interest in snooker then this is one of thoso MUST HAVE games, because you will enjoy it for starters, because of the realism, and will improve your real-life game too!
Cueball 2 is an enjoyable but complex game. It will take time and patience to master the game but feels very satisfying when you manage to cut a ball into the middle pocket, which you may well develop a habit of doing when you realise how you can do it! The aim of the game is to be champion of both the pool and the snooker room. There isn't any reward however apart from that you get to play as Jimmy White if you beat him in the Snooker mode. This, however, you won't, as unless you are unemployed you will not have the time to get the art of potting a ball into a pocket which seems too small for the ball! You can have practice mode and two player mode to start with, which will help you perfect your potting skills. I would recommend staying completely away from the snooker mode until you are champion of the pool room (which isn't hard - I managed to complete it in a week!). The pockets are wider making it easier to pot on the pool table, so this will help you develop your skills of cutting the ball or how to hit it accurately straight. You are assisted with your shot by many things - you can put a line marking on, which is a flashing white which indictes where the cuball will go (this is the symbol on the screen below the 'take shot' symbol). This means you can see how hard your shot is going to be or where you will hit the ball you are going to hit. When taking a shot, always put this on because it will assist you greatly in getting your shot just right. I reccommend putting the white line on and then adjusting your power (hold down the square button, and then press L2 to increase the power and R2 to decrease the power)so that the white line goes just past the pocket you are aiming for. This will mean more accuracy and once you develop your shot techniques with minimum power then you will be able to apply more power and get your soins and swerves just right. The birds eye view of the table(symbol at bottom left hand oft
he screen)is also worth taking a look at before playing a shot as it will show you, if you are going to put the right or if you have got a good angle on the ball you want to hit. The birds eye view is also good for getting out of tricky snookers. This is a positive thing in some ways but makes it nearly impossible to snooker anyone in two player mode. Oh, and don't even try of snookering the computer as it won't work! Once you have mastered the art of using the white line and the table plan view, how to hit your shot with accuracy and how to cut the ball then it is on to the spins and playing for position. This is done by pressing the circle button when on the take shot symbol and then moving the black dot around the cue ball. If you know what the spins do then you will be able to beat anybody. If you don't then you will find out! Eventually you will complete the pool mode and go onto snooker mode, which is a lot harder. (I've been trying for a few months and still can only beat the second person!) It is worth practicing positional play on the pool table so that you find it easier on the snooker table. The trick on the snooker table is to play shots accurately put with little power. You will rack up more points doing this then playing hard and inaccurately. On top of these two fantastic modes you can play darts or draughts, play on a gambler and play a little space game. It only needs a bar and a fag machine and you're sitting in a pub on your telly! This is a very good game, and fans of pool or snooker will find it enjoyable. It is a hard game to master, and the balls react in a similar way to real life. What isn't simmilar however is how you hit the ball. It is quite hard to judge where the ball is going to go, but once you learn how the computer works you will be away. This is a minor flaw. There aren't really any major flaws. An annoying flaw though is when the game pauses because the music is changing.
This becomes bearable but will be annoying at first. I would recommend this game to any pool or snooker fan, as I am one as I enjoyed it thoroughly. Buy it if you don't have, and when you buy it, enjoy it!
A game developed by Awesome Developements.