World championship snooker has a learning curve of about an hour. At first the controls seem complicated but soon both amazing pots and outrageous misses can be racked up with reassuring regularity. In championships mode, you qualify to play in the crucible by pitting your wits against rivals in dingy clubs. In tournament mode, you can play your friends, making use of the network option. In terms or creating an appropriate ambience, the game is no more than the ordinary and despite having the familiar BBC snooker theme music, in-game sounds are repetitive and a little dull. Likewise, the blocky visuals never rise above acceptable. The key to the game’s success is playability. Once grasped, the sensitive aiming power controls give you every chance when going for a pot. Positional play or controlling where the cueball ends up is as difficult as the real thing. To control your virtual cue you can use the mouse, cursor keys or a combination of both. An overhead view can be accessed by holding down the space bar, giving an instant view of the wider picture. This view can also be accessed when your opponent is at the table. If you know the dynamics of snooker, the game’s control are tailor- made for you. It is easy to grasp the basics in hitting cut-backs and spin-shots but it takes a really delicate touch to be able to pull off good shots consistently. The most satisfying thing is that with a little practice you really do get much better. However, beware when playing the pros – give them a sniff and they’ll notch up breaks of 100 before you know it.
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If you aren't likely to get the chance to play at the Crucible but you still fancy your chances against the world's best snooker players, this is the game for you. Chalk up your cue and choose an opponent. There are four different modes: championship (go right throught to the finals at the Crucible Theatre and compete with the best; single match; tournament and masterclass (learn some crafty tips here!). When you start a game you choose a face, a waiscoat and a shirt to suit your mood and style of play. Use the masterclass to learn the skills you need to win at this game. You can learn to spin the ball, play a safety shot and do trick shots.Use the aiming system (make sure its switched on) to help you get the hang of exactly where the ball will go. (It shows the trajectory.) Once you feel confident go on to a full blown championship match. Play at Manchester, Birmingham and Newcastle, and get crowd effects to make it all more realistic. You can even vary the camera angle and here a running commentary from Dennis Taylor. You'll start off playing unknowns but as you progress you can take on the world's top seeds. The better you get, the harder the competition becomes. You might not get to be World Champion but this game is still a lot of fun. It takes a while to get used to the controls and you need to know exactly how to approach each shot if you are going to get anywhere in the ranking. It's a good idea to take the masterclass until you feel really confident as you'll get much more from the Championship matches if you've done this first. This game is good value at £30 as it will last you for a long time. I hate paying for games that get boring as soon as you've mastered them but I didn't find this was a problem with this game. You will need 32mb ram and a video card to play this game. If you want more details you can find them on the Codemaster web
site: www.codemaster.com I'm not really a snooker fan and I don't often play pc games but I liked this one. It was easy to learn and the controls didn't take forever to master.
Having been a fan of the snooker/pool sim since Jimmy White's on the ST and Amiga, I eagerly anticipated the release of this title. Thankfully I wasn't disappointed. The game plays superbly, the graphics are top notch with no jaggies on the balls. The control system is spot on too, you can control the spin, power, cue angle and loads of other options without the screen being cluttered with nondescript little icons. A simple press of a key or mouseclick brings up a small menu where you can select the required option quickly and easily. I have actually managed to make a break of 94, and by 90% skill as opposed to luck as in other snooker games. The strange thing about this game is how its improved my snooker in the real world. Another strange thing is that its the first game I've come across that requires DX8 for it to run properly!!! I would recommend this game to anyone, except perhaps somebody I'm not that keen on. One last thing to mention is the commentary. Like the commentary in most games it can be a little off on occasion which in my book makes it quite humerous!