Review by RhinoRichards

"Absolutely fantastic!!"

With no previous experience with any Virtual Pool games, it was only by stroke of luck that I ended up getting the game. It was cheap and as a keen Pool player myself in real life, I had no hesitation in getting the game - and to be honest, it was one of the best purchases I've ever made.

The whole game is just a total recreation of real life Pool. The graphics are great, and the gameplay is unrivalled in terms of other Pool games on the PC (and maybe other formats too). Where do I start? Well, for a start, when you load the game up what hits you first is how many game modes there are. You can play any billiards game imaginable. Want to play a quick, 3 rack game of 9-ball Pool? Go ahead! Want to play a long, 15 frame game of Snooker? Go ahead! The list is seemingly endless - you can play 9-ball Pool, 8-ball Pool (bar), 8-ball Pool (Pub - traditional pub Pool!), Snooker and many, many more. Honestly, there must be at least 20 game types for you to play. But 9-ball Pool is where it's at for me - totally addictive.

When you play your first game, you'll be asked to make yourself an ID. You will then use this ID to play your games and for every game (i.e. 9-ball or 8-ball) you will have a 'rating'. Your rating starts off at 1500 and from then on, obviously, how you perform at the Pool/Snooker table will determine how your rating goes up/down. This means that your games really mean a lot to you because you don't want that rating to drop too low!

There are all of these game types, loads of different tables to play on (you must unlock them first in career mode - more on career mode later), loads of cues to use (and cues can also be downloaded for your game) and there's a massive database of computer players, all with varying skills at the Pool table. When beginning, you can choose the guys and girls with the lower ratings just to get into the game - but it should only take you a matter of minutes before you are pocketing balls for fun. It's really easy to learn how to play. When you are more advanced you can choose to play against better people if you wish but be warned - learn how to play properly before taking on the big guns in this game! With the best players sometimes it only takes one missed shot from you and they will clear the table.

Where the game reaches a 10/10 level is the thrilling career mode. You start off with hardly any cash and you start off in the first division of many to come. For every Pool table, there is a 'division' or a 'region'. Your job is to take on other players in this region - every player has a price you have to pay to play them. This money is put on the line in the match you play. At the start, if I recall correctly, you start off with roughly $250. Therefore, you look around and play the guys who are within your price range. Say you played someone who is rated at $200 then if you beat them, your total rises an extra $200. It's really that easy to pick up and play. Once you have got enough money by beating other members in the 'division', you can challenge the 'Boss' of the current table. The Boss is the best player of the lot in the division you currently find yourself in, so you will have to pay a much higher price to play them.

But the reward is much bigger too. A huge pay-off is guaranteed if you win the match, and if you do beat the Boss you move on to the next Pool table, or 'division'. And so on, and so on. All of the tables differ in terms of atmosphere and colour. One time you'll play on a green cloth, next it will be red and the following table will be blue. It adds to the enjoyment of the game. Once a table is unlocked in career mode, it can be used in all modes including multiplayer. On a side note, multiplayer is great in this game and you and your mates will be addicted to it.

Overall, this game is a definite, 100% purchase. If you like the game of Pool, get this game immediately. Even if you are not a big Pool fan - get this game. NOW.

Reviewer's Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

Originally Posted: 08/19/03

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