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Arcade Pool

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Released: 1994

Genre: Sports

Format reviewed: Amiga 1200

Publisher: Team 17

Developer: Mario Savoia

Submitted by: Clarance Frank

A nice simple game this one, a top down pool title. Produced two years after Archer MacLean’s 3D creation, it’s not nearly as impressive from a technical point of view, indeed it can be argued that the playability here isn’t quite as good, but somehow this game succeeds.

For starters it works because it looks so nice. Choose the US ball set and the spotted and striped balls are beautifully animated, and there are lovely chunky sound samples of the balls dropping into the pockets, and suitably enthusiastic applause when a nicely considered shot (or a pure fluke) comes off.

The game has an impressive list of features – a choice of  UK or US ball sets, four table colours, UK or US rules 8 ball, plus a host of other game choices, from trick shot mode to a game of  'killer' with up to eight human or computer opponents. The tournament mode can be edited for your required playing needs – the computer opponents seem to have a varying amount of skill, although I manage to loose to most of them, just like down the pub! 

The control method is very simple, use the left mouse button to aim and the right to strike the ball, with simple strength and spin icons at the bottom of the screen that can be adjusted at a click of the mouse. As I mentioned before, the playability is slightly ropey, despite the excellent controls. A top down view is never going to give the accuracy of play that a three dimensional view affords, and this can be frustrating when pitted against a computer controlled opponent. However the ability to set up tournaments with up to eight human players means the game takes on a whole new dimension as a multi-player knock about. And because of the range of options and customisation, and the fact that the whole thing looks so pretty, the game is a hit on that level.

Arcade Pool isn’t in the same league as Archer MacLean’s effort in terms of its technical production, but it manages to compete in terms of pure fun.