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Game Over Online ~ Arcade Pool 2

GameOver Game Reviews - Arcade Pool 2 (c) Team 17, Reviewed by - Pseudo Nim

Game & Publisher Arcade Pool 2 (c) Team 17
System Requirements Pentium 75, 16MB Ram, 2x CD-ROM
Overall Rating 39%
Date Published Monday, August 9th, 1999 at 03:39 PM

Divider Left By: Pseudo Nim Divider Right

There are a few phenomena in the computer gaming industry I will probably forever fail to understand. One of them, and one I believe many people will forever fail to understand, is the Deer Hunter phenomenon. I do not see how, whether for a professional hunter, or for an amateur who’s scared of a real gun, hunting virtual deer can be fun. Along similar lines, I fail to understand how pool can be fun on the computer. Granted, the king of pools, Virtual Pool and its sequel, Virtual Pool 2 are classics - but those games actually teach you rules of pool (though when I went to play with a few friends and tried to quote VP2 rules they laughed at me), and allow you to experiment with various types of shots, strength and so forth. Mind, when you get to a real pool table, you find out that all those complicated paths you traced out with your cue ball easily on VP2 are virtually impossible to do on a real pool table, but at least you think you can do it. Self-esteem is always a good thing.

Which is where Arcade Pool 2… doesn’t come in. How can pool possibly be arcade? Oh wait, I think I know. The developers pooled their thoughts together, and thought, hey, what if we make a quick-and-dirty pool game over lunch, and sell it as Arcade Pool… and voila, AP2. To back my accusations with facts, though, here’s a rundown on just exactly how bad it is.

First off, there doesn’t seem to be a way to adjust the force with which you hit the cue ball. In Virtual Pool 2, depending how fast your mouse moved at the point of impact, the ball would either be sent flying, or would gently roll towards your target. In AP2, whether you move the mouse just a bit or whether you jerk it upwards (which, no matter the direction the cue is facing, is the strike movement) Moreover, there seems to be no way to cancel a shot - or at least I was unable to.

The graphics aren’t exactly stellar, either. They aren’t disgustingly bad, but you get pretty sick of them fairly quickly. The developers tried to decorate the pool table with extraneous objects, like car keys, that sort of sit on the table as if unintentionally forgotten - but that failed: not only did I think that it was an icon that meant something (time running out? I’m losing? I’m winning?), but they actually sort of distracted me from the game. There’s also a flashing icon reminding you to put chalk on your cue, the point of which I fail to see, as well - isn’t this Arcade?

The computer opposition is very inconsistent. What do I mean by inconsistent? I played against the best opponent, one whose name appears somewhere in the main menu or the intro screen, and I either lost to him horribly (like being left with 6 balls in 8-ball) or else I won, by leaving him with a slew of balls. And in a game of speed pool, I beat the “top” record by over five and a half minutes (4:30 down from 10:00). I do realise, of course, that 10:00 is a “default” time, but why is it under that person’s name? It makes it look as if he completed the round in precisely 10 minutes.

Overall, this is a bad game. I absolutely cannot see why anyone in their right mind would want to play it. But this goes back to the phenomenon of PC-based pool games - this is not a lucrative market, and I hope that after this title fails, game makers will realise it. My advice, save the money and go play some real pool instead. And by the way… why does the game make you click in the “top left corner” to access the menu in the intro screen? Weird.


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