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Game Over Online ~ Pool Shark

GameOver Game Reviews - Pool Shark (c) Gremlin Interactive, Reviewed by - Lothian

Game & Publisher Pool Shark (c) Gremlin Interactive
System Requirements Pentium 90, 16 MB Ram
Overall Rating 64%
Date Published Tuesday, March 2nd, 1999 at 02:59 PM

Divider Left By: Lothian Divider Right

The lighting is bad, the air thick with cigarette smoke and a cast of shady characters eyeballing your wallet are what usually await you at a pool hall. Gremlin Interactive’s PSX port of Pool Shark eliminates two of the above criteria by providing a virtual pool experience that rivals the real thing in that you won’t be hustled for everything you have; you can however be hustled though.

Through both software and hardware rendering, Pool Shark provides the player with a more-or-less realistic pool experience. The background graphics are done well, as are the tables, however the shortcoming of this title’s graphics comes from the NPCs. Once again, large jagged polygons make up your opponents, detracting visually from the game. For a pool game though, the overall visual impression left upon the player isn’t too disappointing, especially when compared to previous titles in this genre.

Laughing, cursing and yelling are what you would expect to hear during a typical pool match; Pool Shark barely provides us with anything but the clacking of balls off of each other. It’s actually rather quiet during a game, except for the comments made by NPCs when they miss (and the single line they use over and over gets irritating fast). Pool and music should go hand in hand, but not in this game; there actually seems to be no music at all.

Pool Shark as a one player game won’t hold the average player’s attention for long, however it starts to shine in multiplayer mode. Connections are available via TCP/IP, Modem, IPX and Serial. The gameplay is relatively smooth and there is support for up to 16 players over a network or on one machine (turn based). What this game lacks in challenge, it makes up for with competition; this is largely due to the fact that the controls are awkward and the AI is much better than you.

Your player is controlled using the mouse ... and I use the term controlled loosely. The accuracy of control in Pool Shark is terrible. It took me almost an hour to properly sink a practice shot using the right angle and amount of force that the tutorial instructed me to use. Since the game is played, as in real pool, with no gauges, you have to eyeball the angles and force you exert on the cue ball. Should you get good at this though, the one outstanding feature of Pool Shark is the variety of the gameplay. There are four main game types: Quick Start, Hustle, Match and Tournament. Subdivided into these categories are numerous different game configurations and styles that add more/less difficulty to the game for the novice/expert player.

Were the controls simpler to master, Pool Shark would probably be one of the better PC recreational sport games. However, when you get a bunch of your friends together and you all suck with the mouse, the game can actually be entertaining.


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