953th played so far

Genre: Sports
Platform: Gamecube/Playstation 2/PC
Year of Release: 2004
Developer: Awesome Developments
Publisher: Ignition Entertainment

I don’t really know much about pool. I’ve seen some snooker years ago in late night watches and possibly a sports program of sorts at the gym and it looked interesting, but I never really got around to learning it. I guess I was never enough of a bargoer to end up in a snooker bar (or related game) and so I’ve never seen any of the variants at play.

I think I played a bit of an earlier game based on a set of rules that I figured out, but that’s in the early nineties and I’ve forgotten any rules that applied to it. All I can do is hope that it’ll teach me.

Our Thoughts

Sometimes I start writing up an entry early. It might be because the game is doing something so bad that I feel I need to get it documented straight away. It might be because I’m making a lot of connections that I want to get down. And yes, sometimes the loading times are long enough that I start writing bits and need a few minutes before I start the level. This game – and I can guarantee you while I’m still composing it – was written up while waiting for my opponent to take their turn in a random match. While the game feels nice when you can play, and a decent simulation of the rules, the AI needing ten seconds to think, then spending another five seconds to walk to their place and give an animated view of taking a shot. All in all, it can take easily a minute or two before you get to move again, with no option in the game to speed it up. That, I’m sorry to exclaim, is a bad job done on either the Playstation 2 port that I was playing or the game in general.

And it’s a shame because there is a lot here. The game isn’t quite as great about explaining how to play – the manual lacks the cue you need to take a shot (the analog cue mode isn’t just positioning, it’s actually doing the shot) and the rules are only vaguely mentioned in the manual, not in a way that I picked up on.

After that there’s a lot to see here. There are a lot of different rulesets implemented that it’d take quite some time to explore them all, and you can use money to buy both visual customizations – ball and table – as well as differently shaped tables and a bunch of minigames. The latter ties into the game’s setting on a tropical paradise, complete with still living dodos wandering the island. You get a loan shark who’ll fund you for up to three times, as you need to put money up during the competition so you can grow your wealth. This means you can go bankrupt after the third time you need the help, but with the slow speed of the game I never got to a point where I got to worry about it.

Final Thoughts

I know I kept going on about it, but the game’s speed is a real turn off. Wanting to get the best value out of my time for these games is a bit of a side effect for doing the blog, but this feels bad. It’s not even that it’s got a reason for taking this much time, other than being a bit too enamoured with their own animations, but so much seems to be standing around waiting for the game to decide what to do next. Such a waste.