Orlando is famed for Frak!, his cutesy Beeb game which was ever so badly ported to the C64 by Statesoft. His is also the name behind a number of quite brilliant Acornsoft titles. Now Orlando has discovered the Amiga, and has ported his 3D Pool game from the Archimedes and ST.
This is a pool game like no other. It aims to simulate the game from the position of a player. The big O says this is the reason you cannot see the table from directly overhead.
Even if you stood on the table - before the manager kicked you out - you would not get a proper overhead view. You would see your feet and the light would get in the way.
So what you get is what you see - a player's eye view of the table. Except there is no cue. The white ball is fired along the player's line of sight with top-spin and bottom-spin relying on the viewing angle. Side-spin is selected from an icon at the top of the screen.
Although you move around the table, the lack of a floor sometimes makes it feel as though you are staying still and throwing the table around.
The mouse mechanism takes some getting used to. Since both 3D Pool and Virus started their respective lives on the Archimedes, it might be something to do with Acorn programmers being able to cope with sensitive mice.
Pool is a short game, which makes it more exciting than snooker. Even so, 3D Pool heightens the competition by providing a number of computer-generated opponents who play at different strengths.
You can either practice against an individual or take part in a tournament in which the players are drawn at random. The final is played against Maltese Joe Barbera.
Once you have proved you are the hottest cueman to have laid hands on a mouse you can have a go at the trick shots. These display numbers for the angles involved and have you trying to puzzle over how to get balls into the right pockets. After you have solved the 19 tricks you can set up your own using an editor.
From the initial title screen to the roar of the crowds as you defeat Mr Joe, 3D Pool is great. It is playable, slick and technically brilliant.
3D Pool is a 3D pool simulation, another budget re-release from Mirrorsoft. It's played in a ghostly void, with the pool table drawn in solid vector graphics. The full complement of sixteen balls are light-source shaded, and move around the table in realtime. There's no visible cue or crosshair to help you line up the shot. Instead, you view the table from the tip of your imaginary cue, so when you hit the ball, it always travels directly "into" the screen. It's a strange idea, but it works. Even so, it could still do with a crosshair fixed to a vertical axis in the centre of the screen. The balls move around realistically, although it can be a little slow, as you might imagine. The only irritating feature is the very low top-end of the power bar, which doesn't allow very fast or hard shots. It's a great game anyway, which may be bettered by Archer McLean's forthcoming 3D Snooker, but for now it's in a class of its own.
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