Everyone has some hero in the sports world to whom he/she looks up to. Well, with me this hero is Raymond Ceulemans (sees a lot of readers putting on a strange face and asking : "WTF is Raymond Ceulemans?"), the Belgian pride when it comes to tri-band. Many will ask now "WTF is tri-band"? Well, tri-band is played on a snooker table without pockets and one needs to hit the red and yellow ball while using at least three bands. Another sport that's closely related to this one is snooker. And then we have come to the subject of this review: World Championship Snooker 2004 from Codemasters. Hurray!
Indeed, it's time again to crawl in the skin of several famous snooker players to replay the 2004 season. It's been done a thousand times already with soccer (FIFA anyone?), basketball, ice hockey and so on, and since a couple of years Codemasters does the same with snooker. And one has to admit it: they're damn good in it.
It starts immediately when taking a quick glance at the manual (small tip: read it, it comes in handy). You immediately see that the possibilities and effects you can do with the cue ball (the white one) are very wide. You can adjust the spin, the degree from which the stick hits the ball, the speed, and so on. From time to time you take the manual to see how to best play that certain hit. Isn't there an in-game manual that guides you through the basics of the game? Yes, but you'll quickly forget everything that's explained. A handy thing is the fact that the first pages of the manual contain a list with full description of all the keys.
Let's look a bit closer to what World Championship Snooker 2004 has to offer further. The main menu gives us plenty of choices and I'll give you a short overview of them. First of all there's Snooker and it's all in the game. Just a standard game of snooker against another player, computer or human. With this you can also start up a custom tournament which is ideal for family parties.
The second option is the LG Tour which is the so-called campaign mode. You start as little player and the goal is to end first in the world class. The name is given because the first tournament is the LG Tour.
Below that are the pool-games. Standard 8-ball or 9-ball games against computer or human opponent. Under that are the bonus games - several little snooker games that you can unlock by proceeding in the classification - and the trick shots. These last ones I personally found one of the most fun things in World Championship Snooker. You can do several trick shots and also learn new ones so you can use those afterwards in real life. Fun and admiration insured.
As I said before you can unlock bonus games but that isn't the only thing. The further you get in the tournament, the more money you earn and the more items you unlock which you can buy with your hard-earned cash. The gamma contains snooker tables, balls, cue's and even clothing. Everyone likes to change ties from time to time, not?
As you can see, the gameplay is way above average. Everything is worked out perfectly and the possibilities to get the ball in the right direction seem endless. But also on the graphical level things shine. The balls shine in the light, you see them rolling over the green carpet and disappear in the pocket beautifully. Just magnificent.
More than once I forgot it was my turn because I was so fascinated with the beauty of it all.
On the part of the sound some minor downpoints can be found. Ok, colliding balls and applause from the public are nicely done but what did bother me was the the audience everywhere seems to have a bad case of bronchitis. Coughing is all around, someone should really send out a doctor for inspection because I think some people are dying.
Also the commentary is at moments very repetitive. What I did like was the jukebox option. With this you can listen to music from your "Music" map in windows while remaining in-game. It creates a pretty special atmosphere, playing pool while listening to your favorite music.
World Championship Snooker 2004 is a great snooker game. Everything has been worked out perfectly, the graphics make you drool and the gameplay feels great. It's like you're really standing behind the table, ready to give your ball a good spin to be able to pot that damned green ball in the right corner pocket. For everyone who ever thought about starting with snooker but didn't really dare: here's your chance. For everyone else: practice never hurt anyone.
People who downloaded World Championship Snooker 2004 have also downloaded:
World Championship Pool 2004, Virtual Pool 3, Virtual Snooker, Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07, Maximum Pool, Virtual Pool 2, WWE Raw (a.k.a. WWF Raw), Jimmy White's 2: Cueball
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