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Virtual Snooker (DOS)

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Developed by
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Critic Score
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
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Written by  :  piltdown_man (156629)
Written on  :  Sep 18, 2012
Rating  :  3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars3.4 Stars

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Smooth, fun and 'Goodness, doesn't Steve Davis look young!'

The Good

There are a few things I like about this game, the very youthful Steve Davis tutorials being one of them. They are intended to explain the principles of snooker, ball control and tactics and they're really quite interesting.

The game itself is very easy to play. First aim the cue ball with the mouse, then press 'S' and the mouse movements control the strike of the cue. Very intuitive and dead easy to pick up.

The sounds of the balls striking each other is good as is the game physics. The balls move as I would expect them, that doesn't mean they go where I expect them to go, but then that happens to me in real life.

I just played the computer and I beat it. That's only because it gave me more points in fouls than I gave it. Oddly it didn't feel like the computer opponent was playing badly, it felt like a regular game.
At times it felt like I was a kid playing my dad again when he'd accidentally miss a ball and leave me an easy shot.

There's no artificial aids in this game that I'm aware of. None of the advanced features that show the path the cue ball will take, no arcade features that put smiley faces on the balls. It's just a straight, enjoyable game of snooker.

The final thing I liked, although it didn't occur to me until I sat down to write a review, was the pace of the game. In some other games I've played the computer takes its turn quite quickly which sort of hurries the game along. Here the computer played at the same kind of speed I played at which resulted in a relaxed and pleasant gaming experience.

The Bad

I tend to zoom in when aiming a shot. Then when the shot is made the balls move around the table and, because I'm zoomed in, I have no idea where they went or how close the ball went to the pocket.

Other than that there's not much else to say against the game. Of course it's old now and the graphics are terribly dated resulting in some non spherical balls but that's not a fault of the game it's more a feature of the era in which it was developed.

The Bottom Line

The game is fun. The computer plays like a real person, it misses shots, it sets up snookers, and it was a pleasure to play.
Will it stay on my PC? Well it will stay for a while but it won't stay indefinitely. The problem is not in the game but with snooker itself. For me it lacks the 'WOW' factor that I can get from other games, and the way I play a game takes about fifteen minutes. That's the same amount of time as half a dozen games of freecell or pinball so I'll probably revert to that kind of casual game as a time filler in a week or so.

I played the game using an emulator, DOSBOX, and it crashed a few times until I tweaked the video driver selection. This is not a fault or a criticism of the game, nor is it a criticism of DOSBOX, but if any other player has problems getting this game to work then its sometimes useful to know that perseverance pays off.