Video Pool

by James Hutchby
Oxford Computer Publishing
Crash Issue 15, Apr 1985   page(s) 14

Producer: OCP
Memory Required: 48K
Retail Price: £5.95
Language: Machine code
Author: James Hutchby

Here is yet another pool simulation program complete with the features that we have come to expect. In essence all that's required to win is to pot the five numbered balls on the table without losing any lives.

To make a shot one simply steers a cursor around the cushion and when it is in line with the cue ball and in the direction necessary for the shot the player then holds down the space key until the required level of power (shown on a bar indicator) is reached. Releasing the space key makes the shot. Scoring for pool can be pretty complicated. Here the points are calculated as a multiple of the frame number, the ball number, the pocket value all multiplied by ten. The shot must be potted before the end of the shot count, if you fail to pot a ball after 5 shots then you will lose three of your lives. You will also lose a life if you pot the cue ball or miss a ball altogether. Higher skill levels are achieved by reducing the time allowed to make a shot, using smaller pockets and reducing the number of attempts available to make a shot.

The menu allows selection of a two-player game. In this mode each player has a unique set of balls. A special mode allows the selection of two versions of the standard game, the first of which requires that the balls are potted in numeric order. The second and hardest of the variations is the game in which the player has to pot the balls into the pockets bearing the same numbers.

The package has a mode referred to as 'Table editor' which allows you to set up a table with the balls in any position so you can practice those hard-to-get shots.


Control keys: user definable, preset M/SS left/right Space to shoot
Joystick: Sinclair 2, Kempston, Cursor type
Keyboard play: good response, movement of cursor initially confusing
Use of colour: sensible rather than exciting
Graphics: excellent action, very smooth indeed
Sound: very little sound
Skill levels: 3
Lives: 5 per frame
Screens: single screen action

Video Pool gets off to an excellent start with an extremely classy title sequence - we are talking smooth with a capital S. The game itself is a typical enough pool game. It has several variations and an editor for setting up trick shots. Hands up all of you who can pot the lot in one shot! The graphics are smooth but not very colourful - attribute problems would have occurred if they were, so perhaps they're best left. Video Pool is as good as most other pool programs on the market.

The graphics are certainly very impressive, although pool should look a bit brighter, but the balls are large and move very smoothly indeed. I liked the difficulty level selections like choosing between the size of pockets on the table. Shot selection and taking is simply done and reasonably fast to accomplish. There are quite a few billiard snooker pool programs available now, and this is certainly among the best.

Use of Computer: 77%
Graphics: 69%
Playability: 68%
Getting Started: 72%
Addictive Qualities: 69%
Value for Money: 63%
Overall: 69%

Summary: General Rating: An enjoyable game but apart from the smooth graphics this is a fairly standard version.

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Your Spectrum Issue 17, Aug 1985   page(s) 42

Roger: As much as I deeply hate the infestation of most of my favourite liquid recreation facilities with 8-ball pool tables, used by cretins who waste good drinking time, I found myself appalled by a distinct liking for this game - evidenced by the fact that I sat playing it for hours. Apart from a slight aberration in that the Speccy version only appears to have six balls, content is generally faithful to the real thing.

The computer gives you a choice of large or small pockets before starting and then frame up the balls, which are marked with values that multiply with the marked values on the pockets. Sighting is done by moving a target crosshair around the border of the table and the force beyond your stroke is self-governed by a simple system of letting an on-screen scale rise whilst holding the 'fire' key down. Releasing it wallops the ball with the appropriate amount of oof.

Beyond this basic game, which can be played by two people and continue for frame after frame as long as the three 'lives' aren't lost through foul shots or stuffing the black down an orifice, variations are available to experts, like potting balls in a set order. There is also an 'edit' facility, allowing superstars to 'set up' interesting problems on the table.

It could put the breweries out of business... 4/5 HIT

Ross: "Oh no, not another pool game", I hear you say. Well, you're in for a surprise - there are lots of nice graphics and a darn good game of pool, with all the usual options plus a great 'Edit the Table' feature. MISS

Dave: If you're on the market for a pool game, then this is the one for you. 3/5 MISS

Dave: 3/5
Roger: 4/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

Sinclair User Issue 39, Jun 1985   page(s) 30

Publisher: OCP
Price: £5.95
Memory: 48K
Joystick: Sinclair, Kempston. Cursor

A game of pool usually entails consuming large quantities of beer whilst playing in some smoky pub.

OCP has come to the rescue of both lungs and liver and has produced Video Pool..

The screen gives an aerial view of the pool table with six pockets which you can change from small to large size. The game offers three variations of pool - none of which are played according to the rules. For starters, there are only six numbered balls with the corresponding numbers on each of the pockets.

The three variations range from easy - where you have to pot the balls in any order into any of the pockets; a slightly harder version where the balls have to be potted numerically; and lastly a game where you have to pot the balls numerically into the correspondingly numbered pockets.

You gain an extra shot for each correctly potted ball and lose a life for a foul shot or wrong pot.

Video Pool is certainly worth playing despite the obvious dissimilarities with the real game. The movement of the balls is fast, smooth and flicker-free and the direction of the cue ball towards the cursor, positioned on the cushion, is accurate.

Overall: 3/5

Transcript by Chris Bourne

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