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

All information in this page is provided by ZXSR instead of ZXDB