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Arcade Pool logo

Quickshot Steve Keen snatches up his Balabushca and rests his sweaty palms on the green baize table once more, as he tests out the latest pool game.

Arcade Pool I'm a bit of a pool demon and as such, I was really looking forward to playing this latest super-value release from the Team 17 stable. Call me Mr. Opportunist, but when this month's software was up for grabs I grasped it with both hands and made a speedy retreat to my bedroom with a four pack of Tizer and family-sized packet of smokey bacon crisps. I just couldn't wait to rip the vacuum-packed cling film off it!

A lot of people can't understand the fascination pool gurus have with thumping a pack of different colored balls around a cushioned table, but to most it's as addictive as a caffeine-filled Quarter Pounder with extra cheese. This version is specially tailored for enhanced Amigas, but will run adequately on most (1Mb and upwards). The inclusion of the British red and yellow ball game, with English rules, is long overdue and, particularly in this mode, the game has a distinct pub feel. The use of a cue that pops up every time you take a shot and actually draws back to the edge of the table is a lot better than other systems, where you just click a mouse button and stand back as the balls start to shoot off all around the table.

Now, you might think that playing Arcade Pool will be a doddle after hanging out with the big boys down at your local pool hall, but you couldn't be more wrong. The control system is simple enough, just drag the cursor over towards the ball you want to hit and place it down. In certain conditions and on certain levels a staggered white line will appear showing you exactly where the cue ball will go after it has made contact with the pack. This is very useful for positioning shots as you can quite accurately judge where the white is going to stop by watching the animated shadow that follows the path of the white before you take the stroke. Down on the bottom right of the screen are the power bars and a white ball with a tiny cursor in the middle of it. You can click on this and drag it around inside the white to add side and screw-back, an acquired skill in bot real pool and the computer variant.

Simple to appreciate, yes but incredibly difficult to master with any degree with accuracy. For some reason I had more success with these 'professional' skills during the American games. I don't know if the pockets were slightly bigger on the Yank tables, as they are in real life, but a greater percentage of shots tat I took whilst on the blue baize table, were sank than on the green.

Arcade Pool IN THE BLACK
Loaded with options, the game has just about everything a would-be hustler could want. Different table frictions, skill levels, shot aiming aids and set ups are just a few. Most notable are the eight different versions of the game you can play, such as 8-Ball UK, 9-Ball US, Straight Pool and Survivor or Killer, as it's more commonly known in pubs. This is where you get together with up to eight mates and take turns to pot any ball. Every time you miss a pot you kill off a life and the last player left in the game wins. There's even an option to try out those fancy trick shots and a custom pool game that allows you to practise plays.

Aside from the obvious versatility of the game, not everything in the garden is rosy. The control method, a cross-haired cursor affair, requires absolute pin point accuracy, if you want to avoid ricocheting the balls off the cushions in unexpected pinball fashion, and it takes a frustratingly long time to master. I play pool with a great deal of instinctive intuition as to what angles to use and had to totally readjust my aim on every shot.

Also, the computer is a hustler in disguise it hardly ever misses a shot. However, if you can keep up with all the different rules used in the different pool variations and have the patience to learn the game again from scratch, it's quite a laugh. After watching the computer pot its fifth ball in a row off four cushions was left feeling well cheated! Therefore, to get the best out of the game play against a friend.

CU Amiga, June 1994, p.78

TEAM 17 9.99


Humungous value for money for pool fans.

Arcade Pool logo  CD32

Chalk your tip and prepare to break off into pool heaven. Jonathan Maddock has a look at Team 17's excellent Arcade Pool, this time making an appearance on the CD32.

Archer Maclean's Pool was, for a long time, the only decent Amiga pool game. Although excellent in almost every way, it tended to lean towards the simulation side of things. This factor, unfortunately, made it quite slow to play a whole game, unless you were some kind of an ambidextrous mouse-controlling hero.
Two months ago, Team 17 took another game genre under their wing and once again created a
classic piece of Amiga software. Its name was Arcade pool and it was and still is a fully fledged, fast and frenetic pool game of epic proportions.
With the advent of CD technology, the "budget" game that took over two years to develop is making a star appearance on the CD32, complete with sonic and graphical enhancements.

When developing the original, Team 17 thought about sampling a pub atmosphere which would play while you were clacking your balls around the table (although this was probably just a very good excuse to drink copious amounts of alcohol in work time). The idea couldn't be implemented into the floppy disk version, but it wasn't forgotten about and has been included in this CD32 version.
There are six different atmospheres/tunes to choose from. The first two sound like pubs with people talking and, supposedly, drinking. They don't sound like the pubs I go in, but they do the job adequately enough. The next is a pool hall atmosphere which, when turned on, instantly transforms you into Paul Newman from the Hustler.
There are a couple of Blues tunes which are more or less bog-standard computer game music. The best tune to play to though is entitled Thang and simply consists of some quality drumming and some minimal piano playing.
If none of these tunes or atmospherics appeal to you, there is always the silence option, so you can enjoy the superb soundeffects all on their own.

Publisher: Team 17
Developer: Team 17
Disks: 1
Price: 14.99
Genre: Sports
Hard disk install: N/A
Control: Joypad/Mouse
Supports: CD32
Recommended: N/A

Arcade Pool

Arcade Pool is viewed from an overhead perspective rather than a number of angles. The balls (UK or a USA set) on the table are brilliant and move about and clack into each other just like the real thing. The screen display is minimal but this isn't such a bad thing as you tend to concentrate on the action rather than some superfluous and flash graphics.
A superb ray-traced introduction was talked about, but it seems like that particular idea was shelved. Graphically, there is virtually no difference between the floppy and CD version of Arcade Pool, but this isn't too much of a worry as the graphics were so good in the original version anyway.

Arcade Pool shines in almost every department and although it looks and sounds nice, the most important thing is that it plays like a complete dream.
The control method, whether you're using a joypad or a mouse, is spot-on and very easy to use and this means anyone of any age can play and enjoy the game.
Thanks to the many different pool styles, you'll find it almost impossible to get bored with the game. The computer opponents are tough, so this means you're in for a long-term challenge.
Arcade Pool is also incredibly addictive,
almost as addictive as the real thing, but considerably cheaper. You always feel inclined to have "just one more go" whatever the result of the last game you played.
I highly recommend Team 17's brilliant Arcade Pool to every CD32 owner on the planet, and if that doesn't convince you then maybe the incredibly low price of 14.99 might.
Amiga Computing Gold Award

Amiga Computing, Issue 81, Christmas 1994, p.113 (System)