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Archer Maclean's Pool logo

Gute Neuigkeiten für Filzläuse, die von Whirlwind Snooker begeistert waren, aber eigentlich Pool gespielt hätten: Archer MacLean und Virgin ließen sich nicht lumpen, ab sofort darf auch gepoolt werden!

Archer Maclean's Pool Na prima, wie steht es da mit Neuerungen? Oder setzte Programmier-Veteran MacLean etwa auf alt und bewährt? Nun, "alt" ist zwar gewiß das falsche Wort, aber die bewährten 3D-Grafikroutinen sind beispielsweise schon dieselben wie beim Snooker. Aber was hätte da auch groß verbessert werden können? Schließlich machten die bunten Kugeln schon vor einem Jahr dem Titel alle Ehre und sausten wie ein leibhaftiger Wirbelwind über den Digi-Filz, von den rasenden Kamerafahrten ganz zu schweigen. Auch die handliche Steuerung (direkt per Maus bzw. indirekt über Icons) blieb bei kleineren Kosmetik-Eingriffen weitgehend erhalten; die FX stammen ebenfalls vom Vorgänger, während der barmäßige Titeltrack zumindest sehr ähnlich klingt. Kurz und gut, die Veränderungen beschränken sich auf den spielerischen Part des Games.

Hier allerdings hat der gute Archer ein paar ordentliche Schaufeln zugelegt, was sich alleine schon an den verschiedenen Regelvarianten zeigt. So darf man etwa ganz nach Wunsch unter zwei Versionen mit acht Bällen und dem auch hierzulande beheimateten "Neuner" wählen. Schade nur, daß die in Deutschland verbreiteste Version mit 15 Kugeln fehlt, aber man kann halt nicht alles haben. Was man indes haben kann, das sind diverse Spielmodi: Die einzelpartie wird nun durch eine neue Match-Option ergänzt, bei der drei bis neun Durchläufe zu absolvieren sind. Keine Frage, daß der feine Trickstoß-Editor wieder mit dabei ist, und schließlich findet sich gar ein regelrechter Turniermodus mit KO-System für bis zu acht Spieler!

Archer Maclean's Pool Wo wir gerade von den Queue-Schwingern reden, sei hinzugefügt, daß man natürlich wie vor seinen menschlichen Kumpel bekämpfen kann; darüberhinaus stehen aber 20 verschiedene Computergegner zur Verfügung (gegenüber dreien beim Snooker), deren grundlegende Eigenschaften sich oft schon aus dem Namen erkennen lassen. So ist etwa Boring Bob ein ziemlich langweiliger Geselle, der ewig um den Tisch herumschleicht und meist auf Sicherheit spielt. Aber keine Sorge, es gibt ja auch noch den brillanten Mr Brill...

Interessant ist noch die Bewertung der Erfolge: Da es beim Pool keinen direkt zählbaren Score gibt, hat Mr MacLean das sogenannten "Rankometer" erfunden, welches die gezeigten Leistungen mit einem prozentualen Wert benotet – und der kann, zusätzlich zur Save-Routine für laufende Spiele, auch gespeichert werden. Bei dieser ausgefuchsten Billardsimulation stimmt also so gut wie alles (es soll gar eine Version mit deutschen Screentexten folgen), man wundert sich, wie das Programm mit 512KB und einer Disk auskommen kann. Wenn Archy dennoch keinen Hit eingelocht hat, dann einerseits, weil die Ähnlichkeiten zum Vorgänger halt doch sehr groß sind, und andererseits wegen der fehlenden 15-Kugel-Variante. (jn)

Amiga Joker, November 1992, p.14

ARCHER MACLEAN'S POOL
(VIRGIN)
BILLARD - SIMULATION

83%

"RUNDUM RUND"
Amiga Joker
GRAFIK
ANIMATION
MUSIK
SOUND-FX
HANDHABUNG
DAUERSPASS
79%
87%
45%
47%
83%
85%
VARIABEL
PREIS DM 99,-
SPEICHERBEDARF
DISKS/ZWEITFLOPPY
HD-INSTALLATION
SPEICHERBAR
DEUTSCH
512 KB
1/NEIN
NEIN
SPIELST./HIGHSC.
ANLEITUNG


Archer Maclean's Pool logo  CU Amiga Screenstar

Can Virgin follow up the immense success of Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker? Will Tony Dillon ever write a decent review? Read on for these answers and more...

Archer Maclean's Pool THE WAY IT WAS
Back in 1988, Archer Maclean popped into EMAP Towers with an Archimedes disk. It was an early demo of a polygon snooker game which had everyone gasping in astonishment. Three years later it surfaced in the form of Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker. Both reviewers and punter loved it, and the game has been in the top thirty on and off ever since. And now Archer has turned his attentions to the other side of the Atlantic to produce Pool, a game which is more than just a cash-in on the previous license.

Pool is, in essence, a far simpler game than snooker. There are two main forms, although 8-Ball has both US and UK rules. 8-Ball basically consists of seven red and 7 yellow balls, and the black. The aim is to knock down all your colour before your opponent has a go at theirs, and then knock down the black to win. In 9-Ball, a US-tournament game, you are presented with nine numbered balls, and the winner is the person who knocks down the 9 ball. The only problem is, you have to hit the lowest ball on the table first. Any balls that go down after that are legal. For example, if on a break you hit the 1 ball, knocking it down, you are the winner. However, if you should hit the 2 ball when the 1 ball is on the table, a foul is called and control switches to the other player.

ANY DIFFERENCE?
Naturally, what everyone wants to know is the difference between this game and Whirlwind? To tell you the truth, not a hell of a lot. Instead of reworking the game, Archer has merely added a handful of improvements to the framework, and kept the graphic engine and user interface the same. Now, on top of being able to play one or two player games, you can play 'best of' matches against the computer or a friend, playing 3, 5, 7 or 9 games, with the aim of winning more than your opposing cuester.

Archer Maclean's Pool The computer intelligence has undergone a major overhaul. There are now twenty computer opponents to play against, each with their own playing styles, from Cross-Eyed Colin and one end (not particularly good at aiming) to Jimmy Brill, the finest potter in the pool world. There are no specific difficulty levels, unlike the original, but it isn't too hard to figure out how good a player is from their name. Actual skills have been improved and increased, however, with computer opponents being able to pull off cannon shots and pot two balls at once. There is a whole range of trick shots at their disposal which will leave you standing at the foot of the table watching enviously.

The other main improvement is the new scoring system. Obviously in pool you don't rack up numerical scores like you do in snooker, so Archer has come up with a novel system of recording how well you're playing. The Rankometer gives you the order of potted balls, your overall skill rating as a percentage and various other statistics. This is what gets saved out at the end of each go.

NUMBER CRUNCHER
The most striking thing about Whirlwind Snooker was the graphics. Convincing, smooth and very fast, it isn't hard to understand why it sold so well. Can Archer do the same with Pool, though, as pool balls are numbered, and the 9 ball has a stripe down the middle? Calculating the position of the numbers as they rotate around the ball would call for some serious number crunching, and so Archer has decided not to have rolling numbers. Sadly, this detracts from the game, making the balls looks as though they are gliding around like table hockey pucks. Even so, they still zip around smoothly enough and the 88 different sizes of ball graphics means that the balls all glide across the table realistically.
The game itself plays exactly the same as the previous one. A row of icons gives you all the options necessary, while holding down the left mouse button allows you to rotate the table and holding down the left lets you zoom in and out.

To all intents and purposes, Pool is almost identical to Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker, which is why I can only recommend this to you if you (a) don't have the previous title or (b) loved the first one so much you want more of the same.

CU Amiga, October 1992, p.p.70-71

BEADLE'S ABOUT
Here's an interesting titbit of information for you. Did you know that the brainbox who connected Archer Maclean's snooker project with Jimmy White was in fact... Jeremy Beadle? Apparently Archer was demonstrating his game at the Spring 1991 ECTS show when everyone's favorite entertainer walked in on the scene, spotted the program and said 'Why don't you call Barry Hears and license Jimmy White for that?'. Archer liked the idea, got on the blower and the deal was done. And you thought Beadle was just a... (the rest of this sentence has been censored following legal advice from our solicitors).

EXTRA BITS
One thing everyone remembers from the original game were the little extra bits – those Archer Maclean trademarks designed to give you a giggle while you played. Cat Fleas crawled up the screen and balls pulled funny faces – where would the sequel be without a little of that thrown in. Not only are the fleas still included, but new ideas include eyes that blink in the backdrop and a saw that comes up from under the table and makes a little hole!

buyers guide
release date:
genre:
team:
controls:
number of disks:
number of players:
hard disk:
memory:
 
October '92
Sim
Archer Maclean
Mouse
1
1
No
1Mb

 

VIRGIN £25.99
Will keep you coming back time after time...
GRAPHICS
SOUND
LASTABILITY
PLAYABILITY
88%
83%
90%
90%
OVERALL 88%