After the Frenchmen hid the pockets of Colonel Pemberton's billiards table, Smyth spared no expense in getting them back. Sherlock Holmes was called in and after many adventures in far flung lands the pockets were found on Professor Moriarty's mantelpiece.
The good colonel was delighted. "Let's rout these damned foreigners with an English game. Rule Britannia!" he cried.
So it came to pass that Steve Davis World Snooker was written. Although Colonel Pemberton thought that snooker and pool were base games played only by drunkards and dissolutes, the programmers thoughtfully included English billiards for him, as well as French billiards, also known as Billiards Carom, which has three balls and a pocketless table.
"Egad! I squandered all my inheritance on Holmes when I could have read the instruction book!", the once-
Snooker is divided into 10 ball and 15 ball versions. Pool is either American - 15 numbered balls of different colours, points scored by potting a nominated ball into a nominated pocket - or English - pot eight reds or eight yellows, then the black to win. English billiards is a wonderfully silly game which gives you big scores for such indiscretions as potting your opponent's cue ball and going in-off, whereas Billiards Carom is "hit the balls as hard as possible and croissant your fingers".
Gameplay is very similar to the 8 bit versions, except that a cue rather than a cross-hair cursor is used to line up your shot. Unfortunately, the pockets are no longer like buckets, so nonchalantly notching up gigantic breaks with your eyes closed is not on.
After several hours of trying, my record is nine. The high score table recognises this - anything above six and your name is displayed in lights.
If you want to be trashed, play the computer, on the highest of its six skill levels. It plays cannons, plants, doubles and other impossible shots as a matter of routine. The lowest skill level is ideal for duffers like myself, combining dazzling pots with ridiculous misses.
If you are an exhibitionist, trick shots can be set up using a very good table editor, although it doesn't cater for bottles, jump shots and other baize rippers.
The graphics are reasonable. The balls are a little small, but there is a magnify option which lets you have a closer look at the area round the pockets. No, you can't play a shot wile it's on.
Movement is smooth and fast, particularly wit only a few balls on the table. It's a pity the programmers didn't play to the gallery with smoothly animated striped and spotted pools balls. There's no 3D option.
For Steve Davis groupies there is ample opportunity for hero worship: Three mono digitised pictures called up by pressing the right mouse button and a superb HAM loading picture accompanied by a perfect rendition of that annoying tune which comes up on BBC at all hours of the day during snooker championships.
Sound during the game is limited to the click of ball on ball and the clunk of ball into pocket, plus SD's annoying digitised witticisms.
A classic game which still looks good after five years at the top. No frills, just an accurate simulation.