Virtual Pool 2 takes all the breaks…

Virtual Pool 2
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Available For

Virtual Pool 2, an "enhanced" DVD-ROM game from VR Sports, tries to take the billiard amusements to higher levels with this 3D simulator. But the only existence of the DVD is for tips and tricks from some of today’s professional pool sharks.

Quite honestly, I tried to watch the movie training sessions. But if I’d watch one, the movie would end and the viewer and game would simply lock up.

Installation of the game was disappointing. Although it could detect my 4M AGP X2 graphics accelerator with 3D support, Virtual Pool 2 reverted to the least common denominator–low resolution without 3D support. Controls in the game went so far as to tell me I could turn on 3D support and use higher resolutions.

Then there was the endless nagging when I was told to register the darn game. Let me play it a time or two before I decide to do that people, please.

Once past all those frustrations, the pool game proved entertaining. Generally its controls are a little awkward, but are learned easily enough. Some more difficult shots are even more so since English on the cue ball really remains hard to predict. Pool is a game of finesse. Virtual Pool 2 attempts to give the players such control, but it fails to give the player enough feedback.

For example, you can shoot using your mouse in a stick motion. Holding down the S key, pull your mouse back and then push it forward. But how much force are you actually giving the stick? A fever bar showing your force would be nice.

Even with Virtual Pool 2’s automatic shots where you select the force by pressing the F key then pushing the mouse forward for more or pulling it back for less, no feedback tells the player how much strength is behind the shot when the space bar is finally pressed. The 3D environment graphically is fine, although 800-by-600 doesn’t do the entire table justice. If the cue ball is at one end and you’re shooting for the other, seeing the other end sometimes proves a challenge.

And while the table and all its components are nice enough, the exterior areas are low-resolution and without much enhancements. When playing against one of the 128 computer opponents, other than watching the shots, you only get a name of your opponent. Even just a cartoon of your opponent might be nice.

With a virtually useless DVD component, Virtual Pool 2 should have been relegated to a CD-ROM. And even there, the game needs work. Out of five possible GiN Gems, Virtual Pool 2 earns only one.

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