Firebird's 3D Pool simulation effectively ties up this section of the market forever - there can never be a program to rival this masterpiece from the pen of Orlando.
A 3D effect is a marketing ploy often used to try and sell a substandard game. But the 3D views created by this Pool simulation are no gimmick. For the first time ever, you can walk around the table, take a look from above, or even squat down and sight through the cueball.
Aiming is achieved by rotating the table until you have obtained the correct impact angle with the object ball - the cue ball always moves in a vertical line up the screen. By altering the height at which you are currently viewing the table you can apply top or back spin to the cue ball.
Collision calculations are worked out to perfection. If, like me, you take great joy in potting balls from impossible angles by cheekily bouncing your own ball off one or more of your opponent's you'll be pleased to know that these shots can beexecuted with pinpoint accuracy.
We have now established that 3D Pool is a stunning simulation, but does Firebird put it to good use? The answer once again is a resounding yes - all possible game variations have been explored and implemented. The main game is a tournament involving you and seven other players. If you are an exceptionally good player you may just stand a chance of winning this tournament and earn the right to meet "Maltese" Joe Barbara in a special challenge match.
A poor performance in the tournament could be a result of insufficient practice - or skill - so why not select the practice option and tackle one of the seven micro-controlled players?
Alternatively, a few minutes watching the machine challenge itself in a demo match can often provide tips on how certain shots should be played.
If you want to amaze your friends you can show off by performing one of the 10 pre-defined trick shots. Or better still take them on man-to-man using the two player option.
Pool players may be interested to know that the game plays the Free Table rule for the first shot following a foul and does not carry on the free shot if you pot a ball. 3D Pool is quite simply the most addictive game on the market today - you have been warned.