Your Sinclair


American 3D Pool

Author: Jon Pillar
Publisher: Zeppelin Games
Machine: Spectrum 48K

 
Published in Your Sinclair #77

American 3D Pool

Fish out your chalk and dim the lights - it's time for another rousing session of cueing, racking and caroming.

Affectionately known as US3D, this is a pool game that also includes options to play billiards and to set up trick shots. It's for one or two players and it jumps out of the screen at you in glorious three dimensions. Sounds familiar? That's right. But let's skip diplomatically over the similarities with Kixx's 3D Pool. (Cough.)

Just for a change, we'll start with the bad news. The graphics are awful. The shaded monochrome of Kixx's game left everything (fairly) clear. In US3D, the attempt at full colour has just resulted in a frightful mess. Admittedly the display is extremely fast, but if there are more than three balls on the table then it collapses into a mass of clashes. Fortunately, this doesn't affect the gameplay; you plan your shots using a simple overhead view of the table.

American 3D Pool

So why, you may ask, is the 3D option included at all? Who knows what lurks in the minds of programmers? It looks like a 20 program that had a 3D option clipped on at the last minute. Tsk.

And On The Plus Side...

Right, that's the grumpy bit over with. As a game, US3D is incredibly good. You can play against the Speccy or a pal, or up to eight of either with the tournament option. Control is by the wibble-a-cursor-around-the-screen-then-add-a-bit-of-spin method, and it works very well. As a bonus, the Speccy plays differently for each of its eight personae - so you don't have to worry about finding yourself being constantly beaten by an electronic pool shark. The game is tremendous fun - I found myself playing continuously for a whole afternoon, just trying to beat all the Speccy players. Did I win? Need you ask?

If you cast your eyes back to the top of the page, you'll notice that I mentioned the options for playing billiards and trick shots. The latter has nine set-ups in memory, and you'll have your work cut out to solve the third. As for billiards... well, I didn't really play billiards at all. A quick conscience-calming bash showed it was as decent as the pool game, but I'm afraid billiards isn't my glass of bubbly water. On the strength of the pool part alone, I'd urge you to wander out and buy US3D. It is just so playable. And then some.

Fast, fun and funky. Ignore the presentation - it's considerable!

Jon Pillar

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