Chalk up -- it's your turn to shoot stick with the legendary bad boy of billiards, Minnesota Fats. Unfortunately, the variety of pool games included on this game doesn't make up for the same old overhead gameplay.
Offering Story, Tournament, and Versus modes, Minnesota Fats tests pool sharks in eight table games, including standards like eight ball, nine ball, and cutthroat. For fancy shooters, there's a Trick mode with 16 increasingly difficult trick shots.
The graphics don't help pump up the action on the tables. Viewed from above, the balls look small and flat. The character animations and Fats' appearance in the Story mode add visual flair, but more should have been done to enhance the graphics for the gameplay.
As mediocre as the graphics are, the music is even worse. While the game offers you a jukebox, the selection of tunes comes straight out of an elevator. Fortunately, the sound effects give you the authentic crack of colliding balls and the muted thud of the felt rail.
Now Leaving Minnesota
Controlwise, the game doesn't offer the precision a pool player wants. The ball guide, cue-ball window, and power meter add to the realism of the control -- but you're never confident of your shot accuracy.
While the trick shots, tournaments, and Story mode breathe life into the game, waiting for the computer player to think of his next shot is a snooze. Unless you're a pool fanatic, this joystick is no substitute for a real stick.
- Practice your English; you'll need to put subtle spin on the cue ball to make difficult cut shots like this one.
- To shoot well on the lag, hit the ball when the power meter crosses back over the third of the four lines.