Jimmy White's Cueball World
There’s the strangest place you’ve ever played pool? Wales? France? Chances are you've never racked up on a desert island. How about a quick frame among the majestic ruins of Angkor Wat? Stonehenge at the dead of night? A gently listing boat in Hong Kong harbour? We're guessing not. Why? Well, for starters, there are no pool tables there.
Welcome to Jimmy White’s Cueball World, where the previous words are a lie. Not content with a traditional snooker room, this third incarnation of the series also places you in some of the most exotic locations on the planet, and enables you to play snooker, pool or billiards. And that’s it. No exploring, no mixing with the natives, nothing but knocking balls into holes with a stick. Fair enough. The argument is that if you’re going to play pool all day, you might as well do it somewhere scenic. Of course, there's an alternative argument that suggests having pretty much perfected the green baize antics in Jimmy White’s Cueball 2, there was nowhere else for the series to go (other than around the world).
Cynics could suggest that simply having tables in different locations is stretching things a bit, and those cynics would probably appreciate a website called Jump The Shark. Named after such an incident in an episode of Happy Days, it chronicles the moment when TV shows go downhill due to the introduction of an absurd gimmick. If there were an equivalent site for games, then Cueball World would have to be an early contender. Ironically, sharks do actually crop up in the game.
Under The Sea
Ultimately, you have to ask whether having a frame of pool in a super-villain’s underwater lair makes it a better frame of pool? We would suggest not, but by the same token it doesn’t make it any worse, and it does at least give you something to look at while your opponent is mulling over his next shot. And to be honest, you’re going to need it. The game may be endorsed by The Whirlwind, but some of the computer opponents are firmly in the doldrums, exhibiting pace more readily associated with vintage Cliff Thorburn, a painfully slow player despite his well-publicised cocaine intake. It’s just about bearable over the course of a frame of pool, but if you’re thinking of tackling a game of snooker, then a good book is advisable.
As with the real thing, it’s all good fun when you’re at the table, and the control system is manageable enough, offering a variety of approaches. Numerous camera angles are on offer, and you can get up close and personal with the balls, or simply take an overhead view, thus negating the lush scenery. For those who prefer the tactile approach, the cue can be operated manually by sliding the mouse at required pace. It’s hit and miss, but undeniably satisfying when you get it right. Alternatively, a more scientific outlook is catered for, with a power bar allied to dotted lines enabling you to plan each shot meticulously. Spin is of course available, but it’s a tricky business and often more trouble than it’s worth. Also bear in mind that you have to chalk your cue between your shots, a rather incongruous intrusion of reality, particularly in light of the fact you are playing dismembered hands of varying weirdness.
What A Sport!
As well as the regular action, a host of sub-games are on offer, including maze puzzles, trick tables and even thumb wrestling. They provide a passable diversion for five minutes, but are all overshadowed by the majestic darts game, which is almost worth the admission fee alone. Select your flights, choose between 501,301 and Round the Clock, and you’re away. It’s all there, the scraping of chalk against board, the dull thud of an arrow embedding itself in felt, and even the occasional bounce-out. All that’s missing is a Sid Waddell commentary and a Lakeside full of pissed-up, chain-smoking white trash. We demand an Embassy World Championship edition immediately.
But we digress. You probably want to know whether you should consider buying Jimmy White's Cueball World. This depends on a number of factors. Do you have 30 quid to spare? Can you overcome the stigma of playing pool on a computer? And crucially, do you own the previous version? While it’s undeniably an impressive package, it’s a keen fan that will have this sat next to Jimmy White’s Cueball2on the shelf, particularly as that game is now available on budget. You pays your money, you takes your choice.
Download Jimmy White's Cueball World
- PC compatible
- Operating systems: Windows 10/Windows 8/Windows 7/2000/Vista/WinXP