Virtual Pool 2
|a game by||VR Sports|
|Editor Rating:||6/10, based on 2 reviews|
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The original Virtual Pool was, by far, the single most impressive billiards simulation ever created. So why bother with a sequel? VR Sports seems to have seen that question coming and, impossibly, it's made the best better.
The images in Virtual Pool 2 feature no fancy acceleration--that's the standard, jaw-dropping 16-bit mode. The tweaked physics engine, however, enables greater freedom while preventing unrealistic shots; if the ball's stuck to the rail, your cue stick can't go through it. You choose from 16 games and 120 opponents, adjust the felt speed, change the pool hall itself--there's almost nothing you can't do. With a great soundtrack, dazzling visuals, and intuitive control, no self-respecting shark should be without Virtual Pool 2.
- Hit the T key to see tracking lines on the table that will help you line up your shot.
- Before shooting, consider vyhere the cue ball wilk wind up after the shot is completed. It's important not to strand yourself without another clear shot at a target ball.
Download Virtual Pool 2
When the original Virtual Pool came out, I was confused. I couldn't understand the point of buying a game that you could easily play in any pub, arcade, etc. But curiosity got the best of me and I bought it anyway. I played it for three days and shelved it. It just wasn't the same without the beer stains on the felt and the thick cloud of smoke hovering above the Coors Light sign. Virtual Pool 2 is very different. It is not so much a game as it is a teaching tool. Sure, you can play pool -- in fact, there are more ways to play pool on this thing than I ever dreamed--but this game comes with a unique guarantee: it will improve your real-life pool game or you get your money back! That's a bold statement, but VR Sports back it up with a full-motion tutorial, lessons on specialty shots, and pool strategy with "pool hall of famer" Mike Sigel.
Gameplay, Controls, Interface
Got a keyboard and a mouse? Good, let's get to the fun stuff. As soon as you load up Virtual Pool 2, you are ready to enter your name and start playing nine-ball. I never really was into nine-ball, so I tried three-ball, six-ball, 10-ball, bank pool, and one pocket. I also tried the old familiar 8-ball, rotation, and straight pool. All these games are great, and let me tell you, the game is just as hard (or as easy if you're good) as the real thing. But I feel like I'm misleading you if I dwell on the game itself. What I should be doing is telling you about the tutorials. This is where the real fun is. Did I mention that "Machine Gun" Lou Butera makes an appearance on this CD? Well, he does—teaching you everything (trickwise) from one-, two-, three, four- and six-ball shots, stroke shots, position shots, masse shots, ball clearance, to shots using all 15 balls. (Lou Butera got the name "Machine Gun," by the way, for being able to clear a whole table of balls in under one minute and thirty seconds.)
As I mentioned, Mike Sigel is here as well, teaching you cue ball control, break shots, safety shots, trouble shots and game strategies. It is like having the best players in the pool world coach you through your shots. After most of the videos you can try the shots yourself over and over again, which is where the true value of this CD lies.
Another nice feature to this CD is the tournament mode. You start at the bottom rung in 129th place (or higher if you feel ready for a challenge) and work your way up the points ladder. I would recommend that you start near the bottom, as the players get tougher and tougher as you go. Or if you like, challenge a friend to play on your PC or play on two computers via network or modem.
You can start out as an amateur and work your way up to a pro or even championship player. What is nice is that for each of these levels there are settings for pocket size, cut, rail cushioning and table speed.
Graphically, Virtual Pool 2 scores very nicely. The only two complaints I had were the lack of different rooms to play in and the magnet-like pool cue that seemed overly attracted to the cue ball. Otherwise, the ball physics and the actual look of the game are superb. The balls are the most impressive: "full simulation of all physical action including friction, speed, collision, roll, cue stick to ball interface..." blah, blah, blah; but it's all true. Those were VR Sports' words; these are mine: the balls move like real pool balls, the breaks thunder like real breaks, and the rolls are smoooooth. You can choose to use a 3D accelerator card if you like, but I didn't notice that much of a difference.
Not much audio here, but there is a jukebox feature you should know about. You can use the game's soundtrack, which all revolves around pool (duh), or you can throw in a CD of your choice (B.B. King seemed more appropriate to me).
IBM PC or compatible 486/100 (with reduced gameplay speed), Pentium 90 mhz or higher recommended, Windows 95, 16MB RAM, 4X CD ROM, DirectX sound card, video card, keyboard, mouse, DirectX 5. Note: the game does not work in DOS.
I am a big fan of the movie The Color of Money starring Paul Newman and Tom Cruise, but I am even a bigger fan of the CD Virtual Pool 2. Notice that I didn't say "game?" The bottom line is that this is more of a tool to learn the game of pool than anything else. Besides, you can't substitute something on the screen for the real heft of a pool cue in your hand. VR Pool 2 is fun while you're learning, and getting together with a friend from miles away to play over the modem is great. I myself will use the stuff I have learned on the family table back home, where I plan on showing off. Notwithstanding, Virtual Pool 2 gives you every opportunity to improve your pool skills -- and if you're not satisfied, send it back for a refund. I just wish more games came with a similar guarantee.