Saturday, June 24, 2017

Archer Maclean Pool

Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker is terrific and technically superb but it wasn't long before I was falling asleep at my keyboard. Sorry, but that's snooker... and then I realised I had never played Archer Maclean's Pool.

Pool is an exciting, fast-paced pub game and nothing like the dullness of snoozeville snooker. American and English variations of this game are playable with the added option to play through tournaments or to set up trick shots. If you've played Whirlwind then you'll instantly take to this but I doubt any newcomers will struggle with the interface, which is instinctive and easy to grasp. In fact, some might say this is the same snooker game and a rip-off?

Well, ignore them and play this using the mouse to alter your viewing angle but don't forget to chalk the cue before setting up the shot with the right amount of power, spin and direction. There is a wide range of computer opponents from the amateur to the godlike, so it's best to practice before taking on the pros. They. Are. Tough!

You know from the very start this is gonna be good. Then the balls get very rude... Ahem!!

Graphics are... well... it's a table with balls on it, so there isn't much to drool over, but the framerates are very smooth and shows just what 8MHz can deliver. The 3D engine works well with fantastic first-person like views when lining up a shot. Let's not forget the game's comical side with taunting balls, evil-eyed fans or the flies on the table!! Sound effects are nice and rather varied with clinks, plops and the oddly humorous cue-chalking moments.

What I love about this game is the superb design which feels natural and realistic. After your first shot, you realise how incredibly superior the hidden mathematical calculations are that make the physics appear so believable. There are near-limitless possibilities for each shot you make, which is quite incredible.

Sure, this game is best experienced with friends, heavy double-vision in a pub with a couple of cold beers! But let's be honest, this virtual take on that is a definite close second and I cannot imagine anyone having a complaint about this superb release. One of the best Atari ST games and certainly a brilliant and faultless game by Virgin!!


 - 8BitChip have the hard drive installable game (works on the faster Mega STe, TT, Falcon).
 - Stonish has the floppy disk on Gravatics #93 which also includes the incredible Kid GP!!
 - AtariMania has Pool listed in their library with scans of the manual.

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