Of all the sports which have been turned into
computer simulations, snooker has to be the most unrealistic
conversion of the lot. I've seen several versions on different
micros and, to be honest, they're as true to life as an episode of
the 'A-Team'. However, if you're a snooker fanatic and in the market
for a computer version of your favourite sport then this first-time
Atari release from CDS is the one to buy. It's even endorsed by
Steve Davis (not exactly the best of recommendations when you
consider the way he played against Joe Johnson recently!), which
probably means that he pockets his fair share of the royalties!!
A good way to assess the game is by comparing it
with the old Thorn-Emi version which was re-released a couple of
months ago as part of their 'Spot the Ball' package. Both are
reasonably similar but the CDS game has a number of additional
features which gives it the edge over it's only other Atari rival.
Firstly, the table is black. Yes, I know what
you're thinking - someone please tell this idiot that snooker tables
are green. Whilst this is unquestionably true, it doesn't alter the
fact that, where computer snooker is concerned, a black table makes
for greater clarity, improved colours and enhanced definition.
Simply compare the two versions - green of Thorn-Emi against black
of CDS - and you'll see what I mean. Anyway, what's wrong with being
King of the black baize for a change?
The CDS game also offers a greater variety of
changeable parameters such as table speed and cue-ball spin. All
moves are via the joystick. You line up a small target cursor on the
object ball, set the desired spin and power of shot before letting
fly with the fire button. After that you hope for the best. If a
ball drops in the pocket, nine times out of ten it's more by luck
than by design. Of course, that magical 147 maximum break is at
least possible in theory, but in practice it's about as likely as
Alex Higgins refusing a free gin & tonic (I've already upset the
Steve 'Interesting' Davis fans, so I may as well even things up by
upsetting the Hurricane Higgins fans as well!). In more realistic
terms you can consider yourself World Champion if you manage to pot
three balls in a row!
Normal snooker rules apply and you can even force
your opponent to play again if a 'foul shot' is committed. Due to
obvious limitations the 'Free Ball' rule is not implemented though.
Incidentally, just in case you were wondering, the
black ball has a white circle around it to help distinguish it
from the table, but this is also true of the green ball in the Thorn
STEVE DAVIS SNOOKER can be played against a
computer or human opponent, with selectable skill levels for the
computer. If you so desire, you can choose a double computer option
and sit back and watch Steve Davis play himself. At the highest
skill level the breaks are likely to approach treble figures with
some totally unbelievable shots taking place - impossible doubles,
playing off the cush first to pot the object ball which the likes of
Jimmy White wouldn't attempt, let alone Steve Davis! Yes, the
computer does cheat!!
In the words of a certain popular lager ad - STEVE
DAVIS SNOOKER .... probably the best snooker game in the world (or
Great Britain at least). Me? I still think it looks and plays more
like a game of marbles.