March 10, 2000
|VMU Game||Difficulty||Save Size||Vibration||60Hz||50Hz Border|
When someone mentions pool one of two thoughts usually pops into most peoples minds. Either a place where people go swimming in summer, or a table with cues and balls in the local pub. Fortunately, this game is based on the latter which means you don't need to spend thousands of dollars on an extension for your house to play pool/snooker at home. These games are very big in England which is where Archer Maclean's company, Awesome Developments, has been working on a Dreamcast port of their hit PC game, Jimmy Whites 2: Cueball.
Gameplay in Jimmy White's 2 is exactly what you would expect from a game based on this table sport. After selecting what type of game you would like to play (snooker or pool) it is pretty much straight onto the game. Aiming the cue is done via the analogue control which unfortunately can become jerky at times making it hard to aim the cueball precisely. It is possible to place spin on the ball as well as selecting the amount of power to use. Jimmy White's 2 allows you to bring up a target line to show you where the ball will travel from the cue. Technically this could be classed as cheating, but it helps when aiming the ball, especially for the long distance shots.
The computer controlled players are equally impressive. Awesome Developments have created a very strong AI routine within the game which sees each player in the rankings become more and more difficult without ever making you feel that you are being beaten by a computer opponent. Obviously, a 2 player human game is the most fun, especially when both of you have roughly the same skills in Jimmy White's 2.
Archer Maclean has also seen fit to add a few extras into the game. Not only can out play pool or snooker but you can also play other games which are found around the rooms. These include the highly addictive darts as well as draughts which, unfortunately, has a terribly awkward controls for such a simple game. Also included is the rather out of place One Arm Bandit (or a pokie as we like to call them here in Australia) and finally, and a gem for retro gamers is the inclusion of Dropzone. This little game is one of the all time classics in the arcades and is a great little bonus on this GD-ROM.
Unfortunately it looks as if WinCE has caused problems for yet another developer. Jimmy White's 2 suffers some jerky ball movement in parts and while it doesn't distract from the gameplay or cause any harm to the overall result of your shot, it is sad to see Sega's powerhorse struggle with a few balls rolling around a table. The rooms on the other hand are elegantly detailed and look just like the real thing. Another surprise, especially because this game was developed in Europe for PAL systems, are the rather large borders at the top and bottom of the screen, and no option for a 60Hz mode.
It's pretty hard to imagine what type of sounds could go into a snooker/pool game like this. When you play the game in real life people usually reamain silent and all you hear is the clunk of the balls. Fortunately, Awesome Development have included a few other sound effects. Occasionally, someone will cough in the background as you are lining up for your shot, or you can turn on a jukebox. Unfortunately the jukebox only has a couple of (pretty good) songs in each room. If Awesome Developments had of included more tunes the sound in this game would have had a more complete feel to it.
Perhaps this game won't be at the top of everyone's shopping list, but it's definately worthy of consideration if you are a pool or snooker fan and can't get to a real table. The addition of several mini-games adds to the overall experience and the rooms are well designed. Jimmy White's 2 is slightly let down by some graphical deficiencies and average sound.
Note: These screens are from the PC version. The DC version is almost identical.