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September 27, 2005
World Snooker Challenge 2005 - Review
Release Date Distributor Publisher Developer
1/9/2005THQSegaBlade Interacctive
Save Size Difficulty Players Rating

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Snooker - a game with balls!
Over the years I've played my fair share of snooker and have always been keen on playing electronic forms of the game. Sure, video game versions don't require anywhere near the same amount of skill, but can still be tremendous fun. World Snooker Challenge 2005 is the first snooker title on PSP and has been developed by Blade Interactive who have been making snooker titles way back since the PSOne days. This PSP game is actually a port of their snooker game (called World Snooker Championship 2005) released on PS2, PC and XBox a couple of months ago. Has it translated well? Read on...

So this is snooker. The idea is pretty simple. You have to score a higher number of points then your opponent by potting, or sinking, the coloured balls on the table. I won't go into all the rules here, needless to say they're pretty easy to get to grips with if you've never played the sport. Aiming the cue is simply done with the analogue stick and if the L1 button is pressed you can make fine adjustments to the aiming. Selecting how much power to put on your shot is done simply by pushing down on the analogue stick until the aiming arrow is filled up with as much power as you need. Then it's simply a case of pressing the analogue stick up to take your shot, or pressing the X button. Miss a shot and it's your opponents turn.

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Now that's a nice table!
World Snooker Challenge 2005 includes dozens of stars of the modern game including Ronnie O'Sullivan, Stephen Hendry, Matthew Stevens and Paul Hunter. Locations from the 2004/5 tour have also made the transition to the game with some wonderful modelling of the venues including the Crucible Theatre, home of the World Snooker Championship.

In terms of game modes Blade Interactive, for some unknown reason have dropped the Tour Mode that appeared in the fully fledged console versions but in its place are a series of smaller championships - possibly more suited to the shorter gameplay time expected from gamers on the PSP. Not content with only allowing you to play snooker the developers have included 8-ball and US 9-ball Pool, Billiards, Snooker Plus (which includes additional orange and purple balls) and Bar Billiards for you to play when you get tired of snooker. Finally a Ad Hoc Wi-Fi mode is also available for some multi-player fun and, as with most multi-player games, beating a mate is so much more satisfying then beating the AI opponent.

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Ready to break.
This isn't a perfect game. Occasionally, and for no apparent reason, the game fails to display the aiming arrows. While you can still take your shot without aim guides it makes it very hard to pot the ball. Gamers may also be frustrated by the fact that when the AI opponent is playing well he may score well over 100 in a frame thereby leaving you to sit an watch for a considerble amount of time, often around 10 minutes. Fortunately you can turn off the AI player animations which speeds it up considerbly however this isn't the action packed game that many may want to play - still it's perfect if you are watching TV and only want to take a couple of shots during ad breaks. Finally, the analogue stick can be a bit awkward to use. Pushing down on the stick selects the power while pushing up makes the shot. If this isn't to your liking then there are several other control options, such as using the X button to take your shot.

Graphically, World Snooker Challenge 2005 is exactly as you would expect it. Plenty of nice shiny coloured balls, felt on the table and some pretty nice player animations. It's all there and certainly servicable enough.

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Lining up for the shot.
In terms of commentary the developers have used Steve Davis, John Virgo and John Parrott. The majority of the time they are on the mark with the action (if you can call it that) in the game and sometimes make you realise there are better shots then that which you have decided upon. I really did enjoy the ambient effects. As with real matches the crowd is pretty silent, but when a good shot is performed they erupt in applause. Sometimes you'll even hear a quiet cough from the crowd during times of quiet.

As I said in my preview World Snooker Challenge 2005 is a title for a very targeted audience. If snooker's your thing though this game will keep you hooked to your PSP for hours on end. A worthy addition to your collection.

Review By: Dave Warner

Order your copy now from Gameswarehouse.
GRAPHICSPlenty of green felt, coloured balls and fairly well animated players.
SOUNDQuite good, commentary can be off a little, but good ambient sound.
GAMEPLAYEven with the aiming it's quite fun, plenty of challenges to complete.
VALUEPlenty of game modes to keep you occupied, and it can be tough.
OVERALLIf you like snooker, and in particular snooker games, then this is a PSP title you should add to your collection. It looks good, plays well and despite a couple of small annoyances is very entertaining.

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