Super Pool, Archimedes

Another Archimedes game that I had recommended to me, but turned out to be poor, is Super Pool. It’s another game by the prolific Gordon J. Key (E-Type; Apocalypse) and published by The Fourth Dimension in 1991.

Super Pool is poor because the control system is bad, and because – compared to other similar 3D pool games – it’s unplayable. It really is.

Why is it unplayable? Well, firstly: the way the mouse is used to control the view is extremely un-intuitive. Getting the camera to do what you want it to do is a real struggle. Secondly: making a shot is difficult too. You can line-up a shot, click the left mouse button to fine-tune the shot, then lock the ‘x’ axis by clicking the middle mouse button. You then pull back the cue by moving the mouse down, then sweep the mouse upwards to make the stroke. And most of the time you’ll either over or under hit your shot. Unlike something like Jimmy White’s Snooker, or Archer Maclean’s Pool, which both manage to make camera control and stroke play smooth and intuitive, Super Pool fails badly on both points. And these are two fundamentals that a 3D pool/snooker/billiards game must get right.

On top of the above frustrations, Super Pool also fails on other small but important details, like: it doesn’t show the opponent cuing when they take a shot, which it should. Instead the table goes into a set three-quarters overhead view and the balls just move around without seeing the opponent cuing. Boring! Why not move the viewpoint to the opponent’s view when he’s taking a shot? Why not show the opponent’s cue moving when he makes a shot? Also: if you can tilt the cue up, to chip a shot, or if you can put side on a ball, or if you can screw back, I couldn’t find how to do it… I tried everything I could think of to do those things, to no avail. I suspect that Super Pool doesn’t have those features. Also: even though this is a simplistic take on a game of pool, even thrashing the computer player (which I did on my second game) brings zero joy. Predominantly because Super Pool is an insipid, half-baked simulation that lacks the ability to make finely-tuned shots. And because the opposing players are just ghosts with no personality.

I’ve seen people fawning over this game, but the fact is: those people are wrong. It’s really not a good game – especially when you compare it to the two aforementioned 16-bit alternatives.

Super Pool is probably the only pool game on the Archimedes, which makes it the best pool game on the system, and the worst. If you get my meaning… The Archimedes is a nice computer, with decent capabilities, but that doesn’t make Super Pool a good game. In fact: Super Pool comes across as in incomplete and bare-bones piece of software that doesn’t even come close to fulfilling its remit.

See also: The King of Grabs Archimedes Special

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