American 3D Pool
Commodore 64
Steven Walters
Released on the budget Zeppelin label, 3D American Pool scored a very respectable 83% when it was reviewed by those kerraazy boys at Zzap!64 magazine way back in 1991.

Like most 8-bit pool/snooker sims, 3D American Pool is actually played from a two-dimensional view from above the table. Shots are lined up by positioning a cursor to direct the cue ball. Power is then determined by the length of time the fire button is held down and is represented by a power bar. Before the shot is taken, spin can also be added by moving the joystick in the appropriate direction before finally pressing the fire button again. From my description so far, you might be thinking that Zeppelin were being a bit cheeky with the inclusion of the phrase '3D' in the title. Well, not entirely. Once a shot has been set up, the display changes and a three-dimensional view of the table is presented. The balls then ricochet around the table in a convincing display of three-dimensional wizardry.

There are various modes of play on offer including the bonus option of playing billiards instead of pool. As well as a standard two-player mode, there are knockout and league tournament modes for up to eight players, a trick shot mode which has nine preset shots and also allows the player to create and edit their own, and an unusually well thought out one player mode. If that's not enough, may I suggest contacting a friend and heading for the nearest pub. You'll be surprised how realistic the pool tables are in your local drinking establishment ...

English-2D-Pool-With-3D-Bits-Chucked-In would have been more accurate

Looks like I'll be losing this frame then

To be honest, I'm not a great fan of snooker/pool sims (although I used to enjoy a quick game of Steve Davis' Snooker on my good old Spectrum) and I was a little disgruntled when I realised the extent to which the '3D' in this game is actually employed - shown from one fixed view, you get to witness the result of your carefully planned (and often unsuccessful) trip to the table. However, I have since come to the conclusion that these sequences do actually add something to the atmosphere of what is otherwise a standard pool simulation. Ball movement is convincingly accurate, although with only eight balls on the table (presumably to avoid problems as the C64 can only handle eight sprites without fancy tricks), the same cannot really be said for the game's authenticity. One gripe I have is that the amount of spin you can add is too restricted, and once selected cannot be cancelled. The various modes of play should keep most pool fanatics happy for a while and as single players are often left out with this type of game, I should also mention the inclusion of a decent one-player mode. Overall, despite it's slightly misleading title, American 3D Pool is definitely one of the better games of it's type and is yet another example of a quality title released at a budget price. Are you listening software houses? ...

Graphics: 71%

Sound: 43%

Gameplay: 75%

Overall: 70%
Very average except the rather attractive 3D sequences. Noticeably there are only eight ball sprites however. A nice bouncy title tune unfortunately precedes poor quality effects. Nicely tuned ball movement, plenty of play options and a good one-player mode. As far as pool sims go this is definitely one of the best of it's period. Recommended to fans of the genre.
R E C O M M E N D E D   A L T E R N A T I V E S

O T H E R   F O R M A T S
Break In (PC Engine) • Steve Davis' Snooker (ZX Spectrum)

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