Q Ball logo CU Amiga Screen Star

English Software
Price £19.99

Now, now, come, come. Would we, the upper crust of game connoisseurs, in our exclusive Amiga column (which is harder to get into than the Limelight night club!) review a lousy boring snooker variant? No, of course we wouldn't. Q-Ball is, I agree, a very snookery sounding game, but really 'anti-grav martian pool' would be of a more apt title.

Imagine a cube from the inside. Now, imagine some destructive so and so cut cut out all the eight corners, and took away the gravity. Good, now lob six red, one yellow and one black snooker ball into the box and call it Q Ball. Actually don't bother doing all that, just buy the game, it is probably a lot easier!

The object of the game is to pot all six red balls, and then the yellow. Without potting the cue (or Q) ball which is the black one.

Playing the game is done with a mouse and the keyboard but don't worry, you don't have to be amazingly dextrous, as this is more a game of concentration and good judgment then fast reactions and blisters on your trigger finger.

The way in which you hit the ball depends mainly upon the 'ghost ball' which is a flashing version of your cue ball to make contact the red, or yellow. If that sounds confusing, imagine you are playing pool or snooker. You line up your eye and cue with the spot on the ball which you intend to hit. This in Q Ball is where you would put the ghost ball.

There are also other change you can make to your shot. Some of these are obvious such as power, and spin, but because the ball s played in a cube you also have the option of slowing down of speeding up the friction. This in normal terms means that you can if you wish set if you wish the balls to stop quickly, or to take a long time to s..l..o..w.

You can play either one or two players. When you play on your own as I did the primary goal it to clear the board (pot all balls in order) with the highest score possible. The difference in score is linked to how many reds you pot, and who pots the yellow. For each of the reds that you pot, you score ten times what the timer (seen above the playfield) reads, plus a 500 points bonus. For potting the yellow you are awarded the same as for a red but you are given a 2000 points bonus instead of 500.

The beauty of Q Ball is the realism of the ball's animation and its realistic movement. Wherever you place the ghost ball the balls seem to move in a correct manner which is a rare thing for this type of simulation.

It also has an extra dimension to all other games of this type. You can knock the balls not only left and right, but also up and down as well. When you line up a shot so the red floats tantalizingly above one of the bottom pockets and the cue ball is near the top of the other side, a great surge of achievement is felt when you line up the ghost ball so it clips the top of the red, and then... click, a sweet little pot, and, yes, you're oh so beautifully lined up for the yellow.

You can also rotate the cube left, or right, and even upside down. This is done using the cursors, and helps see which shots are on, and gives you a feeling of perspective.

How good can sound on a game like this be? You sarcastically snipe. Well, sucks to you. The sound is brilliant. Digitised snooker ball type-effects with great ragtime jingles.

Q Ball, there is no denying, takes much of its inspirations and ideas from snooker, but mixes them with its own zany ideas, and produces a wacky, fun and original game. So if you own an Amiga and regard yourself as a very warped and zany Guy/Gal, why not take pot luck (ugh! -Ed.) and go for this. In fact, I advise all game starved Amiga owners to buy this.