it some stick

Steve Davis World Snooker logo

After the Frenchmen hid the pockets of Colonel Pemberton's billiards table, Smyth spared no expense in getting them back. Sherlock Holmes was called in and after many adventures in far flung lands the pockets were found on Professor Moriarty's mantelpiece.
The good colonel was delighted. "Let's rout these damned foreigners with an English game. Rule Britannia!" he cried.
So it came to pass that Steve Davis World Snooker was written. Although Colonel Pemberton thought that snooker and pool were base games played only by drunkards and dissolutes, the programmers thoughtfully included English billiards for him, as well as French billiards, also known as Billiards Carom, which has three balls and a pocketless table.

"Egad! I squandered all my inheritance on Holmes when I could have read the instruction book!", the once-powerful voice quailed from beyond the grave.

Snooker is divided into 10 ball and 15 ball versions. Pool is either American - 15 numbered balls of different colours, points scored by potting a nominated ball into a nominated pocket - or English - pot eight reds or eight yellows, then the black to win. English billiards is a wonderfully silly game which gives you big scores for such indiscretions as potting your opponent's cue ball and going in-off, whereas Billiards Carom is "hit the balls as hard as possible and croissant your fingers".

Gameplay is very similar to the 8 bit versions, except that a cue rather than a cross-hair cursor is used to line up your shot. Unfortunately, the pockets are no longer like buckets, so nonchalantly notching up gigantic breaks with your eyes closed is not on.

After several hours of trying, my record is nine. The high score table recognises this - anything above six and your name is displayed in lights.

If you want to be trashed, play the computer, on the highest of its six skill levels. It plays cannons, plants, doubles and other impossible shots as a matter of routine. The lowest skill level is ideal for duffers like myself, combining dazzling pots with ridiculous misses.
If you are an exhibitionist, trick shots can be set up using a very good table editor, although it doesn't cater for bottles, jump shots and other baize rippers.

The graphics are reasonable. The balls are a little small, but there is a magnify option which lets you have a closer look at the area round the pockets. No, you can't play a shot wile it's on.

Movement is smooth and fast, particularly wit only a few balls on the table. It's a pity the programmers didn't play to the gallery with smoothly animated striped and spotted pools balls. There's no 3D option.

For Steve Davis groupies there is ample opportunity for hero worship: Three mono digitised pictures called up by pressing the right mouse button and a superb HAM loading picture accompanied by a perfect rendition of that annoying tune which comes up on BBC at all hours of the day during snooker championships.

Sound during the game is limited to the click of ball on ball and the clunk of ball into pocket, plus SD's annoying digitised witticisms.

A classic game which still looks good after five years at the top. No frills, just an accurate simulation.

Steve Davis World Snooker logo

Infogrames Price: £24.95

Now these are what I call nice touches. A nice full colour shot of Steve on the loading screen. The entire theme tune to BBC snooker sampled clear as a bell. And just to prove it, if you didn't believe it the first time around, they've even printed the signature of one Steve Hans, as an "authentic" touch. He's probably a friend of Steve's or something.

Here's an interesting point of conversation that you can bring up at a dinner party while trying to distract your employer's wife from the huge, bellowing, snoring sounds coming from grandpa as he mutters away in the corner. A long time ago, when Steve Davis World Snooker appeared for the first time on 8 bit, it was hailed as the best of its kind, a title it only recently relinquished to 3D Pool. Amiga Steve Davis World Snooker is appalling. Graphically it's great. Sonically it's great. Animation is smooth - and variation is high enough to retain interest. The problem? It's just too damn inaccurate.

Once you have decided which of the six games you wish to play, you begin to notice the inaccuracy. You are presented with a short line that points in the direction that the cue ball will go when you take the shot. The problem is, only angles of about 10 degrees seem to make many difference to the outcome of the shot. But no matter how perfectly you set up the shot, the contact ball still shoots off in a completely unexpected direction.

This spoils what is in all other respects a very competent game. It could have been so good, that's what's annoying. Why oh why did they have to mess it up? Oh well, it's back to the 64 version for me.

Steve Davis World Snooker logo Steve: It's class!

CDS, Amiga £19.99

Never mind going out and winning matches, this Davis blokey earns quite enough, than you, from software royalties. Ah well, c'est la vie.

About the game. It's a snooker game. And a pool game. And a billiards game. Hmmm. Basically you get this table, and it's got balls on it, the number of which depends on the particular game being played. You get a cue, and try to hit the balls into one of the six holes dotted precariously around the sides of the table.

Points are scored for each ball potted, with penalties given for lousy shots, hitting balls that you're not supposed to, and dancing on the table in a nurse's uniform. And to think, people win thousands of pounds doing that, I'm in the wrong job (topical).

Kati Hamza Well, this is dead interesting, innit? Well, yeah it is. Not a half bad pool/snooker/billiards sim really with a couple of nifty graphical effects. Nothing to write home about if you're into really fancy presentation or sound but definitely one for the snooker fans. Or anyone else who fancies some really slick tabletop play. Or indeed people who think they're really interesting. Right then, bring on the beans.
Paul Rand Yeah, well, snooker isn't the most gripping or physical of sports, but then again I'm lazy so I lover it. It's a pity there is only a 2D option (I would have thought it is easy to get 3D on Amiga), but there you go. What is there is not bad, with graphics which, although basic, do the job, and balls 'roll' quite fluently, too. My favorite part was the zoom option, which lets you take a close-up view of the balls in play, should you be playing a tricky shot. If you like snooker and that sort of game, you shouldn't be disappointed with the selection here.
Zzap's Thing: Fancy a game, Folks?