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World Cup Of Pool (DS) artwork

World Cup Of Pool (DS) review


"Unfortunately, the inclusion of sixty stellar pros boils down to displaying a still photo before each match, because the computer certainly doesn't play like any of those big names. It fails to execute smart safeties. It will ignore tailor-made combinations that would result in a win. Worst of all, it simply flubs easy, straight-in shots. I've never seen it come close to running a rack."



Physics are an essential component of any billiards simulation, and World Cup of Pool provides the tools to master energy and motion. While setting up your shot, the game traces the line the cue ball will follow, making even complicated bank attempts look easy. It also includes a movable outline of the ball so you can test exactly how it will strike the target. If the angle looks off at all, the d-pad can be used in place of the stylus to make the most minute adjustments. You can pick where to strike the cue ball as well, and the helpful line shows the effects of front spin, back spin, and side english. Finally, there's a meter to control the power necessary, with the trace extending the distance the cue ball will travel. Once all the settings are just right, you simply tap a button, and the shot is executed precisely how you mapped it out. With World Cup's extremely tight pockets, you'll need every ounce of accuracy outlined here.

As thorough as that sounds, it means the game has no feel. There's no allowance for shaky hands when you pull the stick back for the winning pocket, and you can't ever stare down the cue to measure up your next maneuver. In fact, sometimes you can't get a decent view at all. The default camera is an overhead of the entire table -- it's essentially two-dimensional -- which can be too far away to discern the necessary angles. The only other option is an extreme zoom. If the object ball and pocket are in the same frame, success is near automatic. When they're not, it's near useless. Long shots are definitely supposed to be difficult, but for all of World Cup's finely-tuned controls, situations where you're aiming off-screen come down to a combination of guesswork and crossing your fingers.

It doesn't result in the level of play you would expect at a prestigious global event. In reality, the World Cup of Pool is an annual doubles 9-ball tournament, with the best in the world representing their countries. This game presents it as a singles competition and expands it to 8-ball, 9-ball, and Killer – a more informal variant where competitors alternate turns, and the first to miss a certain number of shots loses. Even with more options, this title turns down the excitement to zero. Winning the five-round tourney earns tepid congratulations, a trophy, and a trip back to the main menu. The environment is so sterile that matches aren't even accompanied by background music.

The one way World Cup of Pool earns cachet is by including the names and likenesses of professional pool players. Headlined by Daryl “The Dazzler” Peach, Earl “The Pearl” Strickland, Mika “The Ice Man” Immonen, Francisco Bustamante, and Efren Reyes, the game contains everyone who participated in the inaugural 2006 event. That's sixty stellar pros seeming to offer a ringing endorsement.

Unfortunately, their appearances boil down to displaying a still photo before each match, because the computer certainly doesn't play like any of those names. It fails to execute smart safeties. It will ignore tailor-made combinations that would result in a win. Worst of all, it simply flubs easy, straight-in shots. I've never seen it come close to running a rack.

That level of incompetence reflects on the entire game. World Cup of Pool makes a great snap impression with its big names and pinpoint controls, but it transforms those assets into spotty opposition and blind shots in the dark. Scratch this one off your list of games to try.

Rating: 3/10

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Staff review by Benjamin Woodhouse (March 31, 2010)

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