"I lost my game 15-80, owing my points to a few lucky “Smash & Hope” shots and a high break of eight when I managed to pot a red and then the black. The few shots I took only really existed to draw the ire of the commentator who had heaped nothing but praise on my opponent. This is because the control scheme can politely be described as ‘tricky’."
We all know that tutorials are for girls. They’re not there to educate a player, no, they exist only to mock them. “Can’t play the game without having your hand held?” they whisper. “You may as well read the instruction manual and be done with it, you bloody amateur!”
So bollocks was I going to play the tutorial for the thoughtfully-named World Snooker Championships: Season 2007-08 (which clears up any lingering confusion about what the game actually is). I went straight into friendly and noticed a lot of things.
Like how long it takes for the computer to decide on what to do. I spent the majority of my friendly game watching the opposition’s silhouette leaking thought bubbles before playing a string of almost-perfect shots even when they are designated the easiest difficulty setting. In fact, I was able to pen the majority of the review written thus far while the computer took on a single break. Ask yourself what you want to have in your snooker games: a game or a means to watch virtual representatives for the sport s-l-o-w-l-y hand your arse to you.
Of course, most of you don’t have the option to write a review on the game while you wait for your turn to come along (or you do, but you’re far too lazy) so you’ll just have to sit and watch while you get taken apart and the tinny commentator waxes sycophantic as the computer slides shot after shot in. You can go to the options screen to turn off the CPU players shots, but all this does is delete the animated player model. Instead of being whooped by a reasonably well constructed snooker player, you will instead meet your demise via a phantom floating cue.
I lost my game 15-80, owing my points to a few lucky “Smash & Hope” shots and a high break of eight when I managed to pot a red and then the black. The few shots I took only really existed to draw the ire of the commentator who had heaped nothing but praise on my opponent. This is because the control scheme can politely be described as ‘tricky’.
Aiming is done through the bottom screen while the top presents an overview of the table. You have a decent amount of control over the shots you take, dictating power, spin and positioning, however it’s not presented as clear cut as perhaps is should be. Aiming with the stylus is point-blank useless seeing as it can also control the camera, so nudging your aim to the sides can also throw your camera around like an Alabama bride. It’s also difficult to be anywhere near precise with this method, so you’ll find yourself using the much easier d-pad and shoulder button to make those tricky shots where millimetre-precision is vital.
And, really, this is nothing short of a crime. You have a touch pad and a stylus at your disposal and you find that taking shots is a case of making an on-screen cue move up and down. Or just press a button, something that could have been used on any other platform out there. On paper, a DS snooker game is so pregnant with possibilities, silently promising that the stylus itself will become your cue, but, in execution, Snooker 2007-08 is nothing of the sort.
After a while, this control method does starts to drop and you’ll start making some acceptable shots. Aiming the cue-ball leads to a pair of aftertouch lines tracking the flight of the ball you struck and the cue ball respectively. These lines don’t run off very far from the targets, so you need to spin the camera around like crazy to try and get some idea whether or not the paths taken will not only pot you the ball but set the white up for your next shot. Doing this takes forever, so don’t think you’re going to avoid huge waits in between shots should you ignore the PC player and try the two-player option instead!
I lost my next game 32-77. More by luck than judgement I managed to ‘snooker’ the pesky PC by hiding the white behind a pocket of colours, making their next shot nigh-on impossible. Of course, they made the shot easily while you struggle with simple pots.
The fact is you need to be making breaks around the 60-point mark to get anywhere against computer foes and human opposition needs to be cohered into playing with the aid of a shotgun. After another failed game, I slunk off to the tutorial I scoffed at to see if I could improve my luck. There, I found a million-step plan chronicling cut-and paste shots that the computer performs flawlessly and then asks you to copy it. After being told I’d failed to perform a break as well as had been shown to me a couple of dozen times, I gave that up, too.
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