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Sport: Action
ZX Spectrum 48K
Firebird BleepLoad

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Ian Osborne
Chris Bourne

Pool nuts get well ratty if you say their hobby's the sign of a misspent youth. What do they expect? The only place you find fullsized tables is in the boozer! Even then they're not level, the cloth looks like a dog's wiped its bum on it and the cues are either missing a tip or banana-shaped!

Luckily, those jolly nice peeps at Kin have rereleased 3D Pool so you can enjoy the fun without the passive smoking and drunken slobs!

Dispensing with the bog-standard overhead view, 30 Pool features snazzy Freescape-type graphics, allowing fail 360' perspective around the table and eye-level view.

It's impressive stuff on first play - you spend more time walking round the table than playing shots (Terry Griffiths, eat yer heart out)! Rotation of the table is a little jerky but doesn't affect gameplay.

Too many pool and snooker sims are let down by bad execution - the balls don't move properly, they never stop rolling, or the power of shots bear no relation to that offered by the control.

Fortunately, this is not the case in 3D Pool. The control method is difficult at first, as the cue is not illustrated -the inlay asks you to imagine it! This isn't as annoying as it sounds, though, and once you've got the hang of it you're away.

There's loadsa options on offer. Tournament play pits your skills against computer-controlled opponents, ending with a final against Maltese Joe. Trouble is, all the computer bods play like Steve bleedin' Davis, so you can forget the final!

In practice mode, you play one frame against anyone exact Joe. There's no chance to practice on your own, which is a bit of a pain, but you can take on a mate. The set trickshots we pretty fabby too, and there's even a trickshot editor included (not guilty-Ed)!

Overall presentation's a weeny bit weak, with poor intro screens and an unclear power display. The graphics are functional if unremarkable, and if you don't like the screen and border colours change them to suit yourself.

Obviously, all this takes toll on running speed - It's slow and the balls flicker a little as they collide. Even so, presenting a game like this on the Speccy is a mammoth task. 3D Pool is an incredible achievement and how they squeezed it into 48k of memory is beyond me. If you're into snooker sims, this is an essential purchase!

MARK ... 75%