SYSTEM
PS2

PRICE
$49.99

DEVELOPER
Ask

PUBLISHER
Take 2 Interactive

RELEASE DATE
10/00

Q-Ball: Billiards Master Review

By: John Doe


If you own a pool game and you think it's the cats ass then read no further. However if you have been thinking about getting a pool game, for whatever reason, then you really can't go wrong with Q-Ball Billiards Master. It does everything you would expect of a pool sim except to threaten you with a beating in the back alley after a few glorious wins.


Highs:
Lows:

Q-Ball looks so good it's hard to believe that it ain't real. Although the balls are prone to a small amount of alaising, the lighting and rendering of the glossy sheen as it reflect the light sources in the room are all at once fascinating and strangely comical. Okay, maybe not comical, but I just couldn't think of another word fast enough, as I'm typing this article in real time. The rendering of the wood and felt are excellent also but it should be excellent considering that there is not much for background and considering this is not a game which requires thousands upon thousands of rendered objects such as Midnight Club Street Racing.

A variety of modes such as frozen play and free play assure that you won't grow bored with this game - too quickly anyway. A tutorial mode is included and is excellent for explaining all the variety of controls and shots that are available including jump shots and stop shots. If you've ever wondered how to play games such as 8-ball, snooker and 9-ball you can learn all about them in detail before you venture into the local pool hall with greenhorn tattooed on your forehead. The tutorial is lengthy and detailed and gives you a lot of pointers for use in the game and real life situations as well including how to politely decline an offer to purchase some crack without offending the vendor.

Using the controls is easy for the basic shots but be prepared to spend some time in "school" if you want to really fine tune your play. Varying the pressure on the analogue stick results in precise ball control. It will take a lot of experimenting before you get this down to a Zen. After school, I recommend the free play mode where you can practice until you're old enough to smoke.

The layout of the game is simple and easy to use. The menu is easy to navigate and an assortment of camera angles will ensure that you keep an eye on your ball from just about any perspective including close up, manual and old days. The music is at the very least, non offensive, although I would prefer to turn it off and just listen to the rich timbres of the clanking balls and the semi-hollow, woody crack of the cue stick. Very realistic and strangely comical.

If you must have a pool game then add this to your library. If you have a passing interest then by all means you should at least go ahead and rent this one. The two-player mode is a lot of fun if you and your pal can't make it to the bar or the local amusement palace. Just don't play with a novice because they can really drag the game down just like you will when you first try this baby. In a few hours you'll be shooting stick like a professional drug pusher and that's something to be proud about, isn't it? Play this game just one time and you'll be in danger of getting hooked.

OVERALL
7.0

GRAPHICS
5.0

CONTROL
8.0

MUSIC/FX
5.0

FRUSTRATION
3.0

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