Archer Maclean's Pool Paradise - GameCube

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Archer Maclean's Pool Paradise (GameCube)
Also for: PC, PS2, Xbox
Viewed: 3D Third-person, floating camera Genre:
Sport: Pool
Arcade origin:No
Developer: Awesome Play Soft. Co.: Ignition Entertainment
Publishers: Ignition Entertainment (GB)
Released: 2 Apr 2004 (GB)
Ratings: PEGI 3+
Accessories: Memory Card


Awesome Studios 2004 Pool Paradise is one of only a few pool games around. There isn’t a massive demand for them these days, and the genre has become something of a specialist niche in today’s world of video games. But when the name Archer MacLean appears on the box - the man behind International Karate and Dropzone - it has to be worth a closer look.

In what is a themed pool experience, you find yourself in the South Pacific on an exotic beach that just happens to be littered with pool tables. For a pool player, it's paradise, and if that's not enough, you can even play Skeepool, Darts and the original Dropzone arcade game.

But as the title implies, the core of the game lies on the pool table, and Pool Paradise demonstrates just how extensive and convincing such video games can be. There are five modes of play, 11 rule sets, an array of table sizes and shapes, tournaments, a dynamic camera, 30 computer characters and some brilliant animation. It's great stuff, but that's all options and eye-candy.

To pool aficionados it's all about gameplay. The balls need to roll in a realistic fashion and they should react to the table cushions accordingly. Sidespin, backspin and topspin must work as they do in the real-life sport, and the power put behind a shot should be reflected in what happens on the table. Pool Paradise does all this, and that's what makes it worthwhile.

Pool Paradise would probably be a great game even without the underlying ball physics and realism. Awesome couldn't go wrong really, but they should be commended nonetheless. It's all good.