You’d normally associate a Global Star sports title with the Outlaw Golf and Volleyball games. But there’s nothing unorthodox or wacky about Virtual Pool: Tournament Edition. Developed by old school billiard physics hands Celeris, the game shies away from any swanky bells and whistles, instead concentrating on recreating the mechanics of this popular parlour game with absolute accuracy.
As the title and price point suggest, this isn’t an actual pool table complete with cues, balls and opponent. It’s [i]Virtual[\i] Pool, which means you don’t have to worry about tears in the felt, dents in the cheap chipboard surface, or an infuriating bias to one corner caused by rotten pub floorboards. Neither do you have to worry about smashing a window in the cramped boozer with an over zealous backswing or accidentally chipping the cue ball into the pint pot of the local Rottweiler breeder. So you see, it’s better than having a real table pool table of your own, and you don’t have to worry about explaining to the wife/girlfriend/mum why there’s no money to buy the kids’ shoes/her birthday present/food, or that you’ve thrown the kitchen table out because there’s no room for it anymore.
You simply start your career in a small time Virtual bar, selecting which of 18 different Virtual variations of the game you wish to specialise in, including 8-ball, snooker, and 6-ball games, plus novelty versions bowliards, Honolulu, cribbage, cowboy, and one pocket. There’s also a trick shot mode, where you can show off your Virgo-esque skills to an appreciative crowd of Virtual friends.
Challenge seedy barflies to games for money (Virtual money) and use your spoils to upgrade your cues. Controls which take some time to master stop this from being just another point and push game you can walk through. This latest in Celeris’ long and distinguished line of Virtual Pool games, usually restricted to PC releases, gives fans of the genre a chance to sit back on the sofa (which you still have room for) and enjoy it on their PS2.