Pool Champion is a unique and innovative pool simulation that unfortunately suffered from the mere fact that Celeris'/Interplay’s Virtual Pool was technically superior and better-marketed. The idea behind the game is original and one that sports game publishers should consider: combine a good pool sim with the atmosphere of a role-playing game. The player interacts with different opponents, who deliver shots of character dialog as well as the more traditional pool shots. Starting with only fifty bucks, you’ve got to hustle up enough dough to get to Las Vegas for the National Nine Ball tourney. That means playing -- and betting against -- a slew of opponents in places like Dave’s Chopper Club and Matt’s Billiard Hall, as well as choosing when to pay for lessons or a better cue to improve your game. As you make your way through the game, your opponents get tougher, the games more diverse and specialized. You’ll need a lot of practice if you’re going to win the cash. |
The simulation itself is quite good, with a smooth interface and complete control over the cue speed, angle, and ball English (yes, you can even attempt the infamous "Masse" shot). The well-modeled ball physics feel right. There are eight game variations offered, and the role-playing elements are well-implemented, and create a career mode feel that is missing in most pool games. The game could maybe use more character voices to spruce things up.
All in all, Pool Champion is a solid pool sim that may not offer the elegant interface of Virtual Pool, but more than makes up for it with well-integrated RPG elements and varied game modes. Definitely well worth a look, especially if you wish pool games had more character and long-term play value. Thumbs up!Reviewed by: Underdogs