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A.P.I Review: Backstreet Billiards
Developer: Argent OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: ASCII 1-4 Player
Game Type: Sports Sim Memory Card
Review Date: January 1999 Dual Shock Controller

Setting the Scene

Back street Billiards is a pool story. Move from pool hall to pool hall 
trying to track down your fathers cue stick. Face some stiff competition 
along the way but with each win you will be able to increase various 
aspects of your game such as your power, technique, and your mentality. 
And believe me you will need all the savvy you can get to beat this 
motley crew.


Back street Billiards is a simulated and very realistic game using real pool
physics with up to 14 games, yea 14! It is also capable of supporting four
players, although I think a two-player game is the best.


I felt the overall colors and brightness of the pool balls and the tables 
was quite good while the characters and their surroundings were also very 
bright and alive. Again this is a game with all the action happening
right in front of you. There is nothing to distract you as in a high paced
action or shooting game, like monsters or explosions going on around you. If
that's what your looking for then baby did you ever buy the wrong game.  

Pixilation was virtually non-existent and the light sourcing throughout the
title was some of the best I've seen in this type of game. When you wanted
to talk to your next opponent they seemed to come right at you in 3D, even
though they are not. 

As in other pool games I have played, each pool hall has it's own distinctive 
air... well BSB has kicked it up another notch.  Each pool hall has it's 
own stated style, whether it's 50's rock-a-billy or a British punk 
atmosphere ASCII does it right.  About the only thing you will see that 
is out of the ordinary are the cue sticks that strangely move around the 
table.  This is one of my only complaints with the visuals... if your 
gonna have cue's moving around then attach some people to 'em.

I also enjoyed the "move" to each new pool hall as you can actually see your
new destination before you walk through the door.

Very nice graphics and good overall presentation.

Sounds and Effects

The sound and music in this game was terrific. You have the usual change
sound effects volume or change the background music volume. But the best
part about the music in this game was that I could play my own CD during the
game. Yup, that's right, you have an option. Enjoy the ride.  After you
begin the game all you do is press the start button and select the CD change
option and you can rock to whatever you like, even though the music in BSB
was quite good. 

With each new town you tackle you will find that each pool hall has quite a
unique and funky soundtrack. The actual movement and sound of the balls was
right on the money. However miscues and hitting cushions could have been a bit more


I've played most of these pool simulations and believe me I liked ASCII the
best. Why? I'm glad you asked. For one thing I found I enjoyed the dual
shock feature and it worked very well with most shots. The cueing of the
shots (lining them up) is easily done and the game will automatically line
up a straight on shot for you.  So for the novice, straight shots are a no
brainer.  The "d" pad will help you adjust for all of your angle shots and
believe me if the CPU is losing a match you will know the meaning of
"defensive " pool playing. So get to know your angles or face getting buried
behind balls time and time again.  A really good feature on BSB is what they
call the ghost trail. This is extremely useful when you first start out. The
ghost trail will tell where the ball will go. If you are worried that it 
may distract you then fear not because you can turn it on or off at any time. 
Another added feature in BSB is what they call a power shot. I liked this 
feature, especially on the "break shot". It comes in handy when you need 
to move the ball, say that for instance setting up your next shot you can 
put some awesome backspin or forward spin on the ball.  Overall a game that 
is quite easy to maneuver through.

I felt the actual shot making was a little bit tricky, but like anything
else once you soon get the hang of it with each shot proving less difficult 
than the last.  The geometry and physics of this game are also quite good.  
Lining up bank shots, cross side and other difficult shots were made easier 
by the broad camera shots and angles of the whole table. Speaking of bank 
shots and the like, the trick shot mode will have you making shots that 
are only capable in the land of video games. These are shots that Minnesota 
Fats would shake his head at, but you have a long way to go before you get 
there.  Practice, practice, practice... 

Value for Money

Well as you probably have read, or guessed if you don't read everything, I
felt BSB was a few bucks well spent.  The thing that really blew my mind was
the amount of games you can take part in, 14 in all!!!   I've wasted more
money on games that were supposed to bring so called hours of entertainment, 
but here's one that will.
GRAPHICS: 18/20 Yo!, if you like pool or if you just like some stiff competition in sports then grab a friend and crack a few racks or if your like me and have no friends this is the game that will keep you coming back again and again. So get you're favorite music CD, a glass of eggnog and some holiday cookies and start running the table!
SOUND: 8/10
VALUE: 18/20


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