World Championship Snooker 2002
Review of World Championship Snooker 2002
I have to say that we loved the PSone version of this game, giving it a huge score and so the way we have approached this review is on the basis that the gameplay should be at least as good, but bearing in mind the power of the PS2 and the fact that this is basically just colored balled moving around a green surface; the graphics should be photo-realistic.
A welcome addition to the game is the advanced ‘Coaching Mode’ where a respected former star player guides you through the rules and demonstrates how to perform various common shots that will be encountered when playing the main game. Alternatively just playing a practice session in this mode, he will give tips and advice before and after each shot; making it easily the most flexible tuition system seen in any snooker, pool or billiards videogame.
The fantastic aiming system also makes a welcome return and rather than making the game too easy, helps to making it far more playable. There are two sets of arrows superimposed on the table. The white arrows show which direction the white cue ball will go after impact and the yellow set gives information on the object ball after impact. The yellow arrows can be aimed directly into a pocket or to a point on the table where the ball should end up. The white arrows show a curved path after impact eventually straightening out in the final direction. Some of the arrows are solid, while others remain transparent. These indicate the approximate distance the ball will travel. These aiming aids can of course be removed, but they allow gamers of all levels to enjoy the sport without having to practice for hours and allow them to concentrate on the art of positioning the white ball after the shot… which is the key to high scoring.
Taking the shot is child's play as careful consideration has been taken to ensure the button configuration quickly becomes second nature. There are a couple of view buttons that allow a top down perspective of the entire table and a swivel mode that allows you to check that the path of the object ball to the pocket is clear. Precisely adjusting cue angle, spin, address and elevation can now set all aspects of the shot. Once satisfied with the aim the 'X' button is pressed once. Now a power-bar with a graduated scale may be set. The same button is pressed to confirm and take the shot.
The physics used to decide what balls go where on the table after being hit is obviously a very complex one and I am not sure if it has suffered a little when being converted for the PS2. The Cushions now seem very dull and even hitting the ball off them at full power (with top-spin) wont allow it to travel right around the table as would be expected. Hitting the ball too low will make it jump (which is fine), but it doesn’t bounce at all when it lands. All in all these are quite small niggles and the basic gameplay is still very solid.
Obviously the best way to play this is in two player mode, however to keep solitary players happy most of the big tournaments have been included; as have the best of the worlds players for those who are satisfied to take on some skilful computer controlled opponents. The advanced AI system mimics the characteristics of the real professional players, simulating 'pressure' shots, tactical play and positional skills. This means that although they could rack up a century break they could just as easily 'fluff' that crucial shot leaving you to take centre stage and clear up the colors. This style of AI works brilliantly. Imagine lining up a simple red against Billy Nobody at a local venue. No problem! Now imagine taking the very same shot in the later stages of the World Championship knowing that Ronnie O'Sullivan's polygon clone will clear the table should you miss... Nervous? You bet!
Graphically this is a disaster zone and smacks of either a game that was released too soon, or a developer that has not got to grips with programming the PS2. I could not believe some of the glitches that have made it through to the final retail version of the game; balls running through player hands, shots not animated properly (travelling way too fast until hitting the first cushion), referees that just disappear, players whos animation is so jerky they look like robots having an epileptic fit, a watching crowd that looks and moves terribly… the list goes on and on. Worst of all way the fact that some of the camera angles used made it hard to judge the angle of a shot – which is unforgivable. Even the sound has it problems with the brilliant commentary just cutting off mid-sentence.
OUR PLEDGE: We promise that we have fully played 'World Championship Snooker 2002' before writing this review. The scores given above are our honest opinion and were not influenced in any way by the manufacturer or distributor of the game.
This review was written by Stevie Vincent © Absolute PlayStation
Click here to view our 9 World Championship Snooker 2002 in-game screenshot slideshow
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