Rack'Em
Copyright/Publisher: Accolade/Artech Digital Entertainments Inc.,
Game Concept & Design By: Rick Banks & Paul Butler, Code By: Martin Edwards &
Philip Armstrong, Graphics By: Grant Campbell, Sound By: Paul Butler, Production By:
Jay Stevens, Release Year: 1988, Genre: Snooker & Pool, Number Of Players: 1 or 2

Aaaooo....!
Sorry. Maff was just singing Werewolves of london like Tom Cruise in The Color of Money. Not that he's anything like Tom Cruise, it's just that he's trying to get in the right frame of mind to play Rack'Em. We just wish that he'd sit down and stop waving his arms in the air.

The game starts as you enter the pool hall, cue in hand (oo-er, etc) ready for a frame or two. The proprietor asks you what you would like to play (straight pool, eight or nine ball pool or snooker) and chalks your names up on the scoreboard.

If you're playing pool and you've decided who goes first (you can even 'string' for the break), the current player calls his shot (ie, names a ball and nominates a pocket). The shot is aimted by selecting a ball to be struck and setting the impact point.

Next you set it by adjusting the spin (or English as they say in America) with a crosshair and controlling the strength by an adjustable power level. The accuracy of a shot depends on how close the moving cue is to the cue ball when you press the fire button. Complex, huh?

A number of trick shots can be performed. At first they're selected and performed by the computer - when you feel up to it, you can try them for yourself. You can even set up a custom game with rules specially tailored to your needs.

What else is needed to get the atmosphere of the pool hall? Oh yes... altogether everyone: Aaaaaaooooooo - werewolves of London!!

K.H.
I quite liked the film The Color of Money and the idea of playing pool, but I was never very good at it - I always think I'm about to rip the baize into shreds. Good job you can't rip the cloth on a computer billiards simulation!

Accolade's product has included a lot of the rules and technicalities of pool and snooker and included them in a fairly good computer game.

There are a few quirks however, such as the awkward cueing system, the strange bounce shots and lengthy shot selection. The actual action taking place on the table isn't too bad though - it's just the in-game presentation that lets it down.

M.E.
I like playing pool and snooker every now and then, but it costs a lot to keep feeding twenty or thirty pence into the tables. That's why I always pay attention when a computer pool simulation appears.

Rack'Em is certainly one of the most comprehensive sims around, with a wide choice of games, rules and shots. The balls roll rather convincingly around the table when hit, giving a good impression of momentum and movement.

All the fiddling round with options, menus and selectors makes the going a little tedious however, and limits the playability. It's a shame really, since there is such a lot included in the package that I feel like I should enjoy it, but it just takes so long to play that I got bored. It's still about the best package of this type, though.


INTRO SCREEN

PRESENTATION 78%
Comprehensive rules and choice of games, but the cueing system can get rather frustrating.
GRAPHICS 79%
Occasionally weak colouring, but effective character definition and ball movement.
SOUND 59%
A couple of dodgy tunes and the odd 'click' of the balls as they hit each other.
HOOKABILITY 61%
A little awkward to get into due to the complexities involved.
LASTABILITY 75%
If you do overcome the initial probles, there's a lot to keep you occupied.
OVERALL 74%
The best billiards sim so far - but it does have its share of niggling quirks.
OVERALL 78%
Great, especially if you like biking and waggling.


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