Friday Night 3D Pool Review. If you can't find a discounted copy of Virtual Pool 3 in the nearest discount bin, you may want to look to Friday Night 3D Pool as the next best thing. by Gord Goble on March 15, 2004.
There was a time when you couldn't swing a cue without hitting a PC pool simulation. Sadly, times have changed in the world of digital pool. Competent and semicompetent games, such as Expert Pool and Ultimate 8-Ball, have come and gone, while the genre's top series, Virtual Pool, crested just after the turn of the millennium (with the comprehensive Virtual Pool 3 Featuring Jeanette Lee) and hasn't been seen since.
Into this barren marketplace wades Global Star's Friday Night 3D Pool, which is a budget-priced affair that in many ways looks prettier than anything prior to it but generally sticks to the basics and isn't immune to odd design choices and marginally flawed physics. Still, if you can't find a discounted copy of Virtual Pool 3 in the nearest discount bin, you may want to look to Friday Night 3D Pool as the next best thing. Friday Night 3D Pool's rendering of the pool balls and tables (and the fully operational wall clocks) is both pretty and authentic. Unlike Virtual Pool, Friday Night 3D Pool is rather limited in both scope and options. The game focuses on just three variants of pool table pastimes--8-ball, 9-ball, and snooker.
It does not offer interactive tutorials, trick shot practice sessions, or customized games. The printed manual--what little of it there is--is incredibly pint-sized, though in-game text-based help files are considerably more generous. Multiplayer pool is restricted to two players or two four-player teams huddled around a single computer. Internet or network-based competition is not supported.
Бильярд 2006 / I Play 3D Billiards. Лучшие из лучших. Бильярд 2006. Супер бильярд в пятницу вечером / Friday Night 3D Pool. Супер бильярд в пятницу. Но - опять промах: все противники во Friday Night 3D Pool (а также и Darts) - от сестрёнки и бабушки до высокоранговых городских.
The game opens in a comparatively innocuous setting, which is a basement-type environment wherein you'll begin your quest. This quest is to meet and beat opponents, accrue points, move up in the rankings, and eventually graduate from your "home room" to the invitation-only club room--and then move onward to the high-end tournament room. The people you meet will vary wildly, from gap-toothed youngsters, to aged grandmas, to slimy wrong-side-of-the-track types, to (ultimately) hustlers and honed veterans. Each character comes with a personal description and a cartoon photo, which you'll use to gauge his or her level of competence and playing style. As time goes on, you will find that playing styles range from slow and plodding, to fast but inaccurate, to downright deadly, to bizarre, and all things in between.
The Friday Night 3D Pool peripheral world is somewhat interactive. When you look around each room, you'll see various hot spots--light switches, trophy cases, and the like--that can each be clicked upon to activate certain functions or to gain access to items, such as alternate cues or new table designs you may have won while playing. Unfortunately, movement around the room is stilted and clumsy, which is a problem that intensifies when you begin playing and attempt to look around the table for alternate shot possibilities.
This sluggish and cumbersome camera setup is one of the game's most annoying foibles, and it plagues the player from beginning to end and constantly forces him or her to shuffle the mouse furiously just to gain a new perspective on things. Unfortunately, animated opponents are not part of the scenery. Thusly, cues will float mysteriously in the air, as if gripped by unseen adversaries. This portrayal is no different than that of Virtual Pool 3, but three years have passed since that game's release, so it wouldn't be unfair to expect visible players in a pool game this recent. You can't improve your points total using such obvious cheats as the aiming cue, but you can educate yourself about the physics of ball movement.
For better or worse, there isn't an overabundance of choices to be made before you first chalk up. You must, of course, select your game type (8-ball, 9-ball, or snooker) and your opponent. You'll also choose from a one-, three-, five-, or nine-game set, and you must decide on the severity of the rules. Granted, the game doesn't allow for all the rule variations you'd find in the real world, but you can opt to call your shots, allow safety plays, and the like. Curiously, Friday Night 3D Pool has just a single difficulty level. However, it does allow you to enlist a number of aids. If you prefer, you can activate the "aiming cue," which is a blatant but helpful and instructive cheat that allows you to see the forthcoming trajectories of the cue and object ball before you shoot.
This is nothing new to computer pool, but it is nice to see here. You also have a chance to win a variety of Easter eggs as you play, including several certifiably wild table paint schemes and ball sets. Arguably, the most intriguing Easter egg is the game's upgraded roster of cues. With these little beauties, you'll soon be pocketing shots you'd previously thought impossible. It is important to note that you will not accumulate points or advance your ranking when using the aiming cue guidelines or upgraded cues, nor can you make use of them outside of the low-end home room. Friday Night 3D Pool is not a particularly fast-moving game. When the invariable camera/mouse hassles aren't slowing you down, the drawn-out "thought" processes of your computerized opponents and the curious default camera placements will.
Even working your way through the rather archaic menu system takes far more time and mouse clicks than it should. Certainly, Virtual Pool was considerably faster and slicker--and thereby more compelling. However, Virtual Pool wasn't better-looking. Though Friday Night 3D Pool isn't even remotely close to the current graphical state of the art, it does tend to make old-school pool games look. old-school.
It isn't the backgrounds so much, which feature nifty working clocks and jukeboxes that are otherwise forgettably rendered, but it's the actual tables and balls. Accurate, graduated shading plays a big role, as do light-reflective balls and minute table imperfections. Ultimately, the general appearance seems less sterile, more convincing, and grittier than games of the past. Audio is not a strong suit.
The musical score is an interesting combination of mysterious ambient electronica and pop-meets-metal, guitar-driven rock, but the six-strong set list gets stale very quickly. The game's sound effects are less impressive. Mixed so quietly (compared to the music) that you must crank the volume just to hear them, the sound effects are minimally allotted, somewhat muffled, and are not overly diverse.
However, the spatial sense is quite good, with closing doors and distant barking dogs filtering in from various locations. There is no speech at any point during the game, though smatterings of applause and appropriately triggered oohs and aahs do add flavor in the club and tournament rooms.
From a physics standpoint, Friday Night 3D Pool is only fair. Balls do roll in the appropriate direction and seemingly obey the manner and thickness in which they were struck.
Even rebounding balls will bounce appropriately. Unfortunately, the physics engine does not always accurately represent velocity. Balls tend to roll a bit farther than the force of the strike would dictate.
Worse still, ricocheting balls seem to pick up speed just after the moment of secondary impact. Accordingly, a ball will usually travel fractionally faster after it impacts a cushion than it did before that impact. Though not a serious enough problem to spoil or seriously influence the proceedings, this penchant for excess speed is nevertheless perceptible.
The game also ignores the vertical plane. Certainly, you can't pop the cue ball in the air to jump over an opponent's ball. In fact, no ball will ever rise from the table.
Veteran pool players know that this is too valuable an asset to be missing from a virtual representation of the sport. Generally, your artificially intelligent rivals behave in a fashion that harmonizes smartly with their descriptions and skill levels. Indeed, the game works hard to deliver distinct playing styles and diversity. In this way, Friday Night 3D Pool stays fresh when similar games have already grown stale. Yet the AI is not perfect. Too often your opponent will make a bizarre error on a relatively easy shot, which usually occurs when the game is on the line.
Alternatively, poor players will suddenly string together too many successful shots and too many ideal setups for their given abilities. That this sort of thing occurs precisely when it's needed most leads one to believe that the developer put a bit too much emphasis on keeping each game tight. In this respect, an online multiplayer component would have been welcome indeed.
Marred by a number of design quirks that needlessly hamper the proceedings, in addition to two noteworthy physics peculiarities, Friday Night 3D Pool is not the evolutionary step forward some might have expected, particularly given the length of time since computer pool's last great milestone. Nevertheless, it's a challenging and generally satisfying exercise that looks quite good and is priced right. Discount bin copies of Virtual Pool 3 aside, Friday Night 3D Pool is currently the most workable solution for those who seek a digitized fix of the time-honored barroom and den pastime.