Pool Paradise


Review by Nathan Dunsmore



Graphics: 7

Sound: 8

Gameplay: 8

Overall: 8


In less demand and less supply, many popular consoles have one pool title. Competition next to nonexistent, the true challenge is making its intended audience step away from the table and play pool over the television. This is where most of Pool Paradise’s flare rolls into play; not everyone can experience pool on an island.

poolparadise1cube.jpg (33027 bytes)On paper, a remote island wouldn’t sound like the most creative of settings, but all the residential oddities put this one on the map. Arriving dead broke, you select an identity and a generous loan shark (that is not a figure of speech, it is a real shark) gives you 250 dollars to start at the bottom of a 32-player ladder. To work your way up, more money will have to be won and to do so, other characters must be outwitted at a pool game of their preference. Tournament offers are given throughout progression for the chance to win major de niro.

The characters you face, however, are plenty more skillful than they appear. A washed-up superhero, mummy, godfather, and James Bond’s unknown cousin; characters do not get more diverse than this.

Other than climbing up the ladder, money can be used to buy gadgets, crazy tables (tables of all shapes and sizes), and mini games such as darts. The only time spent on the beach is when in practice and in mini game rounds. The rest of the action takes place inside an open bar. The feeling of playing on an island instead of in a pool hall still prevails, and fortunately does not eclipse the game’s main focus.

This goes for the graphics and gameplay. Everything on the table is crisp. Balls glisten under the scorching sunlight and the surroundings respectfully bow behind. Day/night cycles and wandering dodoes supply extra eye tidbits and that is that. It takes a little while to become comfortable, but making only the player’s hands visible as opposed to the entire torso, was a good move. Incorporating the torso would have required more graphic animating and could have been an easy distraction. Besides, it keeps the sometimes choppy hand motions from embarrassment.

The variety of music tracks is a perfect mix of mellow and tense. If time is going to vanish from sight, there should just as well be addictive music and realistic sound effects to listen to.

Physics are on the ball when force and alignment correlate in pocketing. Depending on the style of pool being played, a lot of “gamble” shots are left to chance. Fist-grasping moments are sure to ensue as the cue ball teeters on the edge of the pocket. It is hard to blame your faults on a game that replicates the nerve-racking sensation of the real deal.

Outside the Japan-only Pool Edge, Pool Paradise is a lone cue on the Gamecube and we can all live with that. For the price, pool connoisseurs will be in a place far better than paradise - heaven. As for everyone else, Pool Paradise is like any tropical island getaway, it is great to escape to from time to time but you won’t find yourself wanting to stay forever.


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Last updated: Wednesday, May 30, 2007 10:02 PM