Virtual Pool 2

(VR Sports) cd-rom

Billed as the ultimate 3D pool simulator, seeks to bring the tension and excitement of top-class pool to the PC.

Every type of pool you can possibly imagine is here, from straight pool to One Pocket. Players can choose between single matches, full tournaments and practising trick shots, and opponents can be either computer generated or human. There's even an Internet option for remote play, and, for those who wish to brush up on their technique, there are instructional videos featuring Mike Sigel.

For any pool or snooker simulator to work, the movement of the balls has to be realistic. If the developers get it wrong, the game can end up feeling completely artificial. Well, the developers of this game, Celeris, can give themselves a pat on the back because they've done a fantastic job in this regard. The graphics aren't great, but the animation is so smooth and so accurate that you can almost convince yourself you're playing a real game of pool. The weight of the shots feels just right and spin shots produce the results you expect.

The only problem with this game is that it's completely pointless. There doesn't seem any obvious advantage to playing pool on a computer rather than on a real table, and it feels quite unnatural.

If you really want a pool simulator, then this is the one to have. Why you would want one is a mystery, but the decision is yours.

On release, pounds 29.99

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