Jimmy White`s Whirlwind Snooker


Snooker! Thrbb! Arenchasickofit?

There's more snooker on the telly than there are adverts, plus the snooker-celebrity quiz shows to boot. Where will it all end? Here, possibly.

Do the double! Using the computer plyer's ability, you can find out the correct angle and power you need to pull off a master stroke time and time again

Buried deep within Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker, there's a help screen which tells you exactly what does what. Manuals? Ha! They're a thing of the past.

This game, as Hurricane Higgins might say, is not to be sneezed at. Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker is the work of programmer Archer MacLean, previously known for his kung-fu masterpiece lK+.

Facing stiff competition from Fire- bird's 3D Pool, you'd think there was nothing new you could add to a snooker game. You'd be wrong. JW's Whirlwind Snooker has its pockets stuffed with neat tricks which set it rest and spider abode the competition.

In the one-player game, you select one of four computer-controlled players. They have different abilities, so you can pick a level of skill to suit your own.
However, even Tom (the wimpiest player) is a real crack shot who spends all of two seconds planning, lining up and then potting you into oblivion. It's marvelous to watch, but demoralising when you get thrashed. Pick a two- human-player game if you're a beginner. At least you know both players are equally crappy.

No, you haven't been overdoing it with the Snooker Party animals and you haven't gone overboard with the magic mushrooms either. The balls in Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker have a lively personality all of their own. If you should take too long deciding on your shot, you're treated to a right royal ribbing by the nearest balls on the table, who take enormous pleasure in putting you off your next shot. Never mind though, you've got the remedy for their jibes. A good hard whack on the head with a five-foot length of stick should shut them up before they make too much fuss!

• It's been a very long, hard evening
here at the Crucible Theatre tonight.
The players are tired and emotional,
and... Oh good- ness! What on
earth's going on here then?

• Now stop that before you blimmin'
start. I've been pretty close to
Yellow for a year now, and I'm
not about to let you come along
and knock her around.

• And you needn't think you can
sneak up behind me and knock
me sideways, either. I wasn't born
yesterday. Yar boo, and sucks to you!

Before you can break, you must position the cue ball. This is done by dragging it with the mouse pointer, any- where within the D. You can then add topspin for that extra roll-on, or a bit of side to curl the ball like a pro. You do this with the icons at the top or side of the screen. A small black cross shows the impact point of the cue on the ball, and it's a lot easier to read than a real cue ball.

Gentlemen, it's time to place your
balls. Breaking means you need to
get properly set up before cueing,
so you can drag the cue ball around
for your favourite opening shot.

When you're happy with positioning, the angle of your cue and the top/stun/side or spin, it's time to chalk your cue tip and whack the sucker. Various strengths of shot can be applied, with stunningly realistic results. As ball strikes ball, you notice the fluid movement which makes JW's Whirlwind Snooker so cool. You'd think you were looking at a real table, with real balls. Nothing jerks, nothing slows down or moves erratically. Balls cannon around, gradually tailing off as they run out of steam. Spectacular!

VERDICT: Strangely, it's not just the smoothness and realism which makes it a ''must have'' game. Nor is it the Jimmy White licence (it could be Fatima Whit- bread's Snooker - I'd still want it!) It's what happens when you leave it alone. If you take too long deciding a shot, then one of several things happens. Flies descend onto the table and flit about on your balls (ooer!), or the balls start pulling ugly faces at you, or waving placards. No, really!

The Trick Shot editor in Jimmy White's Whirlwind Snooker is a complete sub-game for you to experiment with. Just like an "off night'' in the Crucible, you can sneak back to the table and set up shots that would give Newtonian physicists a headache.

Balls can be dragged around the table to any position you choose, and the computer player can be called upon to do the aiming for you. AIl you need to do is call your mum in as you nonchalantly plug the cue ball. Sneaky or what?

• Reckon you could pot black without touching the reds?
Ludicrous shots like this are easy to set up with the Trick Shot Editor.

• Aiming and examining the balls is usually where most
snooker games fall down. Not this one. Everything can be
scrolled around in all directions by mouse. You can zoom in
and out and reposition at the touch of a button.

JW's Whirlwind Snooker is enhanced by some excellent sound effects, too. Crowds clap and cheer when you pot a ball, the cue sounds perfect and the crack of ball against ball is, well, overwhelming. You can smell the beer and fags and the musty scent of the Hexagon (almost). Even when you miscue, the "twank" of your cue announces the fact to all and sundry, just like for real. It's embarrassing, really.

So, if you're bored with snooker, you're either watching too much non- interactive telly, or you're not playing this. It's more enthralling than a Steve Davis 147 break, weirder than Dennis Taylor's glasses and funnier than Ray Reardon's haircut. Get it now, but beware, you might have to "cue" for ages (groan...)


Virgin 24.99
  • Smoother ball motion than both 3D Pool and Billiards 2 Simulator
  • High giggle-factor, previously unseen in snooker games
  • Tough computer players make for exciting and challenging gameplay
  • Trick Shot Editor and Save options make for better value for money


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Page last updated: 28 July 2011
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