Ah, that’s a bad miss…
The DS is a great example of Nintendo’s unique method to advance the gaming industry: not by improving graphics, but by inventing new ways to play. This means Championship Snooker is potentially a very exciting concept because, as well as bringing more ball action to your pocket, the DS’ touch screen and stylus could theoretically give a totally realistic experience. However, while the game is good fun at first, it soon loses its edge by failing to take full advantage of this system’s unique capabilities.
Of course, any old pillock can grab his stick and start smacking some balls around, but it normally takes a little more skill to actually score. Fortunately, the game gives you as much help as you could wish for when it comes to understanding the science behind the sport. As well as indicating which directions the red and white will roll upon impact, it even shades the area where the white will eventually stop, helping you to line up your next shot. This may make the game sound simple enough, though you still need to design your own strategy and there is always plenty of room for mistakes.
Visually, everything on the table looks perfectly smooth. Meanwhile, everything off the table looks a little Lego-ed, particularly the players. But this is no great surprise as it has always been the innovative game play that wins out over the DS’ graphical capability. Unfortunately, the greatest disappointment is that Championship Snooker fails to utilise most of the handheld’s innovative features.
While the first few rounds seem exciting and teach you a lot more about the game, you soon realise that every shot is only testing your ability to point an arrow in the right direction
Admittedly, the dual-screen format is used efficiently, simultaneously giving a top down view as well as a closer shot of the table, with a free-roaming camera that can switch focus between the cue ball and your target. Unfortunately, the touch-screen could have been used a lot more effectively. You’re allowed a little fun with the stylus, taking your own shots by swinging a 2-D cue rather than watching your character do it all for you. However, the game could have been a lot more interesting and required a little more skill if the strength of your shot was actually related to the speed you move the stylus. Instead, a separate pre-set meter determines the power, denying this element of realism that the DS could have easily offered.
In addition, the wireless multiplayer capability is completely ignored, meaning every match will always be against the same computer opponent. This can make the game wall-slammingly annoying as it only takes one slight mistake to send the computer on a potting spree that immediately costs you the title. And special guest commentator John Virgo does nothing more than rack up the torture. It seems even his vast wardrobe of novelty waistcoats couldn’t prevent some of Jim Davidson’s annoyance rubbing off on him as he uses the same repetitive phrases to continuously praise even the flukiest of the computer’s shots. Whenever the match takes such a turn, you may as well make a cup of tea or, better yet, start over, because no matter how frustrated you become, there is no button to creep up behind your cocky opponent and shove your cue in his brown spot.
If Virgo had one positive influence, it would be the trick shot challenges that appear at the end of each tournament. However, this occasional burst of excitement is not enough to save the Championship Snooker from ultimate tediousness. While the first few rounds seem exciting and teach you a lot more about the game, you soon realise that every shot is only testing your ability to point an arrow in the right direction, during matches that last for an eye-straining length. And with three rounds to a tournament and nine tournaments to win, patience and determination are the real skills you’ll need to master if you ever hope to lift that final trophy!
The Bad: It soon becomes tedious by failing to take full advantage of everything the DS has to offer