When designing a military flight simulator, programmers have a certain leeway in reproducing the physical properties of the aircraft and its surroundings. After all, only a lucky few have ever actually flown a real F-16, so no one will notice if the plane doesn't capture the precise "feel" of its real world counterpart. Unfortunately, the designers of Virtual Pool do not have this luxury. Since all of us have held a cue stick at least once in our lives, Interplay has to ensure that the table physics are 100 percent accurate in order to suspend our disbelief.
To this end, the Celeris design team employed mathematicians and physicists to ensure absolute realism. As a direct result of their meticulous attention to detail, Virtual Pool succeeds in reproducing every possible nuance of the game. In fact, Interplay claims that the physics are so accurate that it will actually improve your real-life pool game - or your money back!
Of course, outstanding physics are useless without a control scheme that allows you to actually take advantage of them. Fortunately, Virtual Pool utilizes one of the most elegant and responsive interfaces ever created for a computer game. By providing a direct link between the mouse and the motion of the onscreen cue stick, Virtual Pool allows you to recreate all the draw, English, and spin you would apply to an actual cue ball. All you have to do is line up the shot, pull back on the mouse, and then stoke forward as you would a genuine pool stick. By moving the mouse gently, you can make smooth and accurate shots. If you roll the mouse with force, you can send the onscreen balls careening off the rails. This direct interface is so convincing that you can almost feel the contact with the ball.
Once you have mastered the art of the cue, you can challenge one of the nine computerized competitors to a game of 8-ball, 9-ball, or straight pool. In addition, numerous multiplayer options allow you to hustle a friend using the same machine, or even remotely via modem or IPX network.
Virtual Pool is like a real pool table crammed onto a tiny CD. The accurate treatment of table physics not only duplicates the mechanics of pool, but also the intuitive interface replicates the elusive "feel" of the game - which is the highest praise that can be awarded to any simulation.