It sounds trite, but it's the truth: how much you enjoy Virtual Snooker depends mainly on how much interest you have in real snooker.
That's because Virtual Snooker uses the exact same interface and graphics engine as its award-winning predecessor, Virtual Pooland since Virtual Pool was a tour de force in playability, you can expect the same excellence here. You couldn't ask for a better interface for a pool game: how hard you hit the cue ball is determined by pulling back the mouse and then pushing it forward, emulating the motion of a pool cue. The only difference is that you're playing an entirely different type of billiardsgood news for snooker fans, but of little or no importance for those who couldn't care less about this pool variation.
But even if you only suspect that you might be interested in snooker, this is probably the best way to get started. Virtual Snooker includes a comprehensive tutorial to acquaint you with all the basic snooker rules and terminology (why do they call it "potting a ball?"), as well as video clips of six-time world snooker champion Steve Davis that do an excellent job of teaching you the finer points of the game, from how English affects the cue ball and object ball, to how to set up consecutive shots (positional play).
Also included on the CD is video footage of Steve Davis pulling off the first-ever televised 147 break, roughly the snooker equivalent of a 300 score in bowling. That clip alone is a tutorial in itself because it shows you the ideal way to play the game.
Where Virtual Snooker disappoints is in its lack of variety (Virtual Pool offered many types of games; snooker's all that's available here) and the absence of any noticeable improvements over the graphics in Virtual Pool. The ball and table graphics are untextured polygons, which are great for smooth animation, but a letdown when you consider that the only changes from Virtual Pool regard rules, table size, and ball colors.
Still, Virtual Snooker plays just as smoothly as Virtual Pool, with the same multi-player options (modem and network play) that gave that game such a long shelflife. If you're looking to play this classic style of billiards on your PC, Virtual Snooker's the only game in town.