Jimmy White's 2: Cueball

Jimmy White's 2: Cueball is a snooker and pool simulation video game developed by Awesome Developments and published by Virgin Interactive as a sequel to Jimmy White's 'Whirlwind' Snooker. It was originally released in 1999 for Windows and Dreamcast. A PlayStation version was released in 2000 in Europe and North America, distributed and released by Bay Area Multimedia. Archer MacLean, the designer of the original game, led the development team. The game also includes many other mini-games connected with a pub setting. A Game Boy Color version of the game was also released in 2000. A sequel to Cueball, called Jimmy White's Cueball World, was released in Europe for the PC in 2001. The game received mixed reviews from critics, with the PC and Dreamcast versions faring better than the PlayStation port.

Jimmy White's 2: Cueball
Jimmy White's 2 - Cueball Coverart.png
Developer(s)Awesome Developments
Vicarious Visions (Game Boy Color)
Publisher(s)Virgin Interactive
Vatical Entertainment (Game Boy Color)
Designer(s)Archer MacLean
Composer(s)Allister Brimble
Platform(s)Microsoft Windows, Dreamcast, PlayStation, Game Boy Color
ReleaseWindows
  • EU: April 1999
Dreamcast
  • EU: 7 January 2000
PlayStation
  • PAL: 7 April 2000
  • NA: 15 November 2000
Game Boy Color
Genre(s)Sports (snooker and pool)
Mode(s)Single-player, multiplayer

GameplayEdit

Gameplay is derived from a pool hall. The player can move between the main hallway, the snooker room, and the pool room.[1] They can leave the game they were playing, and walk around the room, and begin other games without ending the earlier game they were playing.[2] Cueball features a "BeeCam" option, which can be activated at any time. It follows an animated bee flying around the rooms serving as a cutscene to view the entire room. In the two games rooms, it has multiple routes.[2] The player can explore the in-game world, referred to as "Jimmy White's House", which the in-game manual describes as "a mock-up of the kind of house Jimmy White probably lives in."[2] The game features single-player and local multi-player.[2]

A number of features from Whirlwind Snooker were improved upon for Cueball, most notably the graphical engine.[3] The game uses a 3D accelerator card enabling the player to peruse the table and the entire snooker or pool room.[4] The shadows and reflections of the balls are rendered in much more detail, as are the cushions and pockets. The computer player (represented by a pair of disembodied hands in white gloves) can be viewed from any angle while taking a shot; these hands also visibly replace the coloured and cue ball once potted.[5]

 
The in-game "floating hands" of the opponent/umpire flips a coin for the first to break.

Numerous items within the snooker and pool rooms are interactive. Some of them, such as the dartboard and draughts table, are mini-games.[6] An arcade machine in the pool room features a fully playable version of Dropzone, one of Archer MacLean's earliest games.[7] The pool room is a bar / diner featuring a jukebox and fruit machine. The game has a full classical soundtrack that can be controlled by the jukebox.[3]

The game, like its predecessor, features comic elements.[8] Should the computer player lay a particularly nasty snooker, an evil laugh is heard.[8] Taking too long over a shot will send the computer player into a fit of sarcastic coughing.[8] A soundbite of Homer Simpson exclaiming "D'oh!" is heard when a player pockets the cue-ball.[9]

DevelopmentEdit

A small team known as Awesome Developments, which would later become UTV Ignition Games, began developing Cueball in 1997. The game was originally made to be promoted by a different publisher; however, they wanted an association football game, rather than one designed around snooker. This publisher would later be assimilated into Electronic Arts. Virgin Interactive became the project's next publisher with a Game Boy Color version of the game published by Vatical Entertainment, and developed by Vicarious Visions.[10]

With the PC version of the game reaching over 300 megabytes, Vicarious Visions team created a two-dimensional Game Boy Color demo for the game with a much smaller size. Awesome Development's lead, Archer MacLean, commented that he had received an email regarding the Game Boy Color game: "We've run out of sprites on the Game Boy. Do you think anyone in Englandshire will know if the Snooker game is played with only 9 reds??" The game was later released a year after the PC release, along with other console ports of the game.[10] Allister Brimble composed the game's soundtrack.[11]

ReceptionEdit

Reception
Aggregate score
AggregatorScore
GameRankingsPC: 80%[12]
PlayStation: 53%[13]
Dreamcast: 80%[14]
Review scores
PublicationScore
IGNPlayStation: 2.5/10[15]
PSX NationPlayStation: 66%[16]
Computer and Video Games UK     [17]
Dreamcast Monthly UKDreamcast: 80%[18]

Jimmy White's 2: Cueball received mixed reviews from critics, with the PC and Dreamcast versions faring better than the PlayStation port.[12][13][14] David Zdyrko writing for IGN called the game "painful", saying the game "lost a lot in its transition" to the PlayStation but reviewed the PC version positively.[15] PSX Nation's J.M. Vargas was less critical, scoring the PlayStation game at 66/100, with the reviewer enjoying the music and mini-games.[16]

Whilst reviewing the Dreamcast version of the game, Eurogamer called it "a highly polished and playable" cue sports simulator.[3] The reviewer did prefer the pool simulation over the snooker, which the game is published under, noting that whilst the pool mode was fun the snooker was "a little too tricky for casual play".[3] Now Gamer! was more critical of the Dreamcast version, calling the game "far from fun and enjoyable to play".[4] They did comment on the soundtrack saying "the music is equally classical and fitting for the location".[4]

Reviewing the Dreamcast version, Computer and Video Games said "as snooker games go, this is the best you'll find".[17] UK Magazine Dreamcast Monthly called it "excellent" and a good pick for people looking for a snooker or pool game, despite not being "cutting edge entertainment."[18] In reviewing the Game Boy Color release Video Game Magazine commented that whilst it was a good representation of the sport, the game's assets were "colorless and are also lovelessly animated".[19] They also commented that it suffered from game crashes but was still a suitable representation of the sport.[19] The Daily Telegraph reviewed the original World Snooker Championship game, commenting that whilst the game was a good snooker representation, Cueball 2, released 10 years prior was a "far more varied and interesting" game, and was "superior" "in every respect".[20]

SequelsEdit

A sequel to the game, originally announced at E3 in 2001,[21] known as Jimmy White's Cueball World, was released exclusively for the PC in 2001.[22] Jimmy White would later put his name to pool video game Pool Paradise in 2004,[23] and Jimmy White's Snooker Legend in 2008.[24]

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Video: Video Games". The Independent. Archived from the original on 3 September 2018. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d Jimmy White's 2 Cueball manual. Virgin Interactive.
  3. ^ a b c d "Jimmy White's 2: Cueball The ultimate Pub simulation?". Eurogamer. 7 April 2000. Archived from the original on 6 July 2020. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  4. ^ a b c "Jimmy White 2: Cueball Review". Now Gamer!. 24 September 1998. Archived from the original on 3 April 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  5. ^ Yaz, Eight. "Dreamcast Billiard: Jimmy White's 2: Cueball". PlayerOne (in French). 102 (November 1999): 133. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  6. ^ "Freeloader.com Sign Major Publishing Deal with Virgin Interactive". Game Zone. 31 March 2000. Archived from the original on 3 April 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  7. ^ "Just released: Jimmy White's 2: Cueball". Arcade UK 13. December 1999. p. 101. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  8. ^ a b c "Jimmy White's 2: Cueball" (PDF). Dreamcast Monthly. 3: 60–61. December 1999. Archived (PDF) from the original on 9 June 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  9. ^ "A game with a special special mix of games..." GameSpot. Archived from the original on 3 April 2018. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  10. ^ a b Maclean, Archer (2006). "The Bug Report - Musings from the mind of Maclean". Retro Gamer. 22 (March): 12. Archived from the original on 3 September 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  11. ^ Brimble, Allister. "Portfolio" (PDF). AllisterBrimble.com. self-published. Archived (PDF) from the original on 11 December 2017. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Jimmy White's 2: Cueball [PC]". GameRankings. Archived from the original on 12 September 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  13. ^ a b "Jimmy White's 2: Cueball [PS]". GameRankings. Archived from the original on 10 September 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  14. ^ a b "Jimmy White's 2: Cueball [Dreamcast]". GameRankings. Archived from the original on 12 September 2015. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  15. ^ a b Zdyrko, David. "Jimmy White's 2: Cueball Review". IGN UK. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  16. ^ a b Vargas, J.M. "Jimmy White's 2: Cueball PS1 Review". PSX Nation. Archived from the original on 26 June 2003. Retrieved 11 December 2017.
  17. ^ a b "Jimmy White's 2 Cueball Review". Computer & Video Games UK Magazine (217). December 1999. p. 74. Archived from the original on 7 August 2017.
  18. ^ a b "Jimmy White's 2: Cueball Review". Dreamcast Monthly (3). 2000. p. 65. Archived from the original on 9 August 2017.
  19. ^ a b "Video Games Magazine". Video Game Magazine (in German). 1 March 2001. p. 46. Archived from the original on 16 September 2015. Retrieved 29 August 2018.
  20. ^ "World Championship Snooker". The Daily Telegraph. 6 July 2000. Archived from the original on 27 February 2016. Retrieved 3 September 2018.
  21. ^ "E3 2001 – Virgin Interactive". Eurogamer. 20 May 2001. Archived from the original on 10 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.
  22. ^ "Jimmy White's Cueball World". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 12 December 2017. Retrieved 12 December 2017.
  23. ^ "Pool Paradise Company Line". GameSpot. Archived from the original on 18 October 2012. Retrieved 20 July 2006.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link)
  24. ^ "Jimmy White Snooker Legend Review". Pocket Gamer. Archived from the original on 11 January 2018. Retrieved 10 January 2018.

External linksEdit