A hush descends as Typhoon steps up to the green-baized screen, the pearl buttons on his purple waistcoat twinkling in the light from the VDU. He has to pot this one if he's to win the championship for the tenth successive year. Carefully moving his joystick, he lines up the black for the entire pocket and fires it in.
Now you too can live our your favourite pool daydream in the privacy of your own home with Hustler, a splendid game from newcomers Bubble Bus.
There are three one-player and three two-player games, though you can play all six by yourself. The one-player choices are potting any ball in any pocket, potting the numbered balls in order, and potting each numbered ball in its numbered pocket.
The two-player games are potting the balls in their numbered pockets, six ball pool, and the players potting the balls in a different order. Each game is refereed by the computer, which gives scores, penalty points and free shots.
The game opens with the Pot Black theme followed by the game option menu.
The appropriate balls are set up in place ready for the start. A small white cross acts as your cue sight. You have to move your joystick (or use the function keys) to position the cross on the point where you wish your cue ball to strike. That's the relatively easy part.
Down at the bottom of the screen is a bar which acts as a power indicator. The bar expands to the right and when at its limit, immediately clears and starts again. To activate the cue ball, you must press the fire button (or space key) at the right moment.
Although the edges of the balls are a little bit ragged, they move smoothly and are as true in their behaviour as you could expect. The sound of the balls colliding is more electronic than the satisfying clunk of real balls. Nevertheless, these are small flaws in what is an otherwise splendid program.
One rather good idea is that by pressing the Restore key at any time, you can get back to the menu.
A very good and enjoyable simulation of a mini-pool game. We shall be hearing more of Bubble Bus.