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Poolmaster 1.0

I remember as a kid how much I lusted for my neighbor's pool table. "We just can't afford it," said Dad, with a sad shake of his head. I was forced to visit local pool halls and play for loose change and a little glory.

Well, OK, my life as a wanna-be hustler wasn't quite that tragic. But I wanted a pool table so bad I could taste the felt. Luckily, now I can have one, and without worrying about leaving cue-stick marks on the ceiling. Poolmaster from Micro Amusement is about as real as billiards gets without actually having a table.

Balls carom around the table like the real thing, and even make a satisfying "click" as they bounce off one another. But note: Even on my 50MHz 486DX, the balls can move jerkily. Worse, the game is lacking some basic features, like playing against your computer, or playing against a human over a network. There also doesn't seem to be an automatic scoring feature.

Despite these drawbacks, I've spent literally hours with Poolmaster. Who knows? It might even improve my real-life game. Paul Newman, watch out. List price: $39.95. Micro Amusement Corporation, 800/932-6567.

-- Joe DeRouen

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