Put simply, there are more choices in this game than there is the probability of you or me scoring a 147 break after 10 pints of lager and for that reason the latest incarnation of World Championship Snooker is a game for the beginners and experts alike who like to watch or play snooker.
It’s not necessarily the choices that you can make within the game, but the choices of games that you can play that make this game a good snooker sim. In game and on the cue ball you can screw, spin, and swerve to your hearts content, change the power settings and basically perform any shot that you so desire (or more likely, any shot that you have the skills to pull off).
If that wasn’t enough to get snooker gamers excited you can also implement different views- top down and down the cue- set guides so you can see whether your chosen pot is likely to be on target and where the cue ball is going to head off to, or chose to skip viewing the opponents play- something which is advisable as they normally take their time.
Away from the game play and Codemasters, the game’s publishers, has made sure there is plenty of choice to keep you going till the next version next year. The game is broken down into different areas:
Straight Snooker where you can play a match, set up your own custom tournament or opt in for some coaching. The coaching voiced by John Virgo is very comprehensive and sets you targets to reach to improve your game, what sets this apart from your average tutorial is that the coaching adapts to your game play and every shot you make, miss the ball and rather than simply telling you so and then resetting itself, it tells you’ve failed that task and then sets you up for another depending on where the cue balls ended up.
Once you think you’ve mastered the controls you can opt to pit your wits against one of the 30+ computer controlled players or your mates in the LG tour where you get to play in championship including The LG Cup, British Open, UK Championships, European Open, Welsh Open, Irish Masters, Player's Championship, and The Masters among others.
Of course if you’ve completed The LG tour (although you don’t have to) you can follow in the footsteps of the likes of Steve Davis and command a position in the world of pool and the game supports both eight-ball and nine-ball versions complete with pub scenery in which to play it.
For the most part you would presume that this would surely be all the game would be willing to offer, however your presumption would be wrong for World Championship Snooker 2004 isn’t finished with you yet. There’s still the Trickshot mode with John Virgo to master and unlock, the bonus games like Against the Clock and Countdown where you get a set time per shot to play and then the classic games of the past to compete in where you have to fulfil tasks like win the final frame of the Dennis Taylor versus Steve Davis Final in 1985.
Graphics on the table are great as you would expect - after all it’s only balls moving around on a green table in spite of the complex physics behind the scenes. While Codemasters has tried to adhere this look to the players themselves, the characters do look a bit blocky and sketchy at times. If you’re lucky they will even walk through the table to play the best shot.
While this won't necessarily grab the First Person Shooter fan looking for that quick kill, it will appeal to anyone who enjoys watching or playing snooker. Like the real-life game itself, the experience is one to be savoured rather than one where you spend 20 minutes on the edge of your seat. World Championship Snooker 2004's a highly polished title with the occasional visual glitch, but that doesn't detract from our score or your enjoyment. Next year we'll have to tell you whether it's worth buying all over again, but top marks for this version.