Side Pocket (NES)

Side Pocket Box Art

Side Pocket

System: NES

Release Date: November 1987

Developer: Data East

Publisher: Data East

Genre: Sports

Do you like billiards? Sure you do, as do I. So fire up a game of Side Pocket. The goal is simple, play a solo game of billiards and advance from the City Class through to the World Class. You play a six ball pocket game, followed by a nine ball pocket game, and then a ten ball pocket game before it loops. Don’t miss a lot of shots, because you only have a certain amount of misses before you lose.

A normal shot that I’m going to miss.

Between rounds, you have a chance at a bonus shot that will give you an extra miss if you sink it. Afterward, you find yourself with a lady who either loves you if you win, or shuns you if you lose. If you happened to get enough points to move to the next ranking, you have to sink a special challenge shot or you fail. I couldn’t beat the trick shot to beat the U.S.A. level, despite doing the only thing that made sense, so I quit.

She loves a winner.

You have to aim where you want to hit. Then you have to set the level of draw, follow, masse, and left or right English on your shot. Once you have that all set, you have to set your power. You don’t always want to just shoot at maximum power, because that won’t let you hit the angles you want. Hell, not even setting the angle to what looks right will let you hit the angle you want. The aiming is poor and makes the game less fun than I would like it to be.

The shot I gave up on.

Every once in awhile, you get a notification that the Super Ball is active. If you hit the ball, the table turns into a zero friction board from Lunar Pool. The balls that are hit keep moving until they all go into the pockets or you scratch. Entertaining, but not really helpful. There’s also a nine ball mode. But that’s for two players and I am only one, so I can’t comment on it.

Graphics: 1.5

The billiards table doesn’t look awful and you can tell what the balls are supposed to be.

Sound: 1.0

I don’t have much nice to say about the sound. The looping song is annoying.

Gameplay: 1.5

This isn’t great, by any means. I feel like the aiming is off of what it should be.

Difficulty: 1.5

The difficulty is average. It’s not like you’re playing against anyone, just don’t miss too much.

Fun Factor: 1.5

It’s billiards, but it’s not super fun.

Overall Grade: 1.4

Side Pocket earns a D+. You can skip this one and not be missing out on much.

Side Pocket Video Review on YouTube