Track: Shoe's Pool Hall
Garage Settings: 1500 med tires/soft suspension
Lap time: 1:56
Music: Friends in Low Places by Garth Brooks
Indulge us momentarily while we borrow a quote from the Jan 2001 review of HotShoe's, The Sandbox: "…he's an artist, the "Leonardo da Vinci" of the 21st century!! Hehe-ok so most of you out there may not be familiar with da Vinci's work, but trust me, he was like...really, really GOOD!
" We could stop this review right here and call it a wrap since that excerpt summed things up reasonably well with respect to HotShoe's abilities. However, we'll forge ahead, mostly because Shoe's Pool Hall warrants much more attention, but also because of the contractual agreements between MTMG and the Expo 2003 contestants, which clearly state that if track reviews aren't at least 500 words in length, someone's gonna get slapped with a hefty lawsuit…namely Phin and Mal since they're the owners lol. The assisting judges-Drive2Survive, Winterkill, RobbyH14, ReplicaFan, ZooN and the rest of the gang all agreed to those terms, especially since we would be absolved of all wrongdoing. There's a lesson to be learned here (we think), but we'll forego venturing down that road and get on with this review lol.
The name of this track pretty much describes what you would expect to see-a pool hall with all the trimmings. The tricky part was taking such a concept and making it into a track, and on top of that, making it into a track that was fun to race on. Shoe, as expected, succeeded on both counts, and convincingly so. The race begins on a pool table (shocking, huh lol) and after a short straight run, a quick left onto a platform that culminates into a jump, you land on a table top en route to checkpoint two. It's at this point you'll see the short drop-off to the cluster of pool sticks that form a ramp. It was at this point one of the judges let out a "ooooh, ahhhhh
", so we knew we knew we were in for a treat! Your reaction may be slightly different, but still those pool sticks set the tone for what was to come, and as you continue on through the track, you'll not be disappointed-at all. The variety Shoe's thrown in, which includes acute turns, jumps, drop-offs, and even a trip thru and overhead heating duct puts this track right up there with his all-time best. Moreover, if you're familiar with Shoe's track making history, you know he's not confined to a specific style or pattern-he can do it all. It comes as no surprise he's where he is today with respect to the kind of work he's able to produce. His incomparable flair for creating visually stunning tracks with exceptional layouts is something to be admired and enjoyed.
Shoe stepped out of his comfort zone and tried his hand at creating 3D models for the first time, and his credits include the pool sticks, the overhead heater duct, the pockets on the pool table, and the animated beer tap. The workmanship is quite impressive, particularly for a first-timer. We did notice what could be deemed a flaw with the heater duct. This photo
represents a point where the direction of the duct is changing, and it appears that his efforts to piece it together in an attempt to provide for a seamless transition came up a bit short. It kinda looks like he got in there with some scrap pieces and a tube of Super Glue actually, but hey...that's just our impression lol. Fortunately it doesn't impact the racing one iota. In fact, you'll be traveling thru there at a fairly respectable rate of speed, so most racers probably won't even notice it. We kinda lucked up on the find during testing when that piece-of-junk hummer legwon made for the Expo broke down shortly after entering the duct, and we ended up walking the rest of the way. Let me tell ya, ZooN and Winterkill were less than thrilled to put it mildly, but hey, that's another story lol. Moving on, we're not sure what this
is exactly (microwave or electric oven), but its width compared to the narrow passageway you're afforded en route to checkpoint five could definitely create problems. HotShoe didn't customize the collision properties of this model from the side
, but fortunately it doesn't hinder a racer's progression thru that area…provided he or she maintains the proper line. Worth noting is you have the option of jumping off to the right coming off the pool stick ramp and going behind
this model as well. In doing so we hope you realize that you'll be passing up the opportunity to grab a mouthful of the frothy stuff when you pass by the flowing tap lol. If you happen to be under the age of 21…keep to the right, please lol. If you're a free-roamer and you're cruising around on the floor, be prepared for a sudden seatbelt check because from what we can tell, ole HotShoe got lazy on us and didn't customize the collision properties on a couple of models. Consequently, you can't pass underneath the stools
and you'll run into the invisible portions of the jukebox
where the yellow lines are drawn in this picture. This next observation concerns the legs on the larger table-they become transparent in places. It's more noticeable when driving on the floor. You would have to be looking for it driving the course as it's laid out. Also, several of the beer mugs
were not properly set. Finally, if you start the track with any weather setting other than clear or cloudy the game will crash with a "<a href="http://mtm2.com/~mtmg/errors.cgi?e=46" target="_blank">too many headlights</a>" error. This error is a result of HotShoe having assigned many of the billiard balls to the "moving" object type (so they wouldn't sink through the table top). As soon as any truck lights are rendered, the crash occurs due to the abundance of lights already in use by these "moving" (train) objects. The wordaround for this would have been to use a clear weather mask - which wouldn't have been unreasonable given that the track is indoors. On a related note, if you do not have the <a href="http://mtm2.com/~mtmg/downloads/mtm2/game/FixMore2.zip" target="_self">Fixmore</a> pod mounted, you will be surrounded by the incessant sound of blaring train horns emanating from these same objects.
Needless to say there's nothing technically traumatic about Shoe's Pool Hall that could possibly inhibit a great time. True to form, HotShoe has cranked out yet another winner. His innovativeness and creativity are unmatched, thus we expecting nothing less than a superb effort on his part. Excellent job, Shoe-very well done!