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Side Pocket

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Insipid electronic lounge sounds are an integral component of Side Pocket (for Genesis), which presents American pool halls as a series of squeaky-clean (no beer stains on the felt here), nonconfrontational venues where your sole objective is to play pool — and not, say, impress your date with how many shots of tequila you can down in five minutes. Embodying this utilitarian approach is the game’s hyper-realistic, overhead-angle table display — not as realistic, unfortunately, is its follow-the-dotted-line aiming system, which allows you to hit the cue ball in only about half a dozen places. An extensive trick-shot menu — apparently meant to compensate for this glaring limitation — is intriguing, but completely superfluous. B-

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