Minnesota Fats: Pool Legend

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Minnesota Fats: Pool Legend
Minnesota Fats Pool Legend cover.jpg
Genesis cover art.
Developer(s) Data East
Publisher(s) Data East
Composer(s) Masaaki Iwasaki
Taihei Sato
Seiji Momoi
Shogo Sakai
Series Side Pocket
Platform(s) Sega Genesis
Sega Saturn
Release Sega Genesis
Sega Saturn
  • NA: 1995
  • JP: March 31, 1995
Genre(s) Cue sports
Mode(s) Single-player
(up to 2 players)

Minnesota Fats: Pool Legend (released in Japan as Side Pocket 2 (Japanese: サイドポケット2, Hepburn: Saido Poketto 2)) is a pocket billiards video game for the Sega Genesis and Sega Saturn, featuring famed billiards player Minnesota Fats (as portrayed in "real-life" form by Rudolf Wanderone). It was released as a sequel to Data East's earlier success, Side Pocket. The objective in the game is to defeat AI-controlled competitors. The player can also take on another human player in order to prove his worthiness at the pool table.

The Saturn version of the game largely plays the same as the Genesis version, but includes a training mode, a short documentary on Minnesota Fats, and a completely different plot in the story mode. In the Genesis version the player takes the role of an unnamed rookie pool player seeking to challenge Minnesota Fats, while in the Saturn version the player takes the role of Minnesota Fats himself, and live action full motion videos (FMVs) are used for the cutscenes.


As was typical of live action FMV in video games, the cutscenes in the Saturn version were shot on a minimal budget. Some of the opponents were portrayed by staff from Data East's marketing department.[2]


Tommy Glide of GamePro gave the Genesis version a generally negative review. While he praised the "authentic" sound effects and the story mode, he commented that the overhead view makes the balls look small and flat, all the available music tracks are elevator music, and the controls are imprecise.[1] A reviewer for Next Generation, in contrast, said Minnesota Fats improved upon the already excellent original Side Pocket by adding new modes and the ability to play eight-ball, "the staple of any pool game that was mysteriously absent in the original." He added that the cue-ball shaped cursor is more accurate, the physics are more realistic, and the opponent AI, while prone to making miraculous shots and missing easy ones, provides an overall decent challenge. He deemed it "easily the best pool game for a home system - though it still can't beat a smokey bar", and gave it 3 out of 5 stars.[3]

On release, Famicom Tsūshin scored the Sega Saturn version of the game at 28 out of 40.[4] GamePro's Captain Squideo panned the game, calling it "a slow, plodding CD with clumsy controls." He particularly criticized that shots which would be easy to make in real life often don't come off in the game, and that the graphics are restricted to a single view with no close-ups or switchable camera points. The review made some odd errors: it refers to the original Side Pocket as a Sega CD game, and states that the story mode climaxes in a duel with Minnesota Fats (true of the Genesis version, but not the Saturn version).[5] Next Generation also panned this version in a brief review published over a year after the game, summarizing it as "some poorly written and acted FMV clips of Minnesota Fats around what is nothing more than a top-down, 16-bit pool game". The reviewer scored it 1 out of 5 stars.[6]


The game has a sequel called Side Pocket 3.


  1. ^ a b "ProReview: Minnesota Fats: The Pool Master". GamePro. No. 69. IDG. April 1995. p. 46. 
  2. ^ "Minnesota Fats: The Pool Master". Next Generation. Imagine Media (6): 70–71. June 1995. 
  3. ^ "Tricky". Next Generation. No. 6. Imagine Media. June 1995. p. 112. 
  4. ^ NEW GAMES CROSS REVIEW: サイドポケット2 ~伝説のハスラー~. Weekly Famicom Tsūshin. No.329. Pg.32. 7 April 1995.
  5. ^ "Minnesota Fats: Pool Legend". GamePro. No. 87. IDG. December 1995. p. 78. 
  6. ^ "Every Sega Saturn Game Played, Reviewed, and Rated". Next Generation. No. 25. Imagine Media. January 1997. p. 64. 

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