Reviewed by Inkhands
There just aren't many good tennis games available on any
system in my opinion. I have played a lot of tennis games
and most of them come across as average at best. I was
surprised to play this game and find that it isn't average
at all. In fact it is much better than just another tennis
game. It's one of the best tennis games I have ever played.
There are four modes of play in this game. Exhibition Match,
Exhibition Tournament, ATP Senior Tour Tournament, and the
ATP Tour. Exhibition Match is one match in which you can
play as one of 24 actual tennis players from the time this
game was released or as one of the four players you can
create yourself in the ATP Tour mode. The Exhibition
Tournament lets you play as any of 32 players, such as Pete
Sampras, against the other 31. You are seperated into 16
brackets and advance there. Making the total games you have
to win to be five. ATP Senior Tour has 8 players from tennis
past, such as Arthur Ashe. This is a very short mode and a
short tournament considering there are only 8 players total.
All of these modes let you select the court type - hard,
clay, court, or carpet. You can watch the other games or
turn it off. There is also an upset factor that you can set
from between 00 to 99. Other options include game speed
(slow, normal, or fast) and the number of sets to be played
(1, 3, or 5).
In ATP Tour mode you create a player. This game has four
slots to save games in, so you can create up to four
different players. You can name your player, put in a
birthdate, how he swings (either right or left/ single or
double grip), also if the forehand and backhand have spins,
slices, or just flat. There is also the option of changing
his appearance. Long hair, short hair, a cap, or a bandana.
There are four body types and twelve clothes colors that
range from white to black. You also get 10 points to start
with to build up your players abilities in seven categories
- forehand control, forehand power, backhand control,
backhand power, serve control, serve power, and footwork speed.
There are 11 tournaments in the ATP Tour mode, the final one
being the World Championships. You can play all the
tournaments or just sit some of them out. You can play
normal play or assisted.
All players look the same on the court. They are very small
and not very detailed at all. They look nothing like their
real life counterparts. The Pete Sampras player looks
nothing like Pete Sampras. Even the players you create don't
look any different despite the fact you can choose different
physical traits. Basically the players are too small, they
have no detail, and they simply have different colored
clothes. At different times during the game, such as between
games, you will see a few pictures. These pictures are of
the real players. They are there either to remind you who
you are playing as, since you have no idea just by looking
at the player on the court, or there to remind how little
they actually look like the players they are supposed to
resemble. You also get a picture of the crowd occasionally
or the player sitting in his chair beside of the court.
You only see the crowd between games. Not that you really
are too interested in the crowd. It consists of a wave of
people, clapping their hands at the same exact time as
everybody else in the stands, while being dressed in either
red, yellow, grey, or blue shirts. The actual court is very
ugly. It has a lot of lines in it and it doesn't look smooth
at all. It looks like a chipped court and I don't think it's
supposed to look that way. It's also very small and you can
see the entire thing in one screen. There are a couple of
chair umpires on the side and some people that will run
around picking up tennis balls that hit the net. They are
dressed in blue, but that really doesn't matter. Basically
everything is very dull in this game and not detailed at all.
There is very little music in this game, which is okay
considering it is a tennis game. You don't really need music
while you are trying to concentrate anyway. You only get a
couple of beats between games. The music sounds like
something on tv during the sports news. The sound effects
are just the ball bouncing on the court and other things you
might expect to hear at a tennis game. A lot of swinging and
hitting. The ball doesn't sound very realistic when it hits
the court either. There a voice to tell the score of the
game and call the plays - out, let, fault, double fault,
ace, and a few other pointless words you would expect to
hear. The voice sounds terrible though and flat. All the
sound effects sound dull and flat. The little piece of music
that is included only lasts about three seconds and it's not
that good either. The sound quality is very poor in this
I mentioned above there are two types of control options.
You can play normal mode or assisted. The normal
mode, obviously, gives you complete freedom over your
player's movements, swings, and serves. The
assisted mode will occasionally move the player for you. I
prefer to play the game with the normal mode, but beginners
might want to try with the assisted mode first. I
couldn't quite decide for sure, but it did seem that the
computer assisted mode was a bit helpful. There are three
buttons and three swings. One for a lob, one for a powerful
swing or serve, and the other for a weaker more floating
shot. The control takes a little to get used to. I think all
tennis games have different timing. The learning curve isn't
too long with the controls though. I got very accustomed to
the game after only a set. Of course I should point out I'm
not exactly a beginner with tennis games.
The only bad things about the control is the fact the ball
lays too low sometimes on the court. Also, your player
doesn't have much of a reach. You can think you're close
enough to get to the ball, but once you swing and miss
you'll find out you wasn't. Also an annoying thing is when
you run into the ball. The ball will bounce up and hit you
and then your swing is disabled, causing you to lose the
point. For the most part you have to be quick on returns,
because the player's serves are usually very fast
and powerful. Overall though, I felt the control was good
for the most part in this game.
The challenge is a bit high. The actual game can be
difficult sometimes and you have to keep absolute
concentration at all times. Whoever you play as tends to be
the same as everybody else you play as, but some of the
the computer operated players can be difficult to beat.
Actually, I think the players in this game are more
talented than any other tennis game I have played. They
really move to all the right places and they manage to
return my shots that I thought would be impossible to
return. Also, considering all the tournaments in the ATP
mode, it's a bit hard to win all the tournaments, or even
some of them, to get a good ranking. You are ranked by how
well you have done and how much money you have earned. No
stats are kept through the tour, which is really a bad point.
No stats are kept at all. Maybe I wanted to know how many
aces, net points, and double faults I had accumulated over
the course of the tour. Speaking of net points, I usually
play at the baseline in tennis games, but this one found me
going to the net quite frequently. The reason is, the ball
lays so low on the court and if you wait at the baseline for
it, then it's too late. It's already bounced at least twice
and you have lost the point.
There are a few modes, but I don't know how willing you
might be to play this game over and over. The fact you can
create up to four players and save them all helps the replay
value some I suppose. All the different modes do as well. I
just don't know how many times you would be willing to play
through the ATP tour mode unless you did want to play it
through four different times as one of four different
created players. I wouldn't imagine anyone playing all those
tournaments more than once though.
The senior tour isn't a very large mode and most of the
players in it aren't as well known as some of the others.
The exhibtion tournament does have all the 32 players for
you to play as or against, but it's only one tournament.
This may be the only drawing point of the game though. In
the tour mode you have to play as a player you have created.
In the exhibition tournament mode you can play as any of the
players in the game and that does help the replay value
some. Still, this game doesn't exactly have great replay value.
Overall, poor graphics and poor sound. The control isn't as
good as I would have liked. Swinging can be a problem in
more ways than one considering you have such a limited reach
and the ball lays too low on the court. However, you do have
excellent control over the shot placement. The ball doesn't
go wide nearly as often as it does in some other games.
However, just because you accomplish your cross court shot,
doesn't mean the player won't return it. Even if
you've seen it not be returned hundreds of times in a dozen
other tennis games. That's what happened to me anyway.
The modes give this game a lot more options than most tennis
games have. The challenge is medium. The replay value is
about medium. The fun factor is also about medium. This game
isn't as fun as some tennis games I've played, but it's
still fun enough. Overall, this is the best tennis game I've
played on the Genesis and one of the better tennis games
overall. Not quite the best and not quite my favorite, but I
recommend it nonetheless.
Graphics - 5/10
Sound - 5/10
Control - 6/10
Gameplay - 9/10
Challenge - 7/10
Fun Factor - 8/10
Replay Value - 7/10
Overall - 9/10