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ATP Tennis

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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 game. 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

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