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Written by  :  Martin Smith (66856)
Written on  :  Jul 31, 2004
Platform  :  Windows
Rating  :  4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars4.5 Stars
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A tennis game worthy of the great man

The Good

The presentation is extremely slick, with stylish menus, a wide range of options (male and female players, singles and doubles, 3 or 5 sets, specialised short-match multi-player tournaments, 3 game speeds as well as detail settings, definable keys as well as good controller setup options) , and some wryly amusing FMV sequences. Representing fictitious tennis coverage, the presenters are great parodies of typical tennis types, and the amateurism visible in the host's slurred, hazy delivery and technical errors are good light entertainment.

The controls are responsive and smooth, and the players nicely animated. As you play the game you really get a feel for which shots to play and when. Serving is well-designed, with faster or wider (and thus more effective) serves proving more hazardous to get into the play area

There's a great difficulty curve, as each of the 8 computer opponents seems to have a new trick up their sleeves, and playing on the different court types as you go keeps the variety up. Customising the players adds extra depth, allows all manner of play styles to be effective, and the results are very apparent in play.

There are a great range of camera settings, and generally effective graphics. Sound is a definite plus point, which umpire speech from around the world alongside good spot effects and crowd reaction.

The Bad

Some of the line-calls are questionable, although you could argue that this adds to the realism. It's a shame you can't play friendlies on true grass immediately without beating the first 4 opponents. Visually it lacks real sparkle, even on the highest settings.

You could say that tennis isn't the most exciting sport, although it can be recreated very well, and this won't be the game to change your mind if you hate the sport.

The Bottom Line

The best of Codemasters' sport games of the time, possibly the best tennis game ever seen at the time, and still great fun today. Full of options, packed with details and imagination, a great difficulty curve and AI system, and a fabulous 2-player game.