£10.99 cass, £19.99
tennis simulation with authentic 'feel'
Directed serves, lobs, smashes, drop-shots, angled
are already two tennis games for the 64 for this superb
new Activision title to compete with: The extremely
difficult Wimbledon 64 and, more significantly,
the excellent Matchpoint from Psion.
presentation in the new release is quite different to
Matchpoint. The men are a lot larger and chunkier
and the court isn't constantly in view, so it scrolls
slightly if a ball goes near the edge of the playing
are the crowds (although they can be heard) along with
the ballboys, umpire and tough judges. This doesn't
really detract from the game, but it gives it a rather
Activision's tennis also has a different approach to
the play: priority is on the different type of ball
to play, rather than running about after it. The computer
will automatically move your player toward the ball
-- you simply decide which sort of shot to play and
when to play it.
throws up the ball to serve.
disadvantage of this is that you have little control
over whether to stay at the back of the court or move
to the net. The advantage is that you can get a lot
more variety in the type of shots you play.
normal play the different joystick directions and the
fire button give you five main options, which are: flat
shot, topspin, lob, slice, and drop shot. This gives
plenty of scope for tactics. For example, if you are
standing at the net with your opponent back, a drop
shot will probably be a winning play. But if you play
one from your own back court, chances are it won't clear
your opponent lobs you, you automatically enter 'smash
mode', and use the joystick to direct the shot in one
of five directions. The smash into the corner leaving
the computer player stranded, is one of the game's most
satisfying moments. It looks very authentic too.
is about to hit a devastating volley at the net.
control is used to serve. Your man will automatically
throw the ball into the air and it is up to you to time
his racquet to hit the ball correctly, in one of three
directions. Pressing fire will give you greater speed,
but makes it harder to time the hit.
are three types of surfaces to play on: clay, grass
or a hard court; grass being fast and clay slow. There
are also four men to choose from, called John, Jimmy,
Ivan and Bjorn. Who could they be? They all have different
styles of play which are suited to different courts
have a one or two player option and can play either
a one set warm-up, or best of three or five sets. The
computer opponent is very good and has 'floating intelligence':
the more you improve, the better he gets.
minor bad point is that a player always serves from
the nearest court to you, and players change ends after
every service. This is contrary to the rules of tennis!