By: Shane Sacobie
This portable tennis title does just enough (barely)
to suit its purpose graphically. The setup is basic, as are player movements. You won't
be treated to amazing dives or spectacular shots of the crowd. What you'll
see here, however, is enough to get the job done. There are two players available
(which is kind of a disappointment, but that perhaps falls more in the category
of gameplay), and they play on a standard tennis court (although the lines
are crooked so some calls are questionable). At times, the animations can
be humorous. Another feature that many people will appreciate is the cameo
appearances made by Mario, who is the ref.
Similar to the graphics, the sound is nothing more than there out of necessity. Like Tetris,
I prefer to set the music to off most of the time so I really didn't notice
the one tune they did have. The ball sounds odd (like it's made of metal),
but it's easy to get used to. There is some crowd noise that is appropriate,
but most of the time, all you hear is the sound of the ball going back and
forth. One good thing is that the sound of the ball varies when you try to
lob it, which makes it easier to react to balls that are going to be hit
Gameplay is good overall. Though fans of other sports (i.e. football and
baseball) might have a tough time learning the scoring system, it's relatively
easy to adjust. While most matches are 5 sets, the developers probably
made a good choice by going with 3 for this game, as the games would drag
on and get tiresome if it were 5 sets due to the lack of extras throughout.
All you really need to do to
be able to play is follow the ball and press one button. Having four difficulty
levels was good, as novice and expert players could enjoy this title.
As the player gets more advanced, the use of the B button comes into play
more and more often. The only way to win the level 3 and 4 difficulty matches
is to be able to use the B button effectively in conjunction with the A button.
As stated earlier, the lines are crooked in the game, which results in many
questionable calls. This can get frustrating, especially when you lose due
to a close call. Most of the time, close calls go to the computer. (In other
words, he can hit it out so long as it's close, but you can't.) It seems
as though Mario gets more and more blind as you climb the difficulty levels.
The concept for its time was good. While it's nothing special to us now,
the ability to take a tennis game on the road was unique back when the GameBoy
was first released.
I'd have to say that people who dislike Tennis can get into this game as
much as those who watch or play it often. While the GameBoy version is pretty
simplistic in terms of design, it can be fun to play. In addition, there's
a two player mode that adds to the fun.
The replay value is pretty much average. Having four difficulty levels makes
for a lengthy amount of gameplay. Unfortunately, there's a lack of some SNES
and NES tennis features, such as improving your character, tournament play,
etc. Anyone who plays this and gets good at it can always go back to the
first level of difficulty after having beaten the third or fourth. This allows
you to play a game that almost seems like it's in slow mo.
Overall, this is a very simplistic title, but it manages to get the
job done. Since it was released nearly a decade ago with the GameBoy, it's
understandable that it doesn't match the expectations of some of today's
titles. However, this game is worth buying, especially for tennis fans.