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Tennis
Review By: Shane Sacobie
Developer:   Nintendo
Publisher:   Nintendo
# of Players:   1-2
Genre:   Sports
ESRB:    Everyone

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 over you.

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.

Overall: 8.0

 



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