Virtua Tennis


Review by Matt Paprocki



Graphics: 9

Sound: 9

Gameplay: 9

Overall: 9

Sega really did a great job without EA Sports in their lineup. Visual Concepts soared with some of the best sports games of all time, still playable today. Oddly, out of all the games in Sega's sports library, Virtua Tennis came out ahead.

The game's arcade roots are evident from the start. The simple, easy to use 3-button control scheme is flawless. Deadly accurate shots are only a matter of aiming with either the D-pad or the analog stick and tapping one of the buttons. Each button represents a different type of shot. Serving is a matter of timing as hitting the button when the "serve meter" is at it's peak will unleash hell unto your opponent.

Though the arcade mode is standard fare, the absolutely genius World Tour game is not. Creating a player to your specifications (though limited in looks), you'll take him across the world, slowly building his rank and earning cash. You'll enter into various real and fake tournaments and compete in mini-games (that are actually more fun than the standard game) to boost your skills. Occasionally, you'll have to enter into a doubles match which will require you to enter into a contract with one of the various pros included in the game. You'd better have enough money to sign them or you'll be unable to enter the tourney.

Helping not only the presentation but sense of realism as well are the stunning, lifelike graphics. From a distance, you will be completely unable to tell the difference between this game and a real match on TV. The animation only helps the situation with fluid motions and routines. The close-ups of the players in between sets are a bit hit or miss (some of these guys are downright right scary), but the models are solid. The fully polygonal crowd is a great touch as well.

Likewise, the sound is just amazing. Subtle, but completely believable. You can choose to have music playing in the background, but turning it off will reveal some of the best sound effects of all time. The ball-hitting-racket effect is eerily real and the echo of the stadiums is flawless. The crowd remains silent until appropriate, and the only announcer is on the PA. The tension all of this creates is an achievment.

There has never been any tennis games that you'll spend this much quality time with before. This is not just a game for fans of the sport, but for those who are completely unsure of how to hold a racket as well. It won't take long for everyone to be hooked on this one. This is a game that will undoubtedly go down as a classic in a few years time.


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Last updated: Saturday, June 18, 2005 04:56 AM