GIVING KONAMI'S TENNIS THE ELBOW
Once Tennis had loaded and you've sorted out your controls, you find yourself facing a nice bright green screen that makes your head throb. The human characters are very much in the ilk of those in Daley Thompson's Decathalon and Hyper Sports; they are transparent with a white outlines. So depending on where a player is on the screen, his face might be any one of several colours.
As your player runs on court, cutesy music plays and then its into the action. Alas you soon find that where the ball goes is more down to luck than skill on your part. The commands at your disposal amount to simply left, right, up, down and fire. From what I can tell, I don't think pressing any of the directional keys when you jab fire to hit a shot makes a blind bit of notice.
Sadly the text instructions for this game in the World of Spectrum archive are incomplete, so you are merely told: "Be sure to get your timing right when you serve; depending on h". I have a suspicion that the direction the ball goes and the distance it travels depends entirely on how early or late you swing.
Anyhow, the honest truth is that having reacquainted myself with Konami's Tennis, it isn't a game that will be appearing on my screen again anytime soon.
The computer's interpretation of what is in and what is out is woeful. On occasions it calls second serves in that are blatantly out; indeed the ball often lands in exactly the same spot as the first serve, which it saw fit to call out.
The software also likes to call balls out that are blatantly in; on several occasions I watched in pleased disbelief as the computer player whacked perfectly good shots past me that landed well inside the baseline but were called out.
This usually works in your favour, although when you are hitting from the back of the court, you will find the computer calls anything that lands remotely nearly the line out.
However, my biggest gripe is that whoever programmed Tennis clearly didn't know the rules of the game. For starters, the players never swap sides as they do every two games in the real world.
But that's not the biggest annoyance. Having lost the first set, I battled back to break the computer in the second set. However, the computer broke back and we were tied at 5 games each. I nearly broke the computer player again but failed and was resigned to a tiebreak.
But suddenly the game ended with the computer having won the second set 6-5. Now as any true tennis fan will know, you simply can't win a set of tennis 6-5 without going into a tiebreak. But there was no tiebreak. And yet I had lost and that was that.
In true McEnroe fashion, I vented by frustration by thumping my keyboard very hard, as I used to do in the good old days. No wonder I got through so many membranes back then.
The big problem with Konami's tennis is it's boring. There are no fancy shots to learn and master and basically once you have managed to win two sets and beat the computer, there is just no point playing it any longer.
I'm sure when Imagine launched this game they were hoping to serve up a smash that would net them a bit of cash. Unfortunately, the programming is full of faults and, if you were being unkind, you might say it's actually a load of balls.
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Want to play some computer tennis?
Ace 2 (PS2)
Power Tennis (GameCube)
Ace 2 (PC)