Wednesday 3 June 2015

Super Tennis (Master System review)

Developer: Sega
Publisher: Sega
Released: 1986

Super Tennis is an early sports title for the Master System that was also released as Great Tennis in Japan.

The control scheme is simplistic and you can either do a ground stroke by pressing 1 or a lob by pressing 2. If you're close to the net you can volley and if the CPU tries to lob you it's possible to perform a smash. Directing the ball is strange as you don't use the d-pad to dictate where you want it to go. Instead, it depends on your location and how early / late you hit the ball; press a button when it's near your waist and it will go straight; hit it when it touches the tip of your outstretched swing and it will careen off at an angle. It never seems to work well though and it's tricky to repeat the same action. Serving is difficult and it takes a while to get used to timing so you don't double fault. Once you get a rally going the action is so slow, matches take forever to complete and you have no control over set length. Until you learn that most volleys are impossible for the CPU to return you'll try and win a point using long ground strokes to no avail. The option to change the speed of the match is a good idea but they end up being slow motion, really slow or way too fast that it's unplayable! You can choose three types of player (versatile, good offense, good defense) but to be honest I didn't notice any real differences. There is a two-player mode where you play against two CPU opponents but unfortunately you can't select and play a doubles match by yourself. The graphics are poor with little detail and each player looks blocky. The animation is terrible and prior to serving you can see several pixels of distance between your player and the ball!

Super Tennis isn't worth your time unless you're fanatical about early sports games. There's nothing interesting or noteworthy about it and the gameplay is so boring that you'll soon be staring gormlessly at the screen wishing you were playing something else.

Random trivia: This is part of a series of Master System sports games from Sega which also included Great Basketball (1987), Great Ice Hockey (1986) and Great Soccer (1987).

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