Monday 20 July 2015

Jimmy Connors Tennis (Atari Lynx review)

Developer: HandMade Software
Publisher: Atari
Released: 1993

Jimmy Connors Tennis is one of only three officially released Atari Lynx games to use the larger 512K cartridge.

There's only a Singles or Doubles tournament mode on offer and you can choose to play on either grass or hard court. The shot selection isn't particularly deep as you can only perform a Forehand with the A button, a Backhand with B and an Overhead Smash with Option 1. Pulling them off is tough and you know there's something wrong when you have to consult the manual in a tennis game! Basically, when your opponent serves or returns a ball one of three squares appear; red is where you need to stand for a volley, yellow is where you should be positioned to hit the ball on first bounce and black highlights the location for a smash. It's not 100% accurate and many times you'll miss despite feeling that you were in perfect position. The camera angles are atrocious and as soon as you serve you can no longer see your player until the ball is returned! The shot indicators don't appear until the ball passes the net so you have little time to react and adjust your position. Getting used to the awkward controls is tricky but the CPU doesn't help as in Level 1 difficulty it has a tendency to wildly mishit shots and lets the ball hit the floor when attempting to serve! The same thing happens in the hardest level but here there's no indicators of where the ball will land; this makes it impossible as there's no depth perception. Before you serve you can move far away from the court and if you try to throw the ball up the game angrily beeps at you; why allow me to drift away in the first place! The graphics look fantastic with excellent animation and an accurate depiction of Jimmy Connors on the title screen. There's also some impressive speech samples including umpire calls throughout the matches.

Jimmy Connors Tennis is one of the worst sports games I've ever played. Sure, it has nice presentation and some excellent audio but the gameplay is totally unplayable and you're better off sticking to the decent NES version instead.

Random trivia: The game was also released on the NES and Game Boy in 1993 but these versions were developed by NMS Software.

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