Wednesday 1 July 2015

Jimmy Connors Tennis (NES review)

Developer: NMS Software
Publisher: Ubisoft
Released: 1993

Jimmy Connors Tennis is a simulation sports game that was also released on the Nintendo Game Boy in 1993.

You can either play solo or against a friend in 16 famous tournaments such as Wimbledon and the US Open. There's no knockout rounds and instead you're immediately thrown into the final. Money is awarded to the tournament victor with the overall winner being the one with the most assets at season end. There's an excellent range of shots you can perform including normal and powerful strokes using the face buttons, as well as lob and drop shots depending on if you hold Up or Down on the d-pad. It's even possible to perform slices and angle the ball to the opposite side of the court. This takes some practice as you need to quickly position your player and wind up your chosen shot; the longer you do it the more exaggerated the angle will be. This means you can effectively play the long game and not have to over-rely on volleys close to the net to win points. The ball flies around the court at a significant speed and you don't have much time to react to your opponent's shots. This adds more realism and it helps to keep the action frantic. The gameplay is great and things move at a quick pace so it doesn't take forever to play a match. Although there's no save option you can enter a password to resume your tournament at a later date. It's a shame that there's no doubles mode though as it would have added much needed variety. There's a few nice graphical touches including the scoreboard and backdrop textures but the crowd and umpires look like they've been ported from the ZX Spectrum! The music is repetitive but there's an option to turn it off.

Jimmy Connors Tennis has a control scheme that is surprisingly deep for an 8-bit game and overall it's an excellent simulation of the sport. It does have some glaring omissions (especially the doubles mode) but the singles mode is solid and plays well in both the long and short game.

Random trivia: A 16-bit game was released for the Super Nintendo in 1993 called Jimmy Connors Pro Tennis Tour.

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