Saturday 9 July 2016

Tennis Pro '92 (Supervision review)

Developer: B.I.T.S.
Publisher: Watara
Released: 1992

Tennis Pro '92 is a sports game that has a few similarities with the Nintendo Game Boy title Tennis (1989).

Only singles matches are available, with each game consisting of a best of three sets. The difficulty settings are Beginner, Intermediate and Expert which affect the speed of the ball and your opponent. Despite the lack of buttons on the Supervision, the shot selection is actually quite deep; using a combination of the d-pad and face buttons you can pull off Hard Shots, Soft Shots, Top Spin Lobs or Drop Shots. Bizarrely, your opponent is only partially visible before serving; this causes issues when it's their turn to serve as you can't see the ball at its highest point, leaving you less chance to react. When the ball is heading your way the ghosting on the LCD screen is pretty bad which can strain your eyes. Returning a shot is also an adventure as unlike most other tennis games your players' sprite must be in a central position to the ball, otherwise you'll swing and miss. While it does work fine, it takes a few minutes to adjust to where you'd normally position yourself for a backhand / forehand shot. Long rallies are where the game really falters, as only pressing left or right while swinging will usually result in the ball hitting the net. Instead, you usually have to hold diagonally-up to get enough height which is awkward after repeated use. The easiest method to overcome this is to constantly charge the net for an easy volley but the CPU gets wise to this from Intermediate difficulty onwards! With only one mode on offer (no tournaments) and a lack of gameplay options (e.g. set length) the game has limited replayability and doesn't encourage you to stick around. The crowd noise is good but it's played so often, at the same exact velocity, that it quickly starts to get on your nerves; the intro screen has some excellent music though.
Tennis Pro '92 is a barebones sports title with limited options, flawed gameplay and a lack of any real excitement. The shot selection is fairly deep for a handheld game but overall the action is nowhere near as polished as Tennis on the Nintendo Game Boy.
Random trivia: There are very few sports games on the Supervision, but others include Olympic Trials (1992) and Soccer Champion (1992).

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