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Review: Tennis 2002
Like real tennis (or real table tennis, which this game more realistically portrays) the presentation of Tennis 2002 can best described as adequate at best. Where as real (table) tennis has no pyrotechnics, no flashy intro-music and no fireworks, this game follows suit. The game does attempt to offer what little presentatin it does have to the player with some effort, such as the pre-rendered 3D text to announce which player has won the match for example, but ultimately falls short of today's standards. But then again this game is 6 years old, and the author does admit that this does not represent his talents as of today!
The limited presentation does fit into the game's style, though, as it never pretends to be anythinig more than a distraction to gamers; despite the Project page's tongue-in-cheek description, Tennis 2002 is NOT a realistic simulator. It is Pong in disguise! But it's not pong(y) to play; the movements (though not custom made) do react well to player input, even if they can be a little twitchy to begin with. This plays well into the game's hands though as it offers some level of learning curve for each player. Another positive for Tennis 2002's gameplay is the inclusion of both single player and two-player game modes. The single player mode has three difficulties, but in all fairness the CPU opponent only puts up a real challenge when set to 'hard'; the other difficulties are more or less just training for new players and offer nothing to those more experienced. In all modes, the game is fair and players never feel cheated when they drop points. The simplicity has been handled well and the game hasn't over-stretched itself in anyway. Due to it's age, it would be fair to say that the gameplay is this games strength.
But let's be brutally honest - this game is no looker! It's not a bad looking game, but it's not a good looking on either - even Namco's Smash Court Tennis from the PS1 era looks better than this! But against the real competition, Pong, it does surpass it in every way. There really is little more to say on this subject; i liken Tennis 2002 to a Ford Fiesta; it's not ugly, but you don't look at it in awe either!
The sound effects are a small surprise. The music (though ripped straight from MMF 1's sample disc) fits the bill perfectly and so do the sound effects. Upon scoring points, players are basked in a generous round of applause from the game and are equally treated to a nice voice sample of "Ace!" when hitting said shot. I liked this, especially when playing a human opponent, as it acts as a taunt and can add to the rivalry. Cleverly implemented, this makes playing Tennis 2002's multiplayer more exciting and more of a reason to smash your friends up!
Lastability wise, this is little more than a distraction. With only three difficulties, of which two are basically training standard, and just one game mode there is not alot to keep people tied to playing Tennis 2002. And once the CPU opponent is beaten on 'hard', the player will have little motivation to try it again. Lastability comes only in the form of against human opponents.
All in all, this is a tidy and neat little Pong clone. Being such a small file size means that it is worth downloading and trying out, but expect it to remain unplayed for the rest of time after the first 20 minutes or so.
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