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Tennis is one of the earlier titles to appear on the original Gameboy and a contender for one of the least creative names ever for a handheld game. I can imagine the meeting at Nintendo HQ back in the day when it was getting programmed. Gee boss, what shall we call this new tennis game we are developing? I know let's name it Tennis! Definitely an example of "it does what it says on the tin" or cardboard box as the case may be. Ah well with such a straightforward title I guess there is no danger of anyone confusing it with a platformer... even if Mario does makes a cameo appearance as the match umpire.
Keeping with the basic title the game keeps things simple in terms of gameplay options. What's on offer is a three set singles match pitting the player against the computer or a friend. I had the most fun playing against my uncle who also owned a copy game, but the challenging A.I should keep single players entertained despite the simplistic controls and lack of game modes on offer. There are four difficulty levels to master so you can take things easy on the first level, whilst you get a feel for the game, before tackling level four which really ups the ante. At the highest difficulty setting you can expect a stiff test from your opponent made all the worse by an increase in player/ball movement speed which gives you less time in which to react.
As far as graphics go the game has aged well. You get a good view of the court with the screen scrolling slightly depending on the position of the ball. Mario who sits atop the umpire chair, drawn far better than his blocky incarnation in Super Mario Land, referees the two cute looking players. On the top of the screen is the computer opponent in a Wimbledon style all white garb and at the bottom is the player controlled character who wears grey and a sweat band on his head. The only thing I didn't like in the visual department would have to be the static faded crowd. They lack detail and don't even move. It looks like the stadium didn't sell out so they filled up the spectator seats with cardboard cut outs.
In terms of sound the game does however show that it was made back in the late eighties. The sound effects you'll hear consist of pong like bleeps when the ball bounces on the ground or gets whacked by a racket. There's no Sharapova style grunts from the players, but you do hear some cheers from the crowd whenever a point is scored (proof that cardboard can roar.) In the background a catchy tune plays which may feel out of place in a sports game, but as far as retro pieces go I rather enjoyed it. If you find the tune getting repetitive after playing a few goes fear not as the music can be turned off from the main menu screen.
The controls, as you may expect from the two buttoned Gameboy, are simple but get the job done. You move around using the d-pad and have two types of shot to play depending on the button you press. The A button takes care of regular swings and B performs a lob which is handy for embarrassing your rival should he stray too close to the net. By pressing the d-pad when striking the ball you can influence the direction in which it goes and you can also execute powerful smashes by positioning yourself right below where a lobbed shot is set to land. The only thing I would have added to the otherwise responsive controls is the ability to dive for those frustrating times when the ball is mere inches beyond your reach.
As a casual sports game Tennis is a lot of fun. I cannot give it a higher score though as it lacks the features a hardcore fan of the sport would expect. If you want a more comprehensive simulation of tennis you would be better "served" by finding a newer game which would include things like tournaments, doubles play, different court surfaces and a selection of playable characters. That said, if you have a working Gameboy or GBA I still think it's worth tracking down if you can find a cheap copy. I also hear that the 3DS virtual console will have a port of the game you can purchase so that is another option. Hopefully that version won't be too expensive or, in the words of John McEnroe, I will complaining to Nintendo that "you cannot be serious!"
When some person bought me this game, I thought it could be a good game as it was Mario and I am a keen tennis player myself, however I did like the graphics as they were original and colorful and music sounded nice too, however I thought the loading of the game was a bit slow, so it was a little waiting around before playing any of the games.
On the introduction there wasn't a lot of opition on how you could play the game and you could only play one sort of game and only could change the level of game whether you wanted it easy, average or hard.
The one game it self wasn't interesting or fun it was all about hitting a tennis ball to one another and who was the first person to get to 45 points, but if you lost in the game and got 'game over' there wasn't a lot of opition to either try out other games or practice your skills and you could do was switch the game off or have another go, which I gave up after doing this a number of times! As well most of the time I got 'game over' even on an easy level!
Luckily I sold this game in the end, as I didn't like it and there wasn't much to do except play the same old game over and over again! So if I was ever to have a gameboy again, I would never touch this game again
A tennis game with none other than Mario as umpire! Ninty-love!
Features are far from exhaustive - can only choose to play a three set match against either the computer or someone else.
A simple game to pick up and play - B for lob and A for stroke, or smash when the ball is overhead. The game eases you into play on the lowest of four computer levels, and makes you fight for, and then clinch your fist on winning, each point on the highest level. You really do get a feel for hitting these shots. The computer does make the odd error occasionally, and it's not easy to get an ace. Some stats at the end of each match would have been nice.
On changing sides, your character stays at the bottom of the screen - what is great when playing via link-up cable is that this still applies to both players. No disADVANTAGE.
There is an option to turn off the music in-game which comprises of a single tune. Sounds are limited but include audience-applause effects. Graphically it sports a clean tidy look, and is animated so that Mario is watching the ball but on the rare occasion it appears as if the ball should have been called out. (And yes, I am being serious.)
I played this when I was young, knowing little of tennis - I found the game accessible and have loved it since. As far as handheld console tennis goes, was a tennis great.
Back in the days when computer games were innocent and safe, the Gameboy ruled the roost with its portable nature and trademark yellowy screen. I was a big Gameboy fan and had loads and loads of games for the system, but only a few of them stood out from the crowd. The first was 'Tetris' - the ridiculously addictive game of falling blocks - has there ever been a better game soundtrack!? The second was the imaginatively titled 'Tennis', which was first released in 1989.
Tennis featured basic but bold graphics, and the characters were large and chunky enough to allow the player to clearly see the onscreen action - which could at times be fairly speedy!
The sound effects were average - electronic bips could be heard every time a player struck the ball, and 'white-noise' was used for the crowd cheering effects. This was standard practice for games of this era, as the consoles had extremely limited sound chips which didn't allow anything more effective.
In terms of its gameplay, Tennis was quite different to what had gone before. Firstly it offered the player a choice of shots, including a lob option. This was fairly unusual as many of the previous tennis games on other platforms only had one-button controls, which limited the range of options the player had for returning shots. The action was fairly quick, and the AI of the computer oppenent actually wasn't too bad.
Tennis was an excellent Gameboy title, and for the nostalgic amongst you, a video of the game in action can be viewed at: http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=d7jyWR3HDBU