Besides the re-release of Tennis Elbow, there has not been a great, or even a released, Tennis game since Pete Sampras Tennis last summer. However, this has changed with Blue Byte's release of Game, Net & Match. A week ago I read the preview on www.Game-Over.Net and checked out Blue Byte's product page and I was impressed with the promise of this title. I was surprised when it was released since most people claimed it was not completed yet.
The graphics in this game are alright but not great. The main reason for this is because it is ported straight from the Play Station, since consoles mostly get priority over the PC due to the higher sales. Since this is the case the graphics are excellent for Play Station standards but acceptable for PC standards. You won't find any hardware fog or colored lighting in the stadiums, however, a couple of courts use reflective textures which is pretty cool. The game blasts away at about 50 fps on my PC using a Monster 3D 1. However, during doubles play a generous amount of swapping does occur with the hard drive, not because of the graphics but because the game is not coded properly to be able to handle 4 players. Also, the 7-8 views give a different perspective on the match which can be changed on the fly with the END key.
No advanced sound options are available such as A3D or even Doubly Surround Sound, once again resulting from the fact that this is a PSX port. The game atmosphere concering sound is pretty good: when you are losing the crowd shouts what seems to be words of encouragement and when you are winning the crowd roars. The play by play and commentary addon is a must since it adds a more realistic feeling. Of course the men and women have different sounds as well.
Gameplay in this game is excellent: the AI players make mistakes such as Double Faulting, net shots and even out of bounds. The player you control is also very realistic: you can hold down the button for a harder smash or farther lob. One thing I did not understand, however, is that the game allows the use of all 8 of the buttons on my GRIP pad but I still have not discerned what each button's function is. The AI is also very tough and is not a "push over". One of the best parts of this game is the training mode as it is one of the most comprehensive training modes I have ever seen in a tennis game or any other sports games for that matter. All of the function keys are used to assign the ball shooter to return different types of your opponent's shots, such as close lobs, deep shots, tip overs and nine others. This is really a credit to the programmers who allow the games inexperienced tennis players to be able to handle the complexities of tennis.
For a true tennis fan this game should keep them busy for hours. However, for a regular fan or just another player it might not be as great since the graphics are not too hot and there is nothing dramatically good about the game.
I played the game with a friend in 2 player mode and it is excellent in terms of replayability and fun.
Overall I really enjoyed this game and although the graphics were a bit lacking, the excellent AI, gameplay, re-playability factor and especially multiplayer made up for it. Definitely worth the grab if you are a big tennis fan or likes games with intelligent AI.
At first I was telling myself; "Why am I playing a tennis game, I don't like tennis and I probably never will". Well, I still don't like the actual tennis sport but I do like this tennis game. Game, Net & Match has very nice graphics, it could use a few touch ups but its good enough for me. Additionally, this game isn't a power hog like *cough*Unreal*cough*. It runs nice and smooth with 3Dfx.
There are various courts you can play on made of different types of materials. There is clay asphalt, grass (my favorite), concrete type floors, and several others. The floor textures look really nice, the only thing that could use some work is the audience, as they are basically 2d sprites usually in a position (standing up) which is really noticeable. Some of the courts have the stands setup so the spectators are sitting down so then it looks more realistic.
The game is also very configurable: you can change the camera views to whichever you like, and there are various players to choose from which each have different properties, such as their speed their serving ability. There are a lot of modes of play too, including, but not limited to, singles, training, and doubles. There is also Internet play available but it's not playable because it requires a serial number. I heard that there is IPX play available also which can be tried over Kali or Kahn.
There is also some nice menu music that comes with the game and the other sounds included in this game are pretty good. The sound of the racket hitting the ball is accurate and the crowd sounds are not too annoying. The control is easy, all you basically do is move left, right, up and down and use the racket key. You can configure the game to use a gamepad if you don't like using the keyboard.
Even if you don't like tennis you should still pick up this game: it's really fun to play unless you are an avid hater of tennis. EA Sports could have probably done a better job making a 3D tennis game, but they didn't make one and this is pretty close to what EA Sports would have done. So far this is the best you are going to get.