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Tennis Masters Series

Score: 70%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Microids
Developer: Titus
Media: CD/1
Players: 1 - 4
Genre: Sports

Graphics & Sound:

The graphical quality of Tennis Masters Series is arguably equal to that of the great EA sports games. The rendered intro is nicely done, showing all the exciting aspects of tennis in less than a minute. The stadiums are all modeled after their real life counterparts, and modeled well. The players themselves don't look as smooth from far away as they do up close, but their movements are lifelike and very fluid. There isn't much variety in the player's faces, but what their mug lacks is more or less made up for in their clothes. Before each match, you can decide on how your player's shirt, shorts, shoes, and racquet are going to look, and there are plenty of styles to choose from.

As in real tennis, no music will be heard during the match. Instead, the music is played during the selection menus and whatnot. Though not memorable, the tracks they provide won't harm your ears any. The sound effects are crisp and seem to have been taken right out of a TV broadcast of a tennis match. The sound of sneakers scuffling will vary depending on what surface is being played on, and the shouts of the referee will break the near silence of the game from time to time. And let us not forget the crowd, who will ooh and aah as you make daring plays.


Though the graphics have their own flare, the game itself is about as deep as a puddle. And though it does deliver many world class tennis players along with world class tennis, that's all it delivers. Don't expect any more from the game than that.

Modes offered are Exhibition, Season, and Network. The Exhibition will take you through a single match, singles or doubles (that's two or four people playing for you non-tennis types). The Season will take you through a series of tournaments in hopes that you will score enough points to be able to qualify for the championship in Sydney, Australia. And if you find the computer doesn't satisfy your ego, you can play a network game that can handle up to four players.

The names you'll see in the player list might not be familiar to casual fans of the sport, but to the real tennis buff, they'll know that these people are the real thing. You won't find many American names among the (long) list, so you'll have to work with a few of them and see which one has the right skills for your playing style. With three different types of court surfaces and three different playing styles to choose from, you have to be mindful of both variables, along with how your opponent plays.

What the game lacks the most is replay value. The only variety lies within the hordes of tennis players to choose from, but trying to play with every single player will quickly lose its fun factor. But if tennis gets you high, this game should get you fixed for a little while.


The difficulty presents itself in the form of players' skills. Players have their own skills, and depending on which one you choose and who you are facing will decide on the overall difficulty. But there is still a slightly steep learning curve to be passed first in order to get a grip on the game, namely in the control department. The instruction book lacks the explanations needed in order to fully understand the intricacies of the controls, leaving the beginning player to fend for themselves.

Game Mechanics:

With controls being just about everything in tennis, it is sad to see how Tennis Masters Series bogs them down with poor information, along with difficult controls. Serving the ball is probably the easiest part, with a power meter that goes up as you hold down the button. Once the game gets going, though, the chaos begins. There are four different shots you can use, but their explanations are blatantly missing from the instruction book. Trying to figure out which ones to use at the best time will take many hours of practice, with not much to show for it. Aiming your shot is done by pressing the left and right arrows, but they don't say if you just have to hit them or hold them down for more of an angle.

This game is not tailored to the casual tennis fan. Moving your player around is sluggish, and changing directions seems to take forever. Trying to line up for a shot seems to require telepathic abilities, as you are almost always too late to the ball. Diving is possible, and the computer uses that technique liberally, yet your player may do it once in a blue moon.

Tennis Masters Series is a hardcore tennis game that gives no quarter to the people who can't handle its style. Even a tennis freak will be hard pressed to master this game, and if they eventually do, they'll probably be asking themselves afterwards why they did it. Unless you like playing games that give no rewards and offer virtually no sense of accomplishment, stay far away from this one.

-Snow Chainz, GameVortex Communications
AKA Andrew Horwitz

Minimum System Requirements:

350 MHz processor, Windows 95/98/2000/ME, 64 MB RAM, 16 MB video card, 16X CD-ROM, DirectX8, 200 MB Hard Disk space, Sound Blaster compatible sound card

Test System:

Windows 98, 1.4GHz AMD Athlon, GeForce 2 mx 32MB video card, 40 gig hard drive, 56x CD-ROM, 256MB DDR Ram, Sound Blaster Live! sound card, T1 Internet connection

Windows Teenage Lawnmower Windows Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2002

Game Vortex :: PSIllustrated