As I write, my washing is dripping on the line. It's been doing this for the past week and I'm fed up with it. By the time it's dry, it will no longer smell of daffodils and lambs, it'll smell of winter damp and slugs, or something. Bleugh! I wouldn't be able to play tennis in it if I wanted to, which I don't. (Eh? Jon) Now is not the time to skip around outside trying to hit a ball, but it might be just the time to load up the Speccy and try out a few volleys. And what should I find in my Speccy but Zeppelin's International Tennis. This could be just the thing for those long, winter evenings.
International Tennis lets you play against a real opponent or a variety of computerised ball buffs. As per usual, you can choose which kind of surface to play on (hard, clay or lawn), whether to go for a single match or a whole tournament, how many sets in a match and the difficulty level. So far, so run of the mill. For International Tennis to be as good as Zeppelin claim, it's going to have to play well.
THE MOMENT OF TRUTH
Hurrah, it plays well! The character sprites are clearly defined and they move smoothly across the court. They're skilful, fast, graceful and right little movers. The choice of moves is such that you can make your player run around like a madman. It all looks quite dangerous actually, there's your player racing up and down slashing his racquet left, right and centre. All it needs is for somebody to run out onto the court and we'd have a real slasherama of a game!
But hey! This is tennis, it's quiet and civilised, right? Erm, well, not in two-player mode. The pace is so fast and it's actually quite difficult so with two-players a nice game of tennis can quickly become a furiously vocal fight to get those balls over the net. Service is the easiest move to play, and it gets more and more difficult from thereon - and this is in easy mode. International Tennis is addictive enough to make you want to play on, so you do get better as you proceed. But there's always a more difficult level and, if you beat the computer opponent at that level, you can always get in a mate who's completely brilliant at computerised tennis. (You can even play doubles with (or against) the Speccy!) But you do need to persevere and the initial difficulties may put some people off. If you like sport sims in general, and tennis sims in particular, this one will give you a very good run for your money.
Uppers: It's fast, it's furious and you can play it with a mate, or five.
Downers: It really is a bit on the difficult side, and there are no points for style!
A game, set and match of International Tennis could be just what you're after.
Tennis - a player's guide
Ye olde English tennis danceLay the crossed racquets on the court and skip around them. Make sure you don't tread on a racquet, this means instant disqualification.Ye olde English beer danceIn which the cup is filled with mead and passed around the court. Make sure you don't fall over, this means instant disqualification.Ye olde English lie-downIn which all those who haven't yet fallen over have a nice quiet lie-down on the court. Make sure you don't forget to wake up, this means instant disqualification.Ye olde English arm wrestleIn which players flex their muscles in preparaion for the game. Do not attempt to break anyone's fingers. This leads to instant disqualification.Ye olde English joystick iconChoose your weapon. Try not to be too violent as this is a very peaceful, English-villagey game. Choose a sword and you'll be disqualified.Ye great English gameAre you ready? Are you steady? Then put racket to ball and go go go! (At last!)
It all happened very suddenly. One minute John was playing a very sedate game of tennis, and the next he was rushing around and saluting Bruce Forsyth. It was odd.
With only fifteen minutes left of the lunch hour, Tompkins Major was determined to finish off his cheese roll. Unfortunately, Freddy Fripper Minor thought it would be incredibly jolly to use the roll as a tennis ball. Cad!
Patricia was a very change girl. From the age of seven her favourite hobby had been to dress up in fishnets and stretch herself out on the grass. She was a very tall girl, with a nice line in dappled suntans.