Therwunk! Tennis eh? No longer a game for delicate girls in short skirts. No longer a jolly-hockeysticks, never-mind-who-wins sort of affair. These days it's a gladitorial battle between two hyped-up short-fused mega athletes; all sweat and swearing. Much better.
If you fancy the chance of playing 64 of the world's top players, scooping a big bag of cash and maybe even winning Wimbledon, Palace's 3D INTERNATIONAL TENNIS is the game for you.
Where many tennis games in the past have looked rather elegant and played like a daisy-chain championship, 3D Tennis offers the excitement of centre-court Wimbledon action, coupled with the fiscal lure of the major tournaments around the world.
Now, trying to capture the thrills and spills of a high-adrenalin tennis match with men made out of wire frame triangles may seem like a bit of a tall order, but Palace has come up trumps.
There are four skill levels available; Amateur, Semi-Pro, Pro and Ace. Choosing a higher skill level gives you more control over your shots. It also means that you have to do more work if you're to make a successful hit.
On Amateur level, the computer serves automatically once you've hit fire. Each time the ball is returned by your opponent (computer or human controlled) your man will flash indicating when to play your shot. Until you've got to grips with judging distances, it's an absolute boon.
Semi Pro level retains the flashing utility, but instead of an auto-serve, you have the option to determine the angle and strength of the shot.
Professional only retains the serve control while Ace offers both serve control and a spin facility (forward on the stick for topspin, back for backspin).
Why, then, should one bother to weigh in against Professional level opponents, with relatively little computer support? Why not stay as an amateur and take all the help you can get? Money. That's why. Unless you're prepared to play at the higher levels, you won't get into the big tournaments, and so you can't scoop the big prize money.
In fact, quite separate to the on-court action, there's a strategy game incorporated; you dart all over the world, picking the tournaments which will pay best (is it worth entering a match with a huge first prize but relatively little cash until you reach the semi finals if you're only starting your professional career?) and gradually amassing a huge pot of cash.
The gameplay and graphics (though simplistic) are superb. The animation of the characters is fab. And the gameplay is simply the business. You can determine the computer's ability should you find it a unequal to yours, and even the most rank amateur alter the parameters to get a damned good match.
3D Tennis is utterly superb. It's packed with action, but still retains some skillful elements. Go out and buy it, and you'll be on the centre court at Wimbledon before you can say "chalk dust".
Reviewer: Jim Douglas
An Ace! Tennis turned into a skilful blast. A graphics hit too.
And Douglas takes a long look down the court and prepares to Ace his opponent...
What a match! Love all in the first game of the first set. Who knows what thrills lie ahead?
One of the variety of close-up views available. Nice to look at, impossible to play.