The great English sporting event of the year. Wimbledon with strawbs 'n cream, is upon us. As with footy games. a spate of tennis releases are here: International 3D Tennis from Palace is the latest.
The time-honoured option screen starts you off. Choose a one or two player game (single matches), or for greater challenge either Tournament or Season mode, plus four skill levels: Novice, Semi-Pro, Pro and Ace.
The difficulty levels greatly affect how the game is played. Many games are frustrating because you can't move fast enough to hit the ball. On Novice level. you don't have to run at all! The computer moves you into position whilst a flashing block tells you when to press the fire button, all you do is decide the power of the shot etc. Whichever option you choose, the game content remains the same: two stick figures stride out onto the court and whack a small yellow ball over a net.
Tournament or Season mode your progress depends on how much dosh you win. If you're knocked out of a match early you only gain a few thousand dollars. If you survive you could be a millionaire and up with the likes of Becker and Lendl before you know it.
The game kicks off with a nice title tune (in 128k mode) and the choice of options is impressive. But the sprites are very basic, small stick men indeed - once you get used to that it's the playability and accuracy of International 3-D Tennis that makes it a real and impressive simulation. Even after Wimbledon you'll be back to play again!
'A very sporty month! I've been playing football all morning and now a relaxing game of tennis. International 3-D Tennis is... different, like tennis in Freescape, the programming method used in Driller and Castle Master. The players look a bit odd - they have triangular heads, bodies made from lines and sway from side to side all the time. The court is also drawn in lines, which can make things difficult to decipher at times. The audio side is really good with tunes galore including a groovy rendition of the TV tennis theme! This is more of a novelty game than one you really get into. I prefer having players look like the real thing! But it you're after a real tennis simulator, this is the best to get!'
NICK ... 76%
A smart simulator, lacking thrill power to make it smashing.