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Ocean Software Ltd
1990
Sport: Action
£9.99
English
ZX Spectrum 48K
None

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24
Jonathan Davies
Chris Bourne

I thought I'd make the effort to get into the right frame of mind for this one, so off I went to the greengrocer's. Unfortunately, however, my attempts to procure a punnet of the traditional Wimbeldon fruit were met with blank stares - apparently strawberries aren't generally the 'thing' at this time of year. Mind you, I shouldn't have thought tennis games were either, but there seems to be no stopping the people at Ocean now they've got their heart set on this Adidas series. (In the end I had to make do with some strawberry-flavour Tuttle Frutties, although they're not the same really - don't soak up the cream properly for a start.)

So it's a tennis game then? Indeed it is, but it's not quite the same as all the other tennis games that have appeared this year. For a start, it scrolls (huh?), and there are a whole bunch of options that give you various combinations of singles, doubles and two-player games. The box also contains an invitation to join the Adidas Elite, allowing you to 'get closer to your favourite stars, like Steffi Graff, Mark Hughes or Steve Cram', and receive a newsletter three times a year bringing you the latest sporting headlines'. This I declined.

But back to that scrolling business. It all a bit weird for a tennis game, don't you think? After all, tennis courts are pretty small on the whole, and it ought to be possible to fit it all onto the screen at once. Ocean, however, appear to have decided that, as the idea worked so well in Championship Football, perhaps the same principle could be applied to Tie-Break. So what we've got is a window looking onto about a quarter of the court which scrolls to keep up with the ball. This means that your player is only on the screen about half the time, but, as we'll discover later, this isn't too much of a problem.

So how about all these options? Well, before you start you've got to choose between 'Tournament' or 'Practice' modes, which sort of court you'll be playing on (these range from grass to PVC, with some decidedly silly colours for some of them), what weight of racquet you'd like to use (?), who you'd prefer to play against if you're in Practice mode, and whether you'll be playing singles or doubles.

Once out on the court you'll find your range of moves is pretty restricted. In fact, you can't actually move at all. The computer looks after all that, always ensuring that your player is in the right position to knock the ball back over the net. So it doesn't really matter that your player keeps disappearing off the screen. Phew. But what can you actually do? Well, really it's all down to pressing the 'Hit' button occasionally. The computer takes care of forehand and backhand, and all you have to do is arrange to hit the ball at the right moment to send the ball in the right direction. You can vary things a bit with stop shots, top-spin and lobs, whatever they are, but there's a general feeling that things are a bit out of your hands. You will have to keep an eye on which player is which though. They all look the same, you see, and in a game of doubles it's very easy to forget which side of the court you're playing on and mess everything up.

So, as long as you don't mind the substantial lack of 'player involvement', and the strange purple-skinned people on the loading screen, Tie-Break is a neatly put together and enjoyable game. It's longterm prospects look a little limited, but sports fans should get out there and grab a copy.

A slightly strange but generally enjoyable tennis game (that scrolls).

68%
85%
74%
87%
79%

Banner Text

Here I am, caught in a typically dynamic action pose.

The ball was not out! Umpire, umpire, stick it up your... (Cut that out. Ed)

No, you idiots, you do formation dancing in a swimming pool, not on a tennis court.

Mmm. Never say they didn't give you a choice.

Tennis, eh? Well, two can play at that game!

Screenshot Text

Here I am, caught in a typically dynamic action pose.

The ball was not out! Umpire, umpire, stick it up your... (Cut that out. Ed)

No, you idiots, you do formation dancing in a swimming pool, not on a tennis court!

Mmm. Never say they didn't give you a choice.

Tennis, eh? Well, two can play at that game!