Tennis eh? Summer, well-kept lawns, strawberry's and cream, short skirts, silly headbands, new balls please, "Out? Are you serious? The ball was in!". Endearing image isn't it? This is simply Tennis on the Neo Geo Pocket.
There aren't many modes of play here, exhibition or Tournament or 2 player. Not too bad. There's also a fairly good selection of characters and some hidden ones to discover. But that's it. There are quite a few tournament cups to win, but the competitions remain the same, just the protagonists differ from event to event.
The graphics are quite nice, the courts are all based around an environmental theme and change colour a few times as the matches progress. A nice touch. The characters are well drawn and remain distinct despite their small on screen presence. Particularly good characters are Amiba a gelatinous blob who morphs into a racket to hit the ball, ace!
The sound is very annoying, each court has its own tune and the sound effects are hard to make out over the music, which is a shame as the sound effects of a tennis game really help gel the atmosphere, never mind.
The controls are very simple and easy to get to grips with. The joystick handles the movement of your character, the A button performs a topspin shot whilst the B button performs lobs. Shots are quite easy to place using a combination of the Joystick and the buttons.
The game is fun. It's quite difficult to get a Tennis game right. Only Super Tennis, on the SNES, and Anna Kournikova Smash Court Tennis, on the PlayStation, getting it right in my book. And Pocket Tennis fits right in there. The controls are great and it "feels" right. Unfortunately the games shortcomings are the CPU controlled opponents. They are so easy to beat. I won't give exact details, but once you suss it out, no tournament is beyond your reach, and no opponent will give you much trouble. It's a real shame as so many area's of the game are right, it just scores a Double Fault on CPU artificial intelligence. Marmite probably has more brain cells than the opponents in this game. It's not that this is a bad game, despite this, it can be great fun against a CPU player. Of course if you have a pal with the game and a link cable, this is a sure-fire hit, but seeing as we are quite a small band, the chances of this are slim. If you can, try before you buy. -Bradders