I don't quite know what's happening this month that has sparked off this series of tennis game (two this month, including Passing Shot) but I do know that Wimbledon finished ages ago. A bit behind the times these programmer types.
Pro Tennis Tour takes the real rock and roll lifestyle of tennis, and sticks you slap bang in the middle of it. You are given a world ranking, and the idea is to improve your ranking by taking part in all the major tennis tournaments of the world against computer simulations of real players such as Ivan Lendl and Bert Becker (or is it Bob?). Obviously, the higher the player ranks, the better they are, and there are no priority restrictions on who you get to play, which is probably how I was unlucky enough to play van Lendl (seeded No.1) in my first match.
Before you play each tournament, you are greeted with a lovely picture of a famous landmark from the host country (England has Tower Bridge, USA has the Statue Of Liberty etc). Then you are pitted in the first of the three sets you have to win to move onto the next round of the tournament.
The match itself is viewed from your end of the court, just like the service sequence from Passing Shot, only in this game the view stays that way. Service is a matter of tapping the fire button to lob the ball and moving a crosshair to decide in which direction you want the ball to go. After that, the only real control you have over hitting the ball is just pressing fire. Your player has swing fore or backhand depending on which side of the ball he's on. You can tell where your opponent is going to return the ball by a little cross that appears on the spot where you have to stand if you want to hit the ball back. This, you might think, makes the game a lot easier. You're right.
The only real problem is that you can't move and swing at the same time. The bat takes an annoyingly long time to swing, which means that to stand a chance of returning the ball, you have to be on the spot a long time before the ball gets there - you've just got enough time in most situations. It makes the game annoying if your timing is out, and the fact is that a lot of the time your bat goes through the ball and it bounces between your legs. The ball, not the bat.
Graphics and sound are great. The animation of the character's is smooth and believable, and the spot FX are very clearly sampled. It's just a shame that the game they back up doesn't quite match. Almost but not quite. However it's still great fun, and well worth checking out. I don't know whether I'd rather play this or sleep with Gady Sabatini!
CU Amiga, October 1989, p.49
Ubi Soft, Amiga £24.99
here are several things you need for a good game of tennis: a glorious summer afternoon, a good court to play on, a racket (so stick some Alice Cooper on your ghettoblaster!), and balls (the less said here, the better!). And in between game, you will need a cool, refreshing drink (sod the barley water, get out the XXXX!). Finally, you will need an opponent who likes loud music and lager, and who is also supremely fit - not an easy task! So instead, why not stay indoors like all good armchair sportspeople, and play Pro Tennis Tour, a tennis simulation from French software house, Ubi Soft?
You can play against either the computer (there are three skill levels) or another lager-loving head banger on a court viewed from the usual TV-angle (from above and behind one of the players). A novel technique is used to control the direction of shots (including the serve). As you are about to hit the ball, a yellow cross appears on the court - this must be positioned where you want the ball to go. When a particularly brilliant winning shot is played, the replay mode shows the entire rally on a spinning miniature 3-D court!
The cross also indicates to your opponent where to stand to return your shot. This sounds terribly easy, but with the blistering pace at which the game is played, such a simple task becomes very tricky. So to helping budding Boris Beckers, the game includes a training machine which can be programmed to churn out balls in six different patterns. There is also a special practice option for serving.
When you think you can hit the ball more often than not, it is time to take on the computer players in the four Grand Slam tennis tournaments, played at the world’s most famous venues: Melbourne, Paris, Wimbledon, and Flushing Meadow. Starting off at 64th in the world, you can improve your ranking by winning matches. And as it is likely to take a long time to get to No.1, there is a useful save facility.
Zzap, Issue 55, November 1989, p.74