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OCEAN Amiga £24.99 * Joystick

Just picture the scene. The bird song, the smell of fresh-cut grass, the swish of the rackets, the strawberries and the swearing of an angry tennis star. It can only be found within the excitement of a professional tennis tournament.

If you've ever wanted to venture out on the court against the world's best players, or even just missed the chance to get a ticket to the Wimbledon final, then here is a chance for you to taste that big match excitement for yourself thanks to Ocean's latest sports tie in.

Tie Break pits you as a world class player taking part in a variety of international competitions, from the lush green lawns of the British Open at Wimbledon to the harsh heat and plastic courts of the Davis Cup.

You can opt to play solo or as part of a team of up to sixteen players - any number of which can be computer controlled. Once you've selected the team lacings you can choose to play in one of the world's top tournaments, each with their own type of court and playing conditions. Then you select the type of racket you prefer and it's off to the match.

Within the game itself, the computer moves your player into position to play the shot automatically - all you have to do is set the type of shot, along with the power and timing necessary to place the ball where you want it in your opponent's court. The type of shot is selected by moving the joystick in a relative direction, the longer you hold the position the more powerful the shot, and by hitting the shot early or late you can control the direction in which the shot is returned. Holding the fire button down while returning smashes the ball with extra power - which can be very useful for hammering those clever-clear lobbed shots past your hapless, stranded opponents. Hawhaw!

GRAPHICS AND SOUND

One of Tie Break's main strengths is the atmosphere evoked by the graphics and sound effects. The appearance is very impressive, with some smooth animation and excellently drawn backdrops to portray the action. The sound consists of realistic bouncing ball and crowd noises, interspersed with some superbly sampled umpire calls. The intro music (despite a promising start) is a rather silly affair, with some particularly kitsch "Deuce" samples belting out at odd intervals. However, all in all the presentation is some of the best seen in any computer tennis game released.

LASTING INTEREST

Getting to grips with the control system is easier than expected, so you can get into actually playing the matches without too much hassle. The wide ranging game options - such as racket type and playing surface - and the long list of opponents means that you have a long way to go before you can consider yourself a master at the game.

JUDGEMENT

Right from the superb loading screen and well-drawn presentation pieces, it's obvious that a lot of work has gone into making Tie Break an impressive-looking and polished tennis simulation. Couple this with the smooth and realistic gameplay and what do you get? One of the most polished tennis simulations available. The pace and feel of the game perfectly captures that centre-court atmosphere and should have tennis fans throwing their rackets around in typical bolshie tennis star fashion!



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Wer erinnert sich noch an "Passing Shot", den totalen Tennis-Flop mit hektischen Ballwechseln, mieser Grafik und besch...eidener Spielbarkeit? Starbyte hat das Konzept dieses Tennis-Traumas angegriffen - und ein erstklassiges Game daraus gemacht!

Allein der Titelsound ist schon fast das Geld wert: Die Zuschauer geben originalgetreue Geräusche von sich, der Schiedsrichter ruft freundlich, aber bestimmt "Quiet, please!", und der Amiga intoniert dazu eine fetzige Stereo-Melodie. Ein Ohrenschmaus und eine gelungene Idee, nur leider nicht die von Starbyte! Die Bochumer haben sich da sehr deutlich durch den Anfangssound von "Great Courts" inspirieren lassen - na ja, so ein kleiner kreativer Übergriff kommt im harten Software-Geschäft schon mal vor! Aber schreiten wir zum eigentlichen Spiel: Dank eines tollen Vier-Spieler-Adapters können sich (bei einem Doppel) gleich vier Computer-Cracks zur gleichen Zeit die Bälle um die Ohren schlagen. Allerdings muss man das Teil gesondert bestellen, was ca. 10,- DM und ein bisschen Tinte zum Ausfüllen des beiliegenden Bestellkärtchens kostet. Wer lieber als Solist auf den Platz geht, lässt den/die anderen Match-Teilnehmer einfach vom Computer steuern.

Neben einem kleinen Privat-Wettkampf ist es natürlich auch möglich , in internationalen Turnieren, wie U.S. Open, French Open oder Wimbledon and den Start zu gehen. Um dort nicht gleich in den ersten Runden auszuscheiden, sollte man aber zuerst ein paar Trainingsspiele gegen den Computer absolvieren.

Vor jedem Match wählt man einen von sechs verschiedenen Schlägern, bestimmt den Bodenbelag (Gras, Kunststoff, Sand, Beton) und legt die Anzahl der Sätze zum Gewinn fest. Anschließend geht's auf den Court, der den Bildschirm PALmäßig voll ausnutzt. Auf dem Screen sieht man (in der Draufsicht) immer nur den Teil des Platzes, in dem sich der Ball gerade befindet. Die Grafik ist hier schlicht, aber zweckmäßig: Das Netz ist durch einen Strich dargestellt, der Bodenbelag wird durch ungleichmäßige Muster aufgelockert. Grafisch am aufwendigsten sind die Tennis-spieler gestaltet, deren erfreulich flüssig animierte Bewegungen das Herz jedes Bildschirm-Athleten höher schlagen lassen. Links am Rand sitzt der Schiedsrichter und gibt den aktuellen Spielstand in digitalisierter Sprache zum besten.

Mit dem Joystick schlägt man Top Spin, Slice oder Schmetterbälle, ganz nach Bedarf. Der Spieler braucht sich dabei nur auf einzelnen Schlagvarianten konzentrieren, die lästige Laufarbeit übernimmt der Computer. Die Steuerung ist zwar nuancereich, nur leider auch sehr gewöhnungsbedürftig. Hat man aber die Funktionsweise erst einmal begriffen, kommt wirklich Spielspaß auf. Meiner Ansicht nach ist Tie Break nicht ganz so gelungen wie "Great Courts" den Tennis-Flop "Passing Shot" schlägt es aber locker 6:0! (C. Borgmeier)



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OCEAN
£24.95

For the first time in what seems like forever, a sports simulation has appeared that doesn't claim to be the most realistic thing since HDTV. Which is just as well because realistic it ain't. What it is, however, is the Kick Off of tennis games.

Like many others the game is viewed from above along a vertically scrolling court with the ball increasing and decreasing in size to give some indication of height. In previous games this has caused problems in regards to aligning yourself with the ball.
This difficulty is now obsolete thanks to auto-positioning, a canny new system that moves your player into the right position to hit the oncoming ball. All you have to take care of is choosing the shot, power and direction which isn't quite as easy as it sounds.

The game is fast. Very fast. Quick thinking and fast reflexes are the order of the day. Even though the controls are simple, it's still a difficult game to play. Timing is the key to the game, as the direction the ball travels away from you is determined by the position of the bat. For example, if the ball hits the bat when the bat is 'flat' (parallel to the net) the ball will travel straight up the court. As the bat moves fairly quickly, judging your swing takes practice. Indeed, in one game against Mark Patterson it took almost two sets before either of us could successfully return a serve.

Graphically simple, the game features nothing more than a few bright and cute sprites and a small scrolling court. The visuals serve their purpose in creating the feel of a fun game, rather than aiming for realism. One thing that struck me as odd about the game is the fact that the ball boys are twice the size of the players.

Fast, frantic and fun are just three adjectives that apply to Tie Break. Entertaining, exciting and playable are three more. Do not miss.



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Amiga reviewPaul: There'll be no escape from the sport this summer. There's barely a chance to play half the footie sims on the market before it's time to put on a silly T-shirt and reach for the tennis games.

Reach for Tie Break and you'll find yourself looking at an overhead view of one of the international courts. If the view strikes you as a bit unusual wait until yio try to get to grips with the control system. Tie Break must be one of the few joystick games where you never use the fire button. All the control is in the... er... stick. Once mastered this is quite effective and more realistic than pressing fire.

Another rather nifty feature is the multi-player option. If you're lucky enough to own a joystick adaptor you'll be able to accommodate up to four players in a game. This is a lot more fun than playing against the computer.

However, unfortunately the game is really let down by the view. At any one time you can only see three quarters of the court. Whenever one player is serving or returning from the base line the other player is out of sight. This is less than helpful.

This strange perspective combined with a really dodgy soundtrack means that despite some good feature Tie Break doesn't quite make the grade. This is a pity, since it's got the makings of something really rather tasty.

  • Tie Break from Starbyte/Ocean costs £24.99 for ST or Amiga and is out in late June.

Tie Break logo

Starbyte/Ocean, Amiga £24.99

You cannot be serious: another tennis game?! Yes, and every one seems to be viewed from a new angle. Starbyte's utilises a scrolling, Passing Shot-style overhead view with the ball getting bigger as it rises (Stiffy Innuendos Inc).

Matches can be singles (against one of sixteen computer opponents or another human) or doubles (allowing four players to compete using the Microdeal joystick adapter). The Tournament option allows you to play in several major international competitions including, of course, Wimbledon. The World Tournament option has the sixteen players (computer or human) playing round Robin (eh? - Rob H).

The action is similar in some ways to Palace's International 3-D Tennis with the moving automatically towards the path of the ball. Pushing the joystick in one of four directions (for topspin, stop volley, lob, or normal shot) causes the player to hold the racket back, ready to swing forward when the joystick is recentred - timing determines the direction of the shot.


Phil King After winning about half a dozen points in a whole match against the computer I felt like smashing my joystick. This game is difficult. Okay, getting to the ball's no problem but you need exact timing to play good shots: slicing the ball time and time again into the net or out is so frustrating. Thankfully, the two- and four-player modes are fun, and the sampled speech scoring adds atmosphere.
Scorelord This reminds me a lot of Passing Shot, but with a few extras such as the tournaments. Some frustration is avoided by the automatically positioning for each shot, but you only have four shots at your disposal with little control over their strength. The scrolling court is also a bit disorientating. Still, I managed to beat Phil with my superior tactics and found the game more playable against puny humans than the super-efficient computer players.


Tie Break logo CDTV

Wie wäre es jetzt zur Abwechslung mal mit ein bißchen Leibesertüchtigung? Da kommt diese zweieinhalbjährige Tennissimulation gerade recht, wurde doch für das CDTV ungewohnt gründlich überarbeitet: Es tönt nicht nur neuer Sound aus den Boxen, es umschmeichelt nicht nur eine viel vollmundigere Sprachausgabe die Ohren, nein, zusätzlich hat man sogar die Optik deutlich geschönt!

Als Kehrseite der Medaille ist die Steuerung per Remote-Control kein Zuckerschlecken, aber man kann ja einen Trackball anschlie ßen, und sooo toll war sie ursprünglich mit dem Stick auch nicht. Der CD-Boris darf seine Leistungen via RAM-Cards verewigen, das Startgeld hält sich im Rahmen - insgesamt geht die Flizkugel hier also durchaus in Ordnung.
(Starbyte. ca 99,- DM).