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.
Great Courts 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.
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. 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!