"In a genre primarily dominated by the kerfuffle that is American sports, Tennis has often been grossly overlooked and ignored. The excitement of a good hard game of grid-something-or-other has proven so alluring that classics such as the NES’s “Tennis” and the TG-16’s “Davis Cup Tennis” don’t get the recognition they deserve. If recreated correctly, a game of console Tennis is one of the greatest things in life, and Davis Cup Tennis has a lot of good things going for it. "
In a genre primarily dominated by the kerfuffle that is American sports, Tennis has often been grossly overlooked and ignored. The excitement of a good hard game of grid-something-or-other has proven so alluring that classics such as the NES’s “Tennis” and the TG-16’s “Davis Cup Tennis” don’t get the recognition they deserve. If recreated correctly, a game of console Tennis is one of the greatest things in life, and Davis Cup Tennis has a lot of good things going for it.
Recreating the actual tennis world with a touch of subtlety, DCT gives you the chance to step into the shoes of that particular era’s great players and win some prestigious tournaments. All of the stars from the late 80’s/early 90’s pop up complete with rankings, and alongside them a ragtag bunch of original characters led by their champion, Shlomo. You can make your own character, complete with nationality, and assign them points in particular areas to bolster your own strengths - serving, smashing, etc. Once this ordeal is over we can crack out the adidas paraphernalia get the new balls rolling!
You can participate in a variety of match types; exhibition matches, one of the four grand slams (I recommend Australia), the Davis Cup itself, or a tournament that sends the player on a hybrid adventure encompassing the other modes in a quest to become the number one player. If the singles life is becoming too easy or is getting too hard one can take on a training drill, or hook up with a doubles partner and play some two-on-two action. Rest assured, these game styles, complete with 4-player capabilities, will have you coming back for another serve.
It’s all very well and good having a plethora of fancy options, but even being able to select from the 2,000 past Davis Cup players and the Channel 7 commentary team won’t make a poor game more interesting. Davis Cup Tennis stands up to the gameplay test admirably, proving to be a challenging and addictive play. Perhaps the most impressive factor of this sporting title is the close attention paid by it to the real game; not in terms of “UPDATED ROSTERS WITH 20 NATIONAL LEAGUES AND WORLD CUP QUALIFICATION” but in the way it has taken its limited amount of tournaments and given them a proper tennis feel.
Simple things such as the variation in court surfaces and the way they affect the ball’s speed and bounce make people feel as if they’re really rolling around in the clay of Roland Garros. This also applies to the most important aspect - ball physics. It’s easy enough to just belt the ball back over the net, but by using the height and depth of the ball, and your player’s distance from it, nuances in the shot making soon rear their head. These features are accentuated by a nifty control system, one that works like a charm. Button I will swing the racquet, and at the time of impact whichever arrow key you’re holding will signify the direction the ball will be hit in. This one or two button style enables you to be able to play all the tennis shots - volleys, lobs, drop shots - it’s all incredibly simple and turns DCT into an immediately accessible title.
With all of the different world-class players, and their differing game styles, one is sure to find something that fits their challenge range. The newbie will find themselves jumping down the throat of a Shlomo or a Carl second-serve, whilst the most battle wearied player will always find a good challenge in the intimidating figure of Boris. The speed can be varied, heating up or cooling down the action, so there is no excuse for not being able to find a challenging match.
The graphics of DCT are good enough; realistic animations coming from the players, proper court colours and a fairly animated crowd bring the excitement of a Davis Cup rubber to life. Just don’t get distracted by the umpire’s rotating head (it scared the pants off of me). The sound is even better than the looks! The soundtrack presented during the menus is fine enough, but once you get into the game all hell breaks loose! Grunting players, cheering spectators, NATIONAL ANTHEMS (!) and a lively umpire’s voice all make an appearance and round out one of the best non-physical tennis experiences one can have.
Overall, Davis Cup Tennis is a game that is perfect for fans of the sport. Showing an unprecedented amount of attention to detail, it’s difficult to find any major chinks in the armour. The AI of your opponents encourages the development of a well-rounded game, and you’re a damn fool if you walk away before experiencing the full extent of the games beauty. It’s just too hard to double fault! (That was a pun, not a criticism of the game’s service methods).
NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- Topsy-turvy ranking system (occasionally)
- Unwieldy opponent AI (sporadically)
Dedicated to Patrick Rafter: A hero trapped in the body of a muppet
Community review by kingbroccoli (April 25, 2004)
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