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Tennis 2K2 (Dreamcast) artwork

Tennis 2K2 (Dreamcast) review

"The key is to find out when to use each of these techniques, as a successful strategy will wipe out your opponents easily. If the ball is volleyed high enough, your player (or the computer--yikes!) will automatically jump up (when you press a button, obviously), and spike it. This adds another level of strategy, forcing you to control your volleys so they stay low, and don't sail up high leading to your ultimate doom."

The Sega Sports titles have always been fierce competitors for EA's games, mostly focusing on the major sports such as American football, basketball, and hockey (although NHL2K was a feeble attempt, the Genesis hockey games were awesome). But for the 2K2 series, Sega decided to add another wicked sport to the mix, and brought Tennis 2K2 to the Dreamcast, and the result is an addictive and fun title, full of good-time arcade action, and an overall good time.

Developed as a sequel of sorts to last year's Virtua Tennis, Tennis 2K2 takes the game of tennis, adds in an arcade-like gameplay formula--almost like an advanced version of Pong--and brings a cast of the world's top players to fit the roster. And while there's an Exhibition mode, where you can play a full match in singles or doubles, the main game takes place in the World Tour mode, which lets you create a male and a female tennis pro, and attempt to take them to the number one overall rank in the ''Sega Pro Tennis'' circuit.

The assembly of the tennis pros is well-balanced, albeit small. And with a lack of such big-name stars as Pete Sampras and Anna Kournikova (sigh), many people will only notice a few names, although more than likely recognizing Venus and Serena Williams, Monica Seles, and Tommy Haas. Still, the absence of a few players, as well as the emotional heartbreak that leaving out Anna K. will cause in every teenage male that plays this game, leaves you feeling cheated, although, it doesn't affect at all the true strength of this game--the hardcore tennis action!

There are several types of courts, such as hard, carpet, and clay, and each one affects how the ball bounces, and how well the players move about. Through the World Tour mode, you can also buy different types of rackets with different attributes, and occasionally shoes that work best on a particular turf. In the actual game, you start by serving, where a power meter is displayed, and your goal is to time it so you reach the ''MAX'' level for the best serve. Pressing 'A' is a normal stroke, while 'B' is a slicer, and 'X' is a lob. The key is to find out when to use each of these techniques, as a successful strategy will wipe out your opponents easily. If the ball is volleyed high enough, your player (or the computer--yikes!) will automatically jump up (when you press a button, obviously), and spike it. This adds another level of strategy, forcing you to control your volleys so they stay low, and don't sail up high leading to your ultimate doom. There are a couple issues, though, that do detract from the experience, and are simple programming problems that could have been easily solved (except for one). First, when playing doubles, oftentimes my partner just squats on the court while the ball bounces right in front of him, and he pays no notice, and doesn't seem to care about giving up a point that could have been prevented. But maybe this is because he actually did try, and the unresponsive control (my next gripe) just got to him. Oftentimes I line up for a perfect stroke, press the button, and taunt my opponent, only to curse at the game for not reacting to my button push. ''You stupid idiot, I pressed the freakin' button!'' I yell, but alas, it still has no brain. This is an awful problem, and detracts from the experience greatly. Also, when playing through a match, the ball often will sail off the endline on a hard volley, and while it was frustrating at first, I realized that pressing towards your side of the court when volleying will cause a soft impact, and thus reduces the chances of it sailing out of bounds. This is an awesome addition, and adds to the gameplay, and also adds to the strategy. Overall, a wonderful gameplay engine that, despite a few problems, is so darn addictive that no matter how frustrated you get, you keep playing.

As I said before, the World Tour mode lets you create your own characters and take them through the world tour (duh). And although Anna is still absent, it is still easy to create a character that is hotter (impossible, you say?) than Anna herself. Whee! Anyway, while you advance through various tournaments restricted to certain rankings, you can train your character with various minigames, and work on your stroke, volley, serving, and footwork. All of them are fun and creative, and are almost as addictive as the actual tennis. However, there aren't enough minigames! Hitmaker tried to make up for this by adding higher levels to the minigames, but it just isn't the same. Also, there are stores where you can sign with doubles partners and buy new rackets and apparel. And there's also your home, where you can rest before a tournament, and change your gear. This mode is a lot of fun, and is where most of the game takes place.

The graphics are nice for a last-generation DC game, and feature some of the smoothest animations on the console. Also, the stars look like their real-life counterparts, and the courts feature nice textures, and wonderful, detailed backgrounds. The crowd merely claps (all they really do in tennis), and are pseudo-3D sprites.

The sound is full of nothing special, yet also nothing bad. The announcers are sometimes annoying, but only say the score, and who's serving. The sound effects, however, are excellent, with pops and squeaks and grunts and...squeaks. Yay!

Overall, Tennis 2K2 is a worthwhile experience that is a great addition to anyone's DC library, and the arcade action is so addictive and fun that you can't go wrong. Definitely a must-have, and at least give it a rental, folks.

Knux's avatar
Staff review by Zack M (Date unavailable)

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