Virtua Tennis 2
Acclaim's latest moves from the arcades to the PS2.
I was a lover of the arcade game which was simple and inviting with the big name stars in attendance: Venus and Serena, Davenport and Pierce, Henman and Rafter, Kafelnikov and others! The controls were approachable but allowed for development to the level of master tennis player. Will the move to the Playstation 2 be the death of this game? Will it retain its addictive playability? Will it manage to pull any punches that the arcade game lacked? I’m here to root out those answers for you, so here goes. Who hasn’t wanted to step onto Wimbledon’s hallowed turf and win a smashing forecourt volley to clinch the men’s single’s title from Tim Henman? With this game now is your chance. The graphics are simple yet appealing. Seeing replays of your greatest shots is only gratifying due to the realism of the graphics. The defined muscles on the Williams sisters is also hauntingly mesmerising. It was a worry whether in transporting this game to a console it was going to lose some of it’s arcade magic but it really reacts in such a similar way that if you weren’t concentrating you could almost be playing at the arcades. It does, however, possess some very good extras. In this console version you have the option of creating a world tour player. You get to create a male and a female character who are totally unskilled tennis players. You have the godlike ability of creating what these two people look like from facial features, to hair and shirt colour. You are then transported to a map of the world to decide where to base your two players and this will become your place to rest before major tournaments. A calendar will appear which details all the tournaments and you must ascend the rankings by winning singles and doubles tournaments. This is a near impossible task for your unskilled players unless you can train them up, and this is where the good bit comes in. You have many different and interesting training options from trying to kill a moving robot to increase your volleying capabilities to serving balls at a funfair-like carousel to improve your serves. These games turn your player into a superstar and in no time you’ll be beating off your opponents in straight sets. It is a real shame then, that Acclaim couldn’t manage to include the ability to play full games as the maximum number of games you can play only amounts to one set. It is a small fault with a generally pleasing game. It definitely managed to keep the arcade version’s playability and it is a surprisingly sociable game with the four-player mode. It also pulls a few decent punches, with the world-tour mode which is infuriatingly addictive. This is an honest adaptation of this modern arcade classic.