Great Courts II (aka Pro Tennis Tour II)

Title           Great Courts II (aka Pro Tennis Tour II)
Game Type       Sports
Company         Blue Byte/UBI Soft
Players         1 to 4 (with adaptor)
HD Installable  Yes
Compatibillity  All (boot with ECS on A1200)
Submission      Joachim Froholt Profiled Reviewer

This game came with my A600. Unfortunately, it took quite some time before
I realized what a gem it was. This was probably because the only other
tennis game I had ever played was a crappy Commodore 64 one, so I didn't
bother learning to play this game. But one day when I was really, really
bored, I started playing this game. And then I was hooked.

Tennis games can be really difficult to get to grips with because of the
fast pace needed to make them fun (I know how it feels to play a slow
tennis game. It is NOT fun). While GCII (I'll just call it that from now
on) is no exception, there is a junior mode available which makes playing
very easy, because the computer takes care of your characters movements.
You just have to press the button to hit the ball. This isn't much fun,
though. No, the best way to learn the game is to team up with a computer
player and play doubles against two computers. This way, you don't need to
do all the work. As you're two, you won't have to run so much either,
because the computer player will guard about half your playing field. If
you're still having problems, you can always play in "dirty mode", which
is you and a computer (or human) player versus a lone opponent.

GCII is stacked with different options. You can play as a male or a female
(the style of play is notably different if you play as a female), you
can play on asphalt, clay or grass courts (again, there are notable
differences) and you can even train with a ball machine. There are two
difficulty settings, plus a special character mode, where you have to
take skills into account. There are plenty of player statistics to
show your progress.

If you play in character mode, you probably want to play an entire season.
When you start a new season, you must choose which events you want to
attend during the year. Some events have tournaments for both singles and
doubles, while others are only for singles. Different tournaments pay
different amount of money if you succeed, but if you choose to play
a tournament with very high prizes, you can be sure your opponents are
tough. You can play several seasons with the same character if you wish
(and you probably do).

Playing GCII is great fun. The controls work perfectly (but be sure that
your joystick do to!), with just the right amount of skill involved.
The way you hit the ball is determined by your position in relation
to the ball. You can also push the joystick to the sides to send the ball
off into that direction or push up and down to hit a short ball or high
ball (depending on whether you're in the top or the bottom of the screen).
Again, you have just the right amount of control over the outcome of a
stroke. The control you have of the serves are just right, too. Serving
is quite difficult in the beginning, but you'll soon get the hang of it.

The graphics are nice and the game animates very smoothly.
There are no 3d graphics, but the court is drawn in a sort of 3d way.
You see the action from behind the closest player (just like in most other
tennis games). The music is quite well done, with a good theme tune and
a nice menu tune. The sound effects during play are great too, with
realistic bouncing noises. You can also hear the referee speaking and
the crowd applauding.

The best thing about GCII is the addictiveness. I think I'll go as far as
to call Great Courts II the Sensible Soccer of tennis games. It is _that_
addictive. GCII is brilliant in one player mode and even better when two
equal human players meet. I have never tested the 3 or 4 player modes,
but they must be great.

The only thing I must warn you about, though, is that staring at
a tiny ball bouncing up and down a computer screen all day will really
strain your eyes. I remember being quite shocked when I saw myself in the
mirror after the first day of solid play - my eyes were almost totally
red!! If you're going out with other people on a saturday night, do not
play this all day (unless you want to scare everybody off)!

Category list.

Alphabetical list.