Dateline : 9th November 2011


With a craving for barley water running through his veins, REtroBear tackles one of the best sports games out there as well as one of his own pet hates. You’ll see why underneath he is no member of the Andy Murray Fan Club….


If anyone makes any reference to new balls or balls being out there will be trouble

I hate tennis. Its not really a sport to me, more of a minority one that should be tucked away on some obscure satellite sports channel where no one knows it is there. Sport should never be elitist but the only seemingly good tennis players we Brits seem to produce are either toffs, Scots or Canadians. My hatred doesn’t end there – for me tennis is equally dull to play as it is to watch and besides, the only tennis courts round here are used for football.

So why on earth would I even dream of loading up the original Virtua Tennis game on the Dreamcast ? Well having played the arcade original from Sega and been impressed by just how easy it was to pick up and play it seemed only fair to give it the benefit of the doubt. In one of those “too ridiculous to be true” moments I actually found myself enjoying it. This is tennis, Jim but not as we know it.


The great appeal about Virtua Tennis is you don’t have to master a silly number of power shots or specialist moves. All you do is run around the court, position yourself and press the button for the sort of shot you want. That’s it. Get more points than the geezer at the other end and you win. How simple is that ? You can play as one of eight star players, well they were stars then as it was 1999/2000 when it came out, and each player is beautifully recreated to match their real life counterparts. The graphics throughout are fabulous with the courts and stadia in particular quite jaw dropping.


This being Henman you just know he's going to choke on that point....


My only criticism of the game is the fact that although the controls are great it doesn’t take an awful lot to master the game. One of the real failings of the whole series is that the intelligence of the game doesn’t have the means to punish you. For example it may seem you might not make the shot but for some reason you do. That takes some of the realism away, but unless you are sat there drinking barley water and swapping ends with your TV when you play its not going to matter a huge deal.


Overall Virtua Tennis is a cracker to look at, a joy to play and you’ll keep plugging at it until you conquer the tennis world. Just don’t take it too seriously.


Very few sports games have looked as good as this and thankfully it plays pretty well too


VERDICT : Better than a Wimbledon fortnight and a bucket full of strawberries, Virtua Tennis serves and volleys the opposition to Court No.19, leaving it all alone on Centre Court.


NOTES : Plenty of availability with Amazon still selling their original stock at £9.99, though you can get used copies for £1.98. On eBay boxed copies will set you back about £5.00 which is pretty much the average price to pay. Don’t forget both the XBOX 360, PS3 and Wii have VT3 and VT4 available for them if you fancy playing with some more up to date players.


UP NEXT : Truly a retro experience as we go back in time to the 1940’s and Rocket Ranger on the NES.