More of a simulation than an action game, with a multimedia showcase (the game's got thousands of mini-videos, voiceovers, etc.).
You select one of 9 nations to represent and get to play singles against a variety of opponents (no doubles play) in either practice mode, quick match, or tournament. Practice is pretty self-explanatory, quick match allows you to select your opponent (among 4 fictional players) and the type of court (concrete, grass, clay). While on tournament mode you select a host city from around the world and start playing from the quarter-finals on.
You view the action from a 3rd-person perspective and in-game graphics consist of 2-d rotoscoped-animated sprites.
As the name suggests this is a tennis game, which really isn't my cup of tea. But the game is nice enough to play once in a while, even for people like myself who aren't tennis fans.
At the start of the game, there is a menu where you can choose options for game play, save, load or quit. When you wish to quit while playing, just press 'Esc' which will return you to the options screen. Here, you can practice your serve or practice against the machine, start a match or join a tournament. Once you've chosen the game play options, you're immediately standing on a tennis court with racket in hand, ready to start hitting that ball.
You move with direction keys and serve with number 1. You can set your move to manual or to automatic, but to be honest I haven't felt the difference. You must serve the ball or receive it. You can hit either defensively or offensively. Of course, the object of the game is to win all matches and, eventually, a tournament.
If you're not playing in a tournament, you can choose one of four players to play against - one on one. You can also choose one of three different courts: London - grass, Paris - clay, or New York - cement. The game also has a two-player option where you can play against a friend. If you decide to play in tournament mode, you can choose a host city from around the world and enter at the quarterfinals.
The graphics run smoothly and are nice enough but won't leave you gasping for air. The sounds are ok, too, but nothing special. You hear the cheers from the crowd, the announcer giving the score and a brief description of your opponent. As well as the sound of the ball being struck and landing on the court, these are the only sounds you'll hear. However, if you decide to quit the match before it's over, you can choose to just watch till the end.
All in all, this game is a nice change from brain stretching adventure and puzzle games, but in my opinion so average that it gets nothing more than a three.
International Tennis Open is a good port of Philip's CD-i game of the same name that sold relatively well on the CD-i but remains unknown on the PC. Billed as a "tennis simulation" (as opposed to an arcade-style game) the game is a fun tennis game that offers excellent multimedia elements including thousands of mini-videos, voice-overs, and dozens of digitized players. You select one of 9 nations to represent, and play singles against a variety of opponents (no doubles play here, unfortunately) in either practice mode, quick match, or tournament. Practice is self-explanatory, quick match allows you to play a quick match against an opponent (chosen from 4 fictional players) and the type of court (concrete, grass, or clay) of your choosing. In tournament mode, you select a host city from around the world and start playing the matches from the quarter-finals upward.
The gameplay itself is fun and easy to control, although like most tennis games, it is often hard to gauge the ball's distance from you. I also find the curved balls very hard to do with joystick and keyboard - presumably they are easier if you have a gamepad. Naturally, player animations (made up of 2D rotoscoped sprites) are not as fluid as polygon-based players in Mindscape's 4D Sports Tennis, but they are more than adequate. The computer player gives a decent challenge in professional mode, and true to its "tennis simulation" billing, the game reasonably models many realistic factors. The ball bounces much higher on a concrete court than grass, for example. Overall, International Tennis Open is a fun tennis game that is hampered by a too-short tournament length and lack of gameplay variety. All computer-controlled players seem to look and play the same, for example, and there is no in-depth record keeping. Recommended.
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International Tennis, IndyCar Racing II, Tennis Elbow, International Rugby League, Jack Nicklaus 5, International Sports Challenge, Fila World Tour Tennis, Jimmy Connors Pro Tennis Tour
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