As you've probably surmised, the hilariously-named Tennis Elbow is yet another tennis game. Unfortunately, it arrived a little too late. If we'd seen it before Pete Sampras Tennis 97, we might have been more accepting - purely because there wouldn't have been any decent tennis games around. Now it suffers by comparison.
Accentuate the positive
It has plenty of gameplay options, including tournament or one-off matches, different playing surfaces (although they don't seem to affect the bounce of the ball in any way), singles or doubles play, along with the mysterious (but interesting-sounding) 'dirty down' or 'dirty up', with up to four human players where applicable. You can even do a Terry Thomas in School For Scoundrels and choose not to change ends between games. The fact that you have to create a player, adding points to his abilities in line with improved performance in tournaments, is also nice. You can change almost everything about them, including the color of their outfits (thankfully, you must play in predominantly white - there's no Satanic-colored shirt nonsense here), their skin color and whether they're right- or left-handed. About the only things you can't select are their sexual orientation and their choice of on-court high energy drink.
The main problem is the fact that it's more difficult than it should be to play the thing. For example, the sideways movement is unhelpful, to say the least. You pick up speed and you can't stop or change direction without a delay. This happens whatever controller you use and means you over-run shots and miss what should be easy returns. It also has an idiosyncratic control system comprising direction/button combinations that aren't as intuitive as they might be (Button 2 + Up for slice, and Button 1 + Button 2 + Up for a lob, for example), and a lack of aftertouch.
The sound effects are ludicrously exaggerated, the umpire has clearly borrowed Stephen Hawking's voice synthesizer and... oh, it's all too tedious to go into. Look, just download Pete Sampras Tennis instead, alright?
The first release in this tennis series allows players to compete in a World Tour of 90 events against 250 players. Single matches can be dirty up and dirty down (two against one) as well as the more conventional singles and doubles. Grass, clay, flexi and cement courts are featured. Action replays can be viewed in slow motion, fast speed, and rewound.
Players can be defined as volleyers, defenders, punchers or varied, with definable kit colours and playing abilities. As you play the game, your player's ability improves, resulting in faster and more accurate serves as well as faster running and bigger jumps.
The action is viewed from a 3rd-person angle, and side changes are optional. Two buttons are used in combination with directional presses to make slices, 3 different types of lob, and subtle drop shots.
People who downloaded Tennis Elbow have also downloaded:
Tennis Masters Series 2003, Tie Break Tennis '98, Virtua Tennis, Fila World Tour Tennis, International Tennis Open, Striker '96, Tennis Cup II, Sydney 2000
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