Saturday, 1 March 2014

Net de Tennis! (Dreamcast)

In Europe, the Dreamcast was advertised with the slogan "up to six billion players", obviously referring to the console's in-built online capabilities. Obviously, SEGA Europe then went on to live up to this by releasing a massive amount of games with online play. And by massive number, I mean "about five or six". Yeah, they
messed it up, just like they did when they refused to play to the Saturn's strengths and arcade-loving userbase. Another Saturn analogue is that in Japan, Capcom in particular were releasing a whole bunch of games that could be played online, most famously their "For Matching Service" series of arcade ports. This is another one of Capcom's online Dreamcast releases.
What's obvious as soon the game starts is that it's a budget release and that it was definitely released with online play in ind, with single player being just an afterthought, only offering single exhibition matches with no kind of career or arcade-style progression mode available. There's also a couple of extra features included to enhance the online aspect. The first is a simple character edit mode, in which you can choose the hairstyle, skin and clothing colours of a player, as well as choosing whether their racket is star-shaped or a more traditional oval, plus you can give your player a little dog that follows her around the court (and you can
choose the colour of the dog too). The other is a mode allowing players to select a still avatar, and four short phrases, which, it seems would be displayed during play when the analogue stick was pushed (the game itself being controlled with the d-pad, obviously).
As for how the game actually plays, it's okay. Nothing special. No fancy moves or powers or anything, like in something like SEGA Superstars Tennis as far as I could tell, though the players do have stats labelled "Guts" and "Miracle" (plus one of the players is apparently from a country called "Love"), so it's possible I just haven't figured out how to activate these things (but the CPU players haven't used them, either). One weird little touch is that when you're serving, you can tap down on the d-pad to make your player bounce the ball on the ground. It doesn't
affect gameplay in anyway, but it's a nice little thing.
I'd probably compare the game to the early Game Boy game Tennis: just a simple, fun tennis videogame. This doesn't really work in its favour though, since there are a lot of simple fun tennis games on pretty much every system, and most of them are easier to get ahold of than this one, there's not really any reason to bother going to the effort of tracking this one down, unless you specifically like to seek out and play lesser known titles like this like some kind of weirdo nerd or something.

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