Although I may not be able to play the game in real life (my flailing attempts on a Sunday morning have something of a reputation where I live) I am an avid armchair player, and after many hours of Wimbledon and the like, I am pretty good at criticising most professional players.
You can imagine, there, that I was terribly eager to take the opportunity to review the first tennis game for the Amiga. The game arrived in an odd, triangular box that although pretty at first proves incredibly annoying if you, like me, happen to want to keep your games on a shelf.
Called Grand Slam, the game has been released by Paradox Software, a company owned by Eidersoft. Although this is the company responsible for releasing it, it was in fact written by a third company, the German based Infinity, and they are the ones who are really to blame!
The game allows you to take on the role of a top tennis star playing in the four Grand Slam tournaments; Wimbledon, Australian Open, French Open and the US Open. The programmers have managed to cram an awful lot into the full 512K that the game uses, but as is often the case they forgot the gameplay somewhere in all the panic.
Once loaded, you can choose whether you want to practice or play a tournament. Either way, you can adjust various aspects of your equipment; there are Wood, Graphite or Metal rackets to choose from, and you can also change the string tension, if you choose to play a tournament, you must then decide which one.
The main difference between the four tournaments are the surfaces, and the programmers have actually managed to make it realistic enough that grass courts do indeed play faster than hard, with clay in between. The game has some excellent features relating to this, and it is quite possible to play really well on clay and yet not manage anything on grass. A bit like Ivan Lendl really.
To look at the package, and to read the accompanying bumph, you would think that Grand Slam Tennis was the most completely fabby game ever released on the Amiga. Unfortunately this is not the case. The graphics are pretty good, with detailed players, and even an umpire and ball-boy.
The animation however leaves a great deal to be desired with the characters jerking wildly about. There appears also to be little, if any, error detection, as even being within a few yards of the ball is enough to make perfect contact, thus creating long and excruciatingly boring rallies. More to the point, if you do manage to get close enough to the ball to play what you would imagine to be a great shot, you invariably (and inexplicably) miss.
What is quite impressive is the sound. Sampled it may be, but it fits well with the game and the spot effects are particularly impressive.
Grand Slam is potentially good game spoiled by programmers who obviously thought it was more important to have vast quantities of pull-
Sorry boys, but this is another no-no for the Amiga, I do get tired of criticising games for this machine, but the sooner software houses realise they cannot just release rubbish and expect it to sell, the better!