Pro Tennis Tour 2 logo

UBI Soft £24.99

PTT is back and this time it's brought a host of new strokes to its game. This one missed a full review only on the grounds of timing. Since PTT1 the graphics have been smartened up, as has the mobility of the players, but the major advance is the range of shot available. Backing this up is a better and more flexible choice of game to play.

A corking tennis sim it's fun, even if you don't like tennis, but does take a lot of learning if you want to be able to play and beat the computer opposition.

Great Courts 2 logo Amiga Joker Hit

Mag auch Boris ewig Zweiter bleiben, Deutschland aus dem Daviscup fliegen, und Steffi ihrer alten Form hinterhecheln - am Amiga ist die Tenniswelt noch in Ordnung. Und falls nicht: Mit diesem Game wird sie es wieder!

"Great Courts" machte seine Schöpfer über Nacht berühmt und gilt für veile immer noch als die Versoftung des weißen Sports - obwohl an Konkurrenz ja wahrlich kein Mangel herrscht. Kein Wunder also, wenn Blue Byte schon nach gut einem Jahr den Nachfolger präsentiert...

Die Ladezeit ist kurz, die Titelmelodie hörenswert und das Hauptmenü umfangreicher als gehabt. Hier taucht auch wieder der Turniermodus aus Teil eins auf, allerdings erheblich erweitert: Der Computer zeigt jetzt eine Weltkarte, auf der sämtliche Turnierschauplätze und Tennisereignisse des Jahres verzeichnet sind. Wie in Wirklichkeit kann man nicht an allen Veranstaltungen teilnehmen, da viele zur gleichen Zeit stattfinden. Also pickt man sich die interessantesten heraus, am besten die mit den höchsten Preisgeldern, der geringsten Teilnehmerzahl und den wenigsten Gewinnsätzen. Besonders anfänglich sollte man sich nicht überschätzen, denn die persönlichen Leistungsdaten (Praxis, Kondition, Gesundheit, etc.) ändern sich im Lauf der Saison - fast schon wie bei einem Rollenspiel.

Wer ein Trainingsmatch einlegen möchte, kann in einem eigenen Menü bestimmen, auf welchem Belag (Gras, Sand, Hartplatz), gegen wieviele menschliche Partner (mit Adapter bis zu drei!), und auf wieviele Gewinnsätze gespielt werden soll.

Auch wer lieber mit der Ballmaschine trainiert, findet in einem Menü zahlreiche Einstellmöglichkeiten, die sogar auf Disk gespeichert werden können. Aber ob Turnier, Training oder Ballmaschine - zuvor will das Player-Menü durchlaufen sein. Hier warden die Stärken und Schwächen des Spielers auf Skalen von 1 bis 100 festgelegt: Aufschlag, Vorhand, Rückhand, Schmetterball, Volley und Kondition. Jetzt muß noch bestimmt warden, ob das Match gegen einen Computergegner, einen selbstgestrickten Spieler von der Charakterdisk, oder einen menschlichen Kontrahenten ausgetragen wird. Ja, und dann noch der Modus: Soll der Amiga die Laufarbeit übernehmen und man konzentriert sich ganz auf das Schlagen, oder will man alles selber machen? Ist auch diese Schicksalsfrage entschieden, geht es endlich auf den Platz...

Genau wie im ersten Teil sieht man den Court von (hinter) der Grundlinie des eigenen Sprites aus, die Schlagtechniken (besonders der Aufschlag mit dem Fadenkreuz) haben sich in der Handhabung aber deutlich verbessert. Es gibt männliche und weibliche Spieler, außerdem kann jetzt auch ein Doppel ausgetragen werden. Grafik und Sound sind für ein Programm dieser Art sehr überzeugend, besonders die Animationen können gefallen - ganz besonders, wenn den Damen beim Aufschlag immer so neckisch das Röckchen hochfliegt...

Insgesamt ist Great Courts II also um einiges komplexer, spannender und spielbarer als der Vorgänger. Deshalb unser Tip: Besorgt Euch einen Vier-Spieler-Adapter und dieses Game - wer braucht dann noch Steffi, Boris und Konsorten? (C. Borgmeier)

Pro Tennis Tour 2 logo CU Screenstar

Given this country's inability to produce a tennis player of any worth for nearly twenty years and the dominance of Boris Becker and Steffi Graf it's quite appropriate that the best simulation of the sport should be programmed by German developers Blue Byte. Such is their distrust of our prowess at the sport that they let a French software house publish it.

The original version appeared as far back as October 1989 and the response to it was good enough to encourage the programmers to go back and enhance it further. Not a bad idea. When Pro Tennis appeared it was a nice game that really needed more polish to make it special.

That's were the second version comes into play. The enhancements are many and they transform Pro Tennis into an impressive simulation. For a start you can choose the sex you wish to play, opt to play with two others opposite you, and with an adapter you can now play doubles. If you're not ready for a match though, then you can get some training. A machine will pelt balls at you and can even be programmed to aim them in a pattern to your backhand or forehand, volley or smash, enabling you to practise your weak shots.

These though, are just frills, where this sequel really impresses is the way it allows you control your shots. By directing the joystick as you hit the ball it's possible to aim across court and chop and lift the ball in a way that adds the variety and realism that was missing in the original. You can also adjust the strength of players' attributes by lowering or raising their serve, volley, backhand, or forehand points.

Graphically Pro Tennis Tour has been tidied so as to clear the court of any intrusions. The characters are large and excellently realised, particularly the women which are superbly animated, down to bouncing hair and skirts!

There's sound too, calls from the referee and line judges and a neat, sampled ball impact noise. To hear all the sounds you need a fairly powerful machine though - a simple 512 Kbyte machine won't give you them all, and this is true also if you want to play a mixed match. My other concern is that it would be better if you could move your player into position into quicker, they can prove very sluggish making it easy - particularly for the computer - to wrong foot you.

Some enhancements fail to live up to expectation (Kick Off II for example) but Pro Tennis Tour II is definitely worth investing in. It might even inspire more to go and pick up a racquet for real - something the game badly needs in this country desperately needs.

BALLPLAY   The basics of the game ar still much the same. You have an end to end view of the court, with your player shifting from one side to the other side of the net game by game. You serve by striking the fire button and manoeuvring a yellow mark to the point where you want the ball to drop and release the fire button. Returns are effected by first getting into position and then hitting fire which swings the racquet back and then releasing the button which makes the player swing.

Pro Tennis Tour 2 logo

The Derby, Ascot, the boat race, the varsity match, Wimbledon... all vital engagements in the social life of a toff like Lord Paul Lakin. Who better then to review Ubi Soft's Pro Tennis Tour II?

Tennis heh? Not the sort of game to make the hearts of the yeomen of England swell with pride. Let's face it there are small creatures crawling round on the bottom of the ocean that are better at tennis than any of our home grown 'talent'. Ubi Soft's Pro Tennis Tour was as impressive a sim as England are inept a Davies Cup team. A year or so later the sequel is here with more options, more competitions and even more playability than its predecessor.

The game allows you to choose your surface, your competition and even your gender (rather confusingly the manual says "you can only choose between a masculine or a feminine player. In the future other players will be waiting for you..." Yikes! Pro Tennis Tour III - the first hermaphrodite tennis sim).

There are also two levels of difficulty. On 'Junior' you only have to worry about the timing of your shot, the computer will make sure you're pretty much in the right place at the right time. On 'Average' things are somewhat more tricky. Fear not though, before throwing yourself into the trials and traumas of a fully blown competition you can come to grips with the game by playing a friendly or even using the ball machine.
The more practice you have, the better you get. OK, so that/s a bit of a truism - however, in Pro Tennis Tour III, it's not only your playing ability that improves, it is also the ability of your player. (Oh, if only my tennis was as smooth as my writing. Sigh.) The computer records all your successes whether they be beautifully timed forehand volleys or immaculate, sweeping, back hand smashes. The more of these high class skills you pull off, the higher skill rating you have.

Once you've mastered the skills of the game, you can play your way through a whole year of tennis selecting those tournaments that you want to enter from your year card. If tournaments are not your kind of fruit then there's a two, three or even four player head to head(s) option. Three player option, you ask? What's the point of that, you ask? Well, it's so you can put all those "Come on I'll take two of you on at once," sort of people in their place and serves 'em blimmin' well right.

Amiga review

Paul: I'm not one of the world's great tennis fans. I'm not really one of the world's lesser tennis fans. In fact to be honest I don't really like tennis at all. Which doesn't explain why I keep sneaking into the games room for another bash at Pro Tennis Tour II. It's like Wimbledon all over again. "I'll go and do some work after this set. Well perhaps after the next one. Good heavens, is that the time?"

Well it's not exactly like Wimbledon. I only keep watching that when the alternative is something less pleasant, rubbing lard on the cat's boils for instance. I keep playing Pro Tennis Tour II because... well, I really enjoy it. Al-right I confess, call me Boris if you like.

Without beating about the bush Pro Tennis Tour II is the best tennis game I've seen on the 16-bit. The graphics, sound and animation are all very good, though falling slightly short of excellent. However, it's when you stop looking and start playing that Pro Tennis Tour II really comes into its own. It gets the balance between challenge and playability just about right. Although serving takes a while to get to grips with, you're soon able to get involved in fierce contests. (Though it's a time before you actually win them). The more you play the more you learn to control the direction, height, and power of your returns. This particularly hots up the 2, 3 and 4 player options where there are more rallies than in a Uncle Bloggo's 'Hot' Bike shop. (That's 'Raleigh' fool. Ed.)

As well as the multiplayer option the other impressive option is the change in playing surfaces. Although not the first game to offer this choice, it is the first in which the different surfaces noticeably affect the play of the ball. Pro Tennis Tour II has all the excitement of tennis without having to wear a crap T-shirt or shake hands with Pricess Michael of Kent. Stop

Pro Tennis Tour 2 logo

Ubi Soft, Amiga £24.99

The sequel takes the basic perspective of the original and surrounds it with a wealth of excellent presentation. Possibly the most important for beginners is a Junior skill level where the computer automatically moves you toward the ball, leaving you simply to aim and time your reply. This option is disabled on the 'average' skill level.

You can also choose your sex, playing surface (concrete, grass, clay), play doubles and participate in a massive tournament option. Practically every event in the tennis calendar is available! Also impressive is a character option, where a set amount of points can be distributed between seven attributes such as forehand volley. The computer then watches how you play in matches and improves the attributes according to your performance.

Phil King The sequel rectifies the original's main flaw: hitting the ball has been made a lot easier, especially in Junior Mode with International 3D Tennis-style, automatic player positioning. However, unlike that game you cannot move your player in between shots, so the only strategy is in your choice of shot. Contrarily, Average skill level gives you full control, making play trickier but infinitely more satisfying. Here, as in real tennis, a mixture of skill and good tactics is needed to outwit your opponent (I managed to beat Stu every time!). Playing doubles is particularly good fun (usually total mayhem!) while the international tournaments provide a great long-term challenge.
Stuart Wynne It is yet another tennis sim, and the graphics are unspectacular, but it has got the most comprehensive options yet and gameplay is spot on. The Junior option is an excellent introduction, while the standard game is not too difficult to master either and is much easier than the original. Apart from Palace's 3D Tennis, which seemed to offer more precise racquet control but lacks character and doubles options, this is the best tennis sim out.