Just picture the scene. The bird song, the smell of fresh-cut grass, the swish of the rackets, the strawberries and the swearing of an angry tennis star. It can only be found within the excitement of a professional tennis tournament.
If you've ever wanted to venture out on the court against the world's best players, or even just missed the chance to get a ticket to the Wimbledon final, then here is a chance for you to taste that big match excitement for yourself thanks to Ocean's latest sports tie in.
Tie Break pits you as a world class player taking part in a variety of international competitions, from the lush green lawns of the British Open at Wimbledon to the harsh heat and plastic courts of the Davis Cup.
You can opt to play solo or as part of a team of up to sixteen players - any number of which can be computer controlled. Once you've selected the team lacings you can choose to play in one of the world's top tournaments, each with their own type of court and playing conditions. Then you select the type of racket you prefer and it's off to the match.
Within the game itself, the computer moves your player into position to play the shot automatically - all you have to do is set the type of shot, along with the power and timing necessary to place the ball where you want it in your opponent's court. The type of shot is selected by moving the joystick in a relative direction, the longer you hold the position the more powerful the shot, and by hitting the shot early or late you can control the direction in which the shot is returned. Holding the fire button down while returning smashes the ball with extra power - which can be very useful for hammering those clever-
GRAPHICS AND SOUND
One of Tie Break's main strengths is the atmosphere evoked by the graphics and sound effects. The appearance is very impressive, with some smooth animation and excellently drawn backdrops to portray the action. The sound consists of realistic bouncing ball and crowd noises, interspersed with some superbly sampled umpire calls. The intro music (despite a promising start) is a rather silly affair, with some particularly kitsch "Deuce" samples belting out at odd intervals. However, all in all the presentation is some of the best seen in any computer tennis game released.
Getting to grips with the control system is easier than expected, so you can get into actually playing the matches without too much hassle. The wide ranging game options - such as racket type and playing surface - and the long list of opponents means that you have a long way to go before you can consider yourself a master at the game.
Right from the superb loading screen and well-drawn presentation pieces, it's obvious that a lot of work has gone into making Tie Break an impressive-