Thursday, June 04, 2009

Forgotten Games: Namco Smash Tennis for SNES

One of my new games (see post below) is called Namco Smash Tennis, but not Smash Tennis Court, which is a popular game released on the PSX. It must be pretty rare, since the only hits on Google were eBay auctions and 2 cheating sites, so maybe this is my personal goldmine...I am a passionate tennis player myself, so let's review this sucker.

Well, after the title screen shows up, I have 3 options. (A) Exhibition, (B) Tournament, or (C) Options. Well, there isn't really much selection here, but what do you expect from a game made in the early mid-nineties. So after I chose Exhibition, all the combination were available, from 1P-2P vs. 3P-COM to P1-COM vs. P2-COM. Then, you can choose the court you want. I would recommend shrine, since the bounce here is elegantly low, which accomplishes a higher rally. After choosing your name, I am surprised how many different strokes can be executed. I found out following: forehand, backhand, volley, smash, lob, forehand slice, backhand slice and last but not least a underspin (yes, underspin is rarely used in tennis, rather in table tennis). By the way, you can try out a underspin by finding a table-tennis ball and tapping it with great pressure. Great ingame-depth can be accomplished due to the great variety, but the best thing is yet to be mentioned: Strategy. This resembles a real tennis game (just without the ball-stroking) very good. You could try slicing near the net, bait the opponent towards the net in order to lob upon him (a high ball is called lob), causing confusion with the underspin, or just play without a mind, which often works. This game is HIGHLY addictive, I must say. I finished the tournament mode after 3 1/2 hours, and I must say that it really was fun. Another thing I must say: During gameplay, the atmosphere is really intense, just like before a summer-storm (yeah, I am poetic sometimes...). Everybody seems to be concentrated, and seldom a cheer can be heard, rewarding the awesomeness of the appropriate player. It really is similar to the kick while playing with high rally during a real-match of tennis (Rally is a tennis-term regarding the transfer of the ball from side to side without a significantly dominant opponent, since a player must block the balls the other one is striking and try to strike on his own), which is really good. I bet if this game would be slightly more popular, it would revolutionize tennis-games as we know it. The sound is really decent, and the graphics look pretty. The audiovisual components really do their job good. I would say that this is the best retro tennis simulation that I have seen so far, maybe even the best tennis-simulation (By the way: Mario Tennis is tennis arcade-style). So if you have the chance, go buy it on eBay or any other retailer-site. And if you are a cheapskate, go torrent it. And now a screenshot from the grande finale:

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