Ever dreamed of playing the Wimbledon final on centre court? Were you Bjorn to be a star? Grand Prix Tennis gives you the chance - grab your gear and your racket and get ready to pit your wits against a top professional player (human or computer!).
The contest is fought on a yellow monochrome tennis court, complete with umpire and players' chairs. Each match consists of three sets, and is played according to the rules of lawn tennis with a couple of minor alterations: players don't change ends, and the score table always shows player 1's score as the first (in the real game the server's score is the first).
Strokes ranging from simple forehands and backhands to complex smashes and lobs are available. Service is controlled by the FIRE button: make one press to throw up the ball, a second to make the shot.
At the end of a set the players can take a well-earned break on their courtside chairs, and the interval can be extended indefinitely to act almost as a pause option - though real stars shouldn't need a rest.
'The graphics are dismal and the little people are barely recognisable; Grand Prix Tennis is just a mixture of yellow and black with white text, a waste of everything the Spectrum is really capable of. And when you go to hit the ball it doesn't have to touch the racket - a spot 20 pixels away seems quite satisfactory. Grand Prix Tennis is way below average.'
'The inlay calls this a 'fully accurate simulation' - but if Wimbledon were like Grand Prix Tennis no-one would bother to come. There's no atmosphere (no audience or line judges, and you don't even change ends), and as the ball swings in an unrealistic arc across the court it looks and feels like it's attached to the net or your racket by an invisible string. Whether you hit or miss is a question more of luck than of timing and technique. And the graphics don't give a clear indication of where the ball has landed; budding John McEnroes have some really good excuses to rant and rave. The thoughtless design of the controls makes things worse. The joystick directions are the reverse of the obvious: playing a forehand, naturally to the right of the player, is effected by pulling the joystick to the left. Instinctive reactions lead to confusion'
'It's been proved that lawn tennis can work on the Spectrum - Match Point (Issue 8/89%) is a fine example - so I have no sympathy with such a substandard version as this. The graphics may look impressive on the glossy inlay (the same could be said of Konami's Tennis), but the programmer apparently didn't know the first thing about accurate collision-detection and smooth animation. And the very awkward control method is unresponsive as well as illogical. If people must produce lawn tennis games, surely they should learn by others ' mistakes - I mean, who's ever heard of a 3-D isometric tennis game?!'