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Q4 2002



- Nice, Sharp Graphics

- Good Use of the TMS license

- Easy too mix up service game



- Only Three Game Modes

- Characters respond too slowly

- Not nearly challenging enough



Review: Tennis Masters Series (PC)

Review: Beach Spikers (GC)



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Tennis Masters Series 2003

Score: 6.8 / 10


Though the menís game has become a little dim in the way of star power, Iíve always been a fan of professional tennis.  I especially enjoy the Tennis Masters Series because for years now they have made a stop in my backyard (Cincinnati) making it easy to see the best players the menís game has to offer.  For that reason, I was very excited when Sega released Virtua Tennis back in the day in the arcade and for the then soon-to-be-doomed Dreamcast.  It was the first tennis game that really captured the fun and strategy of the game, plus it was loaded with so many extras and options that it had the same kind of bang for the buck of the usually more feature-rich sports games like basketball and football. So, with those fond memories in my mind, I had high hopes that Microidsí Tennis Masters Series 2003 for the PC would hold similar appeal.  Early screen shots and even the sparse demo that was available had me thinking TMS 2003 could be a sleeper hit.  I was wrong.  Though fairly sharp graphically, TMS 2003 simply has too many shortcomings too demand much time on my PC.


tennis master series 2003 review          tennis master series 2003 review


One place the game doesnít come up short is in the graphics department.  TMS 2003 is a sharp looking game with plenty of polygons devoted to the players on the court.  The lighting, though not particularly dynamic, is well-done nonetheless.  The different surfaces of the courts look way too pristine and donít tarnish noticeably as the tournaments progress, but the stadiums are well modeled and nice to look at.  Overall, though not as smooth as Virtua Tennis, TMS 2003 is a slightly prettier game.


As far as game modes go, TMS 2003 sports a pretty basic assortment.  At start up, players can choose between Season, Career, and Exhibition modes.  These are all exactly what most players would expect.  Only the Exhibition mode gives players any control of how the matches are set up beyond difficulty level and naming and designing their player.  The dearth of modes and options leaves the game rating pretty low on the replay meter, which isnít that big of a problem since I canít imagine too many players begging for more in the first place.





- PC Game Reviews

The real problem with the game is the gameplay itself.  After experiencing the smooth game play of Virtua Tennis and its sequels, it is hard to take the stuttery, pre-programmed flow of TMS 2003 seriously.  The character on screen responds to the controls as if he was taking a moment to consider whether it is the right move or not.  Much of the problem is that the game stubbornly refuses to interrupt the character 


animation, so a player is constantly waiting for an animation routine to finish so he or she can enter the next move.  Often, the point is lost through no fault of the player.  The on screen characters simply remain one step behind the playerís key presses.  Now, this doesnít make the game unduly hard because even on the highest difficulty setting the A.I. is susceptible to a number of money plays.  This means players will find themselves having to avoid certain strategies in order to coax the game into a close match.  I stormed through the game on the highest difficulty following a simple strategy (make deep, hard serves and go to the net on every first serve), and I lost only a couple of sets in my entire career ó this after playing maybe three practice games on the demo while waiting for the review copy to arrive in the mail.


tennis master series 2003 review          tennis master series 2003 review


Given the low level of challenge and the limited number of game modes, itís hard to believe that TMS 2003 is the answer to any PC tennis fanís dreams.  Still, it is a pretty good-looking game and it does a decent job simulating the different aspects of the menís game, so at least itís better than Pong.


- Tolen Dante

(March 22, 2003)


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