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Tennis, huh? In all my years of (etc etc) I've never seen a tennis game match the classic simplicity and playability of Psion's legendary Match Point, so could this be the one that makes the difference?

Well, no. Can I go now? (No. Get on with it - Ed)

You want to know why? It's all in the control, really. While Match Point used a control method so instinctive and obvious that you could grasp every kind of shot within two minutes of picking the game up, Pro Tennis Tour is hamstrung by a system which uses the fire button not as the trigger which makes you hit the ball, but more as a sort of safety catch which you have to take off before you can do anything dangerous. Returning a shot from the computer player in Pro Tennis Tour, then, involves getting across the court to where the fast-moving ball is heading, positioning yourself to intercept it, pressing fire to draw back your racket, holding down one of the joystick directions to determine the kind of shot you're going to play, then releasing the fire button to finally, actually hit the bloody thing.

What this meant for me, not too bad a gamesplayer (actually, I'm still officially the best Spectrum gamesplayer in Britain, having won the title in 1989 and never been beaten in competition since - bet you didn't know that) (Stop boasting - Ed), was that I was one set to love down in my first game before I'd managed to return a single one of the computer's shots, and while you do get to grips with the control eventually, you never get to the stage where you're thinking more about the shot than you are about which ridiculous control manouevre you're going to have to tangle your fingers up with to play it, and that's a bit of a game-wrecking flaw.

Mind you, this is still the second-best Speccy tennis game I've played, and it's got lots of groovy features like a serving-machine practice mode and three clever dificulty settings which let the computer do varying amounts of the work for you. It's just not as good as Match Point, that's all.




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