Andre Agassi, tennis legend, why on earth did you put your name to this! I can think of a few thousand things that might have done it… I’ll touch on the other versions in a moment but here is our, through gritted teeth, review of Andre Agassi Tennis on the SNES.
TecMagik. If that name doesn’t chill you to your very core then I fear for you, I really do. Known for their Master System “gems”, someone has let them loose on the SNES and it ain’t pretty. After the substandard Super Tennis there was a real gap for a good 16-bit tennis game to roll into town. Oh dear.
It starts off all very promising, some nice stills of Mr Agassi to a funky slap bass jazz type thing followed by some functional menus. Difficulty mode to choose first – Professional or Amateur. Now let me think – the first time I chose Pro, this was a mistake! Practice, Exhibition and Tournament modes are available, but not as we know them. Practice is mundane return the ball fare with the ball machine particularly dross. Exhibition has the usual match mode plus the slightly odd Skins mode where you build up cash – for what purpose, who knows! To complete the misery, there are only three unlicensed tournaments based on the three types of surface. Blah. You also have to reset the console to access the other modes – it’s the simple things that all add up.
As well as the man himself, you have eight other playable characters. Eight. And only two women (this is an outrage!) which can lead to some very lop-sided/limited contests. Andre isn’t even the best player in the game! Which leads me to believe that his “endorsement” was that of a hastily signed contract waved under his nose rather than careful consideration.
But, having said all of this, I’ve played a few tennis sims (mainly on the Amiga) that have had hardly any options but have been hella playable. This isn’t one of them. The graphics are distinctly average and a lot blockier than even the Mega Drive version (also produced by TecMagik), both the sprites and the arenas are lacking. The SNES’s advanced sound technology has been used however, through the umpire who quite gleefully yells “fault!” and “Adv In” amongst other things. Yeah, I didn’t get the “Adv In” thing either but it’s got something to do with Deuce… That said, the sound is hardly used, no crowd noise and no music means there is zero atmosphere – you might as well be playing down the park.
As soon as the gameplay starts it just feels wrong. Players move quickly but with no accuracy, meaning you constantly miss the ball. Awful collision detection means that the wrong shot is often played, despite you having no control over it (the usual smash over backhand conundrum). The different shots all appear to do the same thing and putting shots where you want them is frustrating to say the least. When you serve, you can beat any opponent by using only the B button – serve into the corner then put it the other way. This is not how a tennis sim should go.
The only slightly redeeming feature is the hilarious doubles mode so that you and a mate can both shake your heads in disgust and attempt to throw your controllers out of the window – best to delay buying the wireless ones for the time being. Keep Andre’s legacy intact and leave this alone.