Friday, February 20, 2009

Davis Cup Tennis

Loriciel / NEC

When I was a kid, I really enjoyed watching and playing tennis, so I made sure to pick up both Davis Cup and World Court. I've never liked WC, as I absolutely hate its gameplay, but DC has always been good fun. I really appreciate the relatively realistic action and presentation elements that it offers. I also get a kick out of ascending through the ranks, improving my attributes, and playing at Grand Slam events against "real" players of the time (it doesn't take a genius to figure out who "Ivan," "Boris," "Mats," "John," and "Jimmy" are meant to represent, and even lesser players from the era, like "Aaron," are included).

Over the years, I've heard numerous complaints about the game, most of which concern the alleged infallibility of the computer-controlled players. Sour faced and defeated, the complainers speak of situations where rallies never ended because the opposition never blundered. I think that most of the folks who voice such grievances haven't read the instruction manual. It's true that if you play a lower-ranked opponent and simply swat the ball back and forth with him, any given shot sequence may prove interminable. But DC allows you to use so many different shot types and techniques that rallies should never degenerate into such ridiculous affairs. And as you rise through the ranks, the computer-controlled players begin utilizing different techniques and strategies themselves.

If anything, it's a bit too easy to storm through tournaments and ascend to #1. But even if you eventually find one-player events unfulfilling, two-player mode should still make for great fun.

You can partake in various training exercises to build certain attributes, but your player's abilities are actually adequate right at the start.

Plenty of options involving court surface, number of players, and other such things are available.

Some players, like "John," love to charge the net and will try to serve-and-volley you to death. Lob the ball over their heads.

Other bums hang back by the base line and play conservatively. Charge the net yourself and surprise them with a drop shot.

IvaNEC meets Ivan... and wins in convincing fashion.

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