Friday, September 24, 2010

Final Match Tennis


There are those who swear by Final Match. They tell their tales of sleepless nights spent on FMT tournaments, of never-ending delight delivered by a tennis title that outclasses all others. I, on the other hand, haven't ever drawn up any FMT brackets. I haven't congregated with assemblages of fellow fans. I haven't even lost a second of sleep to the thing. I do like it well enough, but I view it merely as an example of what can happen when a design team puts together a product that excels in the one area that matters most. As for what that one area is... well, it's not visuals. From afar, FMT looks a lot like a number of archaic NES-era efforts.

In all fairness, the finest aspects of the art and animation simply don't shine through in screen captures. But I offer no such qualifiers regarding the audio, which is 8-bit fare all the way. And do not expect your default single-player FMT experience to be rewarding, as a good serve-and-volley game will have your computer-controlled opponents tripping over their own feet point in and point out.

Options at the onset are not aplenty, covering and extending not the slightest bit beyond a variety of court surfaces, a training mode, a number of selectable players, and tournament competition.

But FMT answers the call with its gameplay. It's a very fast, very lively affair that controls wonderfully, making it grand entertainment for friends in the mood for batting a tennis ball around sans any flaw in play that could possibly lead to frustration for either party.

But my friends and I... well, we prefer Davis Cup, which is more realistic action- and appearance-wise and deeper and more rewarding on the whole. Still, even those tennis-game fans who share my views on how FMT compares with its peers, on how much of its strange cult-hit-ish rep is truly deserved, probably won't for a moment consider it anything less than a viable alternative to everything else that's available, especially since it typically costs a mere four or five bucks.

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