Cubed3 Nintendo gaming, Wii and DS

Next Generation Tennis (Game Boy Advance) Review

The tennis genre is one plagued with so many hit and miss, excuse the pun, titles that one game in particular has never really stood out as the dominant figure in tennis video gaming. Some may argue that the most enjoyable tennis game did not contain Henman or Greg Rusedski, but Mario and his associates. But what of the other side of the coin, the realistic tennis game. In recent times some may argue Virtua Tennis had it down to the nail, so where does Next Generation Tennis fit in here? In short it contains the same formula tennis games have used time and time again, but also added some much needed spin to make NGT more than just another tennis game.

As in every other tennis game you'd expect there to be the usual features the Arcade mode, Exhibition, Career and of course multiplayer that makes up one of the main attractions of the tennis genre. While you'd be forgiven for not knowing any of the players, except of course for Henman, NGT decides to op out of the well known players and replace it with a diverse selection of players, each contain marginal differences, such as speed, strength, serve power, volleys and top spins. While exhibition is fairly self exclamatory, in Career mode you take your tennis player through the four available cups, the Australian Cup, the Roland Garros (French Tennis Cup), British Classic (They for some reason couldn't call it Wimbledon) and finally US Open.

Screenshot for Next Generation Tennis on Game Boy Advance - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The Japanese say less is more and Wanadoo have clearly taken that into account when making NGT. On the screen you will see a tennis court, a net, some stripes on the ground an umpire and a few ball boys, along with two tennis players. Pixilated is a term that can be used here quite frequently, but having said that the graphics do as best they can. They show small characters on screen taking light, shadow and variation of uniform and skin colour into account. The animations are quite fluid and the serve animations look relatively realistic, while also the player's celebrations and complaints when they win or loose a point are worth mentioning. However the rather awkward animation of seeing a ball boy scurry across the net when a player hits the net, although trying to maintain a view of realism can be a bit off putting and look very odd. The courts themselves are also very simple and all the main surfaces are included. However on the grass court, the green is extremely similar to the colour of the ball, so on a non-back-lit GBA screen you can sometimes loose sight of the damn thingl, which is a very unprofessional annoyance, however it occurs very rarely. The flow of the ball is a little uneasy, but maintains composure even when followed by a tail of green to show a strong hit.

In a tennis match the sound has never really had a very important role and even an utterly dire soundtrack would usually suffice, as long as the gameplay is up to scratch of course. While in NGT you can hear the screams of crowd as you hit a powerful ball and the satisfying sound of a god hit, there is also the accompanying commentator announcements. While all it does it serve as a way to let you know the score instead of looking at the score in the top right corner of the screen it also adds a feel to the game. For example when playing Career mode and competing in the Roland Garros Cup the commentator will give you the score in French. Although pointless and not useful if you are not up to date with your French tennis scores, it does add a feeling of difference to the other cups, small as it is. Sadly the game comes without any background music so at small moments the game can be silent which is a slight shame.

Screenshot for Next Generation Tennis on Game Boy Advance - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Not boasting anything amazing in sound or graphical qualities, NGT would imminently fail, if it were not for its addictive and enjoyable gameplay. One of the main reasons it is so addictive is due to its simplicity and the fact you can pick the game up and start playing instantly. Simply use A to hit the ball, B to volley when you're near the net and hold down R or L to put a spin on the ball, although getting a truly effective skillful spin may take some practice. Even the task that usually can be executed very badly, the serve is done simply, as your player throws the ball up in the air a meter matches the ball rising, and the higher the meter is when you press A the more powerful you serve will be. When you hit the ball effectively it is followed by a trail of air to show its hit has been effective. The courts also affect the ball speed and how high the ball bounces by the surface of the court, grass, clay or concrete. While the gameplay is extremely fast paced and simple, practice will always serve you well, for a simple tap of A will merely return the ball straight to the opponent, a bit of practice and knowledge of how powerful you can hit the ball will benefit you so, that you can use the a press of the D pad to hit the ball into the top right hand corner, winning an easy point. The down side of this is when you have perfected your skills each match becomes a bit too easy and since some of the later cups have a lot of points to play, boredom can set in.

Screenshot for Next Generation Tennis on Game Boy Advance - on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

The amount of modes and options in NGT means even in one player you are never going to meet a dull moment, with an Arcade mode where you play in a mini-tournament or race, and then there is also a survival mode to go through and different difficulties to try the cups on. Also there's the possibility to design your own tennis player, changing his name, nationality and strip, which is a nice little extra. But what will really keep you coming back for more is the multiplayer game, doubles and singles that truly gives you a reason to buy four link leads.

Screenshot for Next Generation Tennis on Game Boy Advance- on Nintendo Wii U, 3DS games review

Gameplay

Fast, fun and extremely addictive, along with being very simple.

Graphics

Simple yet colourful, very bare, but not cluttered with anything unnecessary, a little unclear at times though.

Sound

There is very little to add to the audio, but of what there is it's very crisp and clear.

Value

With a lots of different modes, options and difficulty settings as well as a reasonably long career mode and a great, multiplayer NGT will last for a good while.

Cubed3 Rating

7/10
Rated 7 out of 10

Good - Bronze Award

About this score
Rated 7 out of 10

While it lacks much in the form of presentation, it has great gameplay and multiplayer that will have you coming back for more and more. While we wouldn't recommend getting it full price normally, Wanadoo cleverly priced NGT with a

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25.01.2004

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Developer

Spark

Publisher

Wanadoo

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  7/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date None   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

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i've been having problems getting in since monday. tonight seems to be really bad for some reason, took me about 10mins and several hundred refreshs to get in.

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We'll be back and running full steam soon enough! :Smilie

Adam Riley < Operations Director :: Senior Editor :: Cubed3 Limited >
Word of Adam | Voice123 Profile | AdamC3 on Twitter

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