C&VG1st February 1989
Published in Computer & Video Games #88
Serve And Volley
You have to admire Accolade's nerve for having a crack at producing a tennis game. It is such a well worm theme in computer gaming - on the ageing Commodore 64 in particular - that you have to believe you are bringing a fresh interpretation of the sport to the computer screen in order to tackle the project in the first place.
Accolade obviously believe they are bringing something new to the genre and I have to say I am inclined to agree.
The game features a unique power of shot implementation method that at first seems totally weird - but is, in practice, a novel way of making tennis on computer more than a moronic digitsed game of ping pong between you and the machine.
How so? By the use of a window which appears in the top corner of the screen. This features a rising barometer indicating the amount of power you wish to put behind your shot. Press Fire button on your joystick which you are happy with the level of power indicated by the barometer.
The window also features a graduated racket which shows the players' racket and forearm moving through the swing. This is used for serving as well as making ordinary shots.
It sounds a little complicated and takes a while to master, but it is all made easy by a series of on-screen instructions and training modes.
Serving is very well thought out and again has the feel of a real sports simulation rather than merely a pong-style tennis game.
Before you serve the game offers you a map of the court on which you pick the spot where you want to hit the ball. Then using the power barometer you let fly.
The animation of the moving ball is excellent - in a sort of pseudo 3D. It moves a little slowly and is perhaps a little small and therefore difficult to see but it is never the less convincing because of the trajectory of the ball.
Another feature that marks Serve And Volley down as a quality game is the range and number of options available.
Amongst the dozens of options open to you are the choice of venue. You can play in the centre court with thousands of fans looking on, or a much more relaxed game at the Country Club with its private poolside practice court, or even more laid back than this at the beach. The background graphics are as good as the general standard of animation.
You can even choose your own players, and if you don't want to choose any of the players listed you can also create your own. As I said, Accolade have thought of everything.
I thoroughly enjoyed Serve And Volley. If you are in the market for a tennis game for your computer, look no further.