So, while thrifting recently, I happened upon a SEGA Dreamcast, with 3 controllers and a memory card for a whopping 5 bucks. You might not know about the Dreamcast. “Isn’t that something that bloggers argue about in regards to upcoming anticipated movies based on intellectual properties they already love?”
SEGA’s Dreamcast is the straw that broke their console camel’s back. The console failed so hard, and so spectacularly that SEGA, a company that had gone toe-to-toe with Nintendo for over 3 generations of consoles, said “Fuck it… lets put Sonic on the Gamecube.”
So, if this console sucked so badly it killed an entire production segment of a company, I probably should have just left it sitting there in Frenchy’s in the goddamn comforter bag someone tossed it into. But I can make you this promise, dear reader: I love video games, and I can say with certainty that if I see a console, any working console, for 5 bucks… and I don’t have it… I’m buying that sonnuvabitch on the spot. Even if it didn’t come with a game.
“What the hell does any of that have to do with Virtua Tennis?” you’re possibly asking yourself. “The title clearly states this is a review of Virtua Tennis. I paid my 4 bits to see a Virtua Tennis review, an’ I’mma gonna sees a Virtua Tennis review.” Well, as it turns out, the Dreamcast I bought did have a game with it after all. After taking it out of the bag, and opening the disc tray, some kind hearted soul had shoved their copy of goddamn Virtua Tennis inside, a shiny piss-yellow coloured pearl in a giant blocky clam.
Of all the games I could have possibly found inside the Dreamcast, Virtua Tennis is probably the one that would excite me the least. Traditionally, Tennis video games are fucking terrible. This is because of three very important reasons:
- Video games cannot replicate accurately the experience of Tennis, in any way shape or form. Even the Wii, with its motion controls, still doesn’t come close to the feeling of running around like an asshole swatting at shit with a snowshoe.
- Every tennis game is exactly the fucking same.
- Tennis is mind numbingly boring. On a scale of boring sports, from Baseball (Excruciatingly boring) to Golf (OH SWEET BABY JESUS, KILL ME NOW), Tennis comes in slightly above curling, but under Darts.
Obviously, my high opinion of both the sport the game is based on, and this particular genre of sports game makes me 100% qualified to deliver an honest, unbiased, fair and just review of this painstakingly crafted wonder of technology.
This game is a shit sandwich covered in shitmato sauce and ground shit. It’s a Shit-Manwich. I do not remember the last time I played a game so boring. It took me, literally, the time it took to wash a load of laundry to beat the “Arcade” mode. Apparently I won $2.5 million doing so. I guess that was supposed to be my score? I got to put my initials into a leaderboard after the credits rolled because it was that high. It must’ve been my score. Anyway… 20 minutes of pressing the goddamn A button, and wiggling the analog stick. That’s what I had to do. The first 3 opponents were so bad, I beat them with shutouts, or Love, or whatever the fuck they call a shutout in Tennis. During this 20 minutes, all I could think of was hooking up a different system and playing something else.
Graphically, the game would have been impressive at the time of its release, which was 2000. Every game’s graphics in 2000 looked like shit. Rendered 3D environments were just starting to become the norm, which meant every game had a blocky looking character running around with a handful of (somehow) choppy motion captured animations. Real human faces texture mapped to polygons so jagged you could cut open your wrists with them (lengthwise, of course) had eye sockets that looked like 2 pissholes in the snow. Since that was considered to be “amazing” graphics at the time, I can’t knock it. Okay, I can knock it, but I can’t hold it against it.
What I can both knock and hold against this game is the terrible gameplay. In my research for this game (which took place last paragraph when I checked on its release date) I can see that it has a Metacritic score of 92. Ninety-Fucking-Two. How? I’ll grant that this had the potential to be a great party game back in the turn of the millenia. All a game needs to be a great party game is multiplayer functionality, and otherwise terribly boring gameplay.
“Dude, I am so wasted I can only hit one button.”
“Sweet. Pop in Virtua Tennis.”
So it may very well have been fantastic in that respect. But seriously? This is shit.
You press the button when the ball is on your side of the court. A sends it over, B sends it over and high. Left or right on the stick sends it toward that side of the court. Eventually one of you misses. That’s the gameplay. I’ve seen people tear games apart for having quick-time events. This game is a fucking quick time event.
Another thing that has been touted around about this game for over a decade, is how it breaks the mold of boring tennis games. Supposedly it was innovative. It looks, and plays, like every non-motion control tennis game I’ve ever played. Motion control tennis games also look and play the same, except you’re expected to swing your arm instead of just press a button.
The sound in this game is fantastic if you like shitty music, tennis sounds, and the words “Love” and “Deuce”.
Seeing as how this is such an amazing, ground breaking game, I’d obviously recommend it to anyone and everyone.
- Graphics (Adjusted for Age): 8/10
- Gameplay : 1/10
- Sound: 3/10
- Innovative, Mold-Breaking Design: 1/10
- Being Fun: 1/10