#676 – Top Players Tennis

A less than luvly outing.
When rackets fight back.
Color scheme by Joker from Milan.

PLAYERS: 1-4 simultaneous



GENRE: Sports

RELEASE DATE: January 1990

Chris Evert and Ivan Lendl, two former World No. 1 tennis players, lent their good names to Top Players Tennis. I hope they were paid silly amounts of money. This has to be the worst tennis game on the NES, and the strange thing is, I don’t think Home Data, the developers, were half-assing the production. There’s a four-player option here, along with the ability to “create” your own character (all you’re doing is shifting their attributes – strength, speed, focus, etc. – but it’s still a welcome feature). After you build up enough points, you can perform special moves called Miracle shots that add an extra ridiculous dimension (multi-balls, disappearing balls) to the otherwise steady game of tennis.

Indeed, if the controls operated as they should, there would be much to be proud of in Top Players Tennis. But the controls are as broken as I’ve ever experienced with a game. It’s impossible to serve. Impossible. I tried for fifteen minutes with several different characters. I consulted an FAQ, the instruction manual. Nothing enabled me to get the ball over the net. The closest I came was a ‘Let.’ From what I’ve read from other reviews – Top Players who were able to serve – the controls aren’t much better throughout the game. Any person aged eight to eighty can turn on Tennis and serve properly. You might not be able to play as Chris Evert or Ivan Lendl, but you can play tennis, and tennis is all I want from a tennis game.


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2 replies on “#676 – Top Players Tennis”

For its time, this game had an amazing amount amount of realism–ball and stroke control, spin, player movement, and surface response. This set it apart from other tennis games which were just Press Button and Hit Ball Wherever. It even accurately simulates the Grand Slam.

A legit criticism would be that the far court doesn’t take depth perception into account well and makes game play tougher–really only an issue if you’re playing two or more players competitively.

Serving is really not difficult at all, I don’t know what you’re problem is. My five year can do it.

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