december 15, 2012

Super Final Match Tennis for Super Famicom

Super Final Match Tennis (JP)Sports games don't sell easily (if they sell at all), so I decided to try to play one. I actually enjoy Tennis games, on Game Boy, Virtual Boy, GBA, Pc Engine, Neo Geo Pocket Color... So why not try the SFC.

There are two things I like about tennis games:
  • you always have to fight for each ball, and each ball is like a new game where you start from zero
  • when you figure out how to beat the computer, you can theoretically do it all the time, and you can feel good about that

My father likes tennis too, but he plays it on a real court. I always felt that playing sports in reality is a hazzle. So much work. Just picking up the tennis balls takes half the time. And nothing is as simple as on the TV. They have caddies and umpires and all kinds of aides that pick up their balls.

There are some things I don't with tennis video games though. I don't like when the game is "realistic", so you move too slowly, serves are impossible to take, you can't hit the ball when it is in front of you, the computer is almost impossible, you hit the ball outside all the time, and so on. The ball must understand that I want it inside the court.
It also gets boring if the computer is too easy. If hardly any shot goes outside for example.

Super Final Match Tennis is the successor of the Pc Engine game Final Match Tennis, a game that got good reviews at the time. I don't think I have played it. I have played Pro Tennis World Court on the Pc Engine and I enjoyed it, but I found it too easy.

They sure give tennis games silly names. What could the difference be between "Power Tennis", "World Court Tennis" and "Final Match Tennis"?

Super Final Match Tennis ScreenshotWell on to the game. I have enjoyed it a lot in the last two days. It has kept me up all nights. But now it is starting to get easy and that has gotten boring, so I might not play it more. I have won the two first grand slams already and maybe I should retire.

A couple of things I would like to mention. It took me a little while to figure out how to take the opponents serve best. I recommend to move a little forward and out, and then tap te button twice when the opponent serves. Try different buttons; I found that the lob often gives good returns to enable you to move forward towards the net. As usually in Tennis games, you win the ball by moving towards the net and placing it left and right there. It is a bit tricky to get the hang of it, as in real tennis the opponent can lob or try to make shots that pass you. You'll learn with experience what works and what doesn't.

It took me a while to figure out that to dive towards the ball -- hold L or R. Maybe you need to press a button to make him throw himself. I haven't really needed to dive that much, but sometimes you will need to take that extra step to reach some balls that are just outside reach.

Another thing to mention is that you can go into the Options menu at the start (the last selection) and remove the counter (the 00 - 00 in the picture). If you don't, it may disturb how you see the ball.

Some things about this game are peculiar, but still enjoyable. When the ball is just inside the line, the announcer will say "IN" with letters flashing at the center of the screen. Stupidly distracting, but funny.

I also noticed you can play up to four players at the same time. I think that might be pretty funny, if I had three friends to play with. As for me, I don't know if I want to spend more time beating the computer now. I have saved my passwords though if I want to continue.

I still haven't played the perfect Tennis game. I do think that these early games are actually better than the PS3 game I played last month because the simpler graphics don't distract.

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