Andre Agassi Tennis - Retro Reflections - TBT

Andre Agassi Tennis by developer TecMagik and publisher Lance Investments—SEGA Game Gear Throwback Thursday retro reflection written by Hamza. 1992.

Estimated reading time: 4 minutes.

Why are tennis video games sharply divided into very good and very bad? Why is there no in-between? Why can’t one pick a game, play it and say “hmm, this game was good, but adequate.” I guess this is true for all sports games, and maybe this is why I don’t enjoy them as much. Sure, once in a while they impress me, like the excellent Mario Tennis on the GBC and Tennis on the 2600; but at other times they infuriate me to no end, like Andre Agassi Tennis did on the Game Gear.

A video game featuring a recognizable sportsman’s name in the title has been done to death, and while most become everyday household names, like Tony Hawk, the unfortunate others never cross from real life to digital that successfully, and are thus known for real-life achievements only. Considered as one of the greatest tennis players alive, Agassi before his retirement was known for his charisma and energy. This game is the complete opposite of that.

I was introduced to this game by YouTube’s only worthy video-game reviewer, Stan Burdman, the funniest Jew since Mel Brooks. He is known for his dead-on, accurate reviews and constant swearing and shouting, which has kinda softened down a bit in his latest reviews. Watching him play this game made me think this guy is being harsh and unfair. It was only when I played a few minutes of the GG port, which is similar to the Genesis one that was reviewed by Stan, that I now stand fully by him in calling Andre Agassi Tennis as simply one of the worst sports games ever made. It’s too awful that it’s unreal.

The picture of the famed player on the menu is the first sign of doom, and probably the game’s most worrying feature. Is it just me or does he resemble Jazz Jackrabbit? The intrepreting from real life to pixels was a job very badly done. Since the Game Gear is a handheld and naturally has a smaller screen than the TV that the Genesis is hooked into, the screen is not static. It moves in accordance to the ball. To put it this way, the camera moves more than the players and the ball combined. Mario Tennis on the GBC adopted the same feature but Camelot – the developers – executed it exceptionally brilliant and thus resulted in an exciting and rewarding gameplay, despite its non-realistic approach. Come on, a baby going one-on-one with an ape? Anyway I digress -Agassi Tennis should have at-least gotten the camera right, maybe top-down view or something, because the camera moves in a blocky fashion that bogs down the already unexciting gameplay.

Fluidity is something this game has a fear of, because everything, from the clapping to the player movements to the serve, is robotic and horrendous. Let’s say I want to move left. Now I’d expect my player to take one step to the left, right? Well, with that expectation in mind, imagine the horror when the player took nearly three steps to the left in the most robotic fashion ever possible. It’s as if he’s suffering from rheumatism. The stiff movements, ugly camerawork, uninspired gameplay and total lack of genuine excitement all make up for one really bad sports game that doesn’t fulfill its basic requirements correctly.

The music, in heavy contrast, is actually hearable. Honestly, I think its more suitable in any Atari 2600 title than a Game Gear one. It has in it a loose-funky atmosphere with faint touches of goth-music and RPG-scores. Very unusual, considering the genre of the game.

Anyway, in conclusion, Andre Agassi Tennis is easily one of the worst sports games I’ve played due to its failure to meet the basic requirements and expectations like, you know, real authentic gameplay. This game sucks! and don’t be telling me otherwise...

Note: Screenshots from all platforms that were available at the time can be found here at Moby Games.

Score: 2 / 10



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