First there was the MD version of Pete Sampras - the best tennis simulation the MD had ever seen. Sportsmasters, fast making a name for themselves with their excellent sports sims, now give handheld owners the chance to serve and volley with the world's best tennis professional. The thick tasty cream the Codies will appetise tennis fans here comes in the shape of a two-player option on one Game Gear, with the usual Gear-link option too. Anyone for tennis?

It's just as well Codemasters sent us two copies of Pete Sampras Tennis, because we have a Gear-link in the office collecting dust. Linking up, then switching on the two Game Gears simultaneously for a friendly war on the court, both myself and Chris were not disappointed.

Graphics are incredibly smooth, reminiscent of the MD version in every respect. The scoreboard is clear and big with large white numerals, the crowd are given a spot of animation, and the court itself comes in three glorious colours: representing grass, clay and asphalt. Controlling the sprites is as smooth as the hallowed lawns of the All England Tennis Club. Shots can be executed with great skill using the D-Pad. Holding a direction, timing the button pushing and then seeing a shot fly past your opponent with vicious speed and accuracy gave me a great satisfaction. you find luck plays its part at first, but there's a good incentive to build on your game and play with a style that'll tactically beat the opposition.

The codies have not neglected variety either. To keep you plugging away there are two two-player modes. On one Game Gear, the players position themselves automatically, you just play the shots using the D-Pad or buttons. Not as skilful as the Gear-Link mode, but at least it's there! The other options are true to the MD version: a tournament World Tour, 30 players, tutorial, action replays and match stats.

The essential little touches like a bleeper when a serve hits the white line, and the ball rolling over the top of the net to upset the pattern of play, sum this up for me. Pete Sampras Tennis is a portable masterpiece that smashes all its rivals of centre court. Taste the cream, lap up the action - it's all here.

Proview

Jason 4/5

As playable as the MD version, with a great range of shots available.

Phil 5/5

Totally addictive. One of those games you'll be playing everywhere.

Chris 4/5

A truly top-noth conversion. The two-player modes are excellent.

Proscore

Graphics 88%

▲ Taken from the MD version, the handheld graphics really shine

▲ The ball flies over the net with a vicious realism. You have full control.

Sound 83%

▲ A lively crowd and a few neat sound FX during rallies.

▼ There's a few rough FX when a ball is struck, but nothing unpleasant.

Gameplay 93%

▲ As a portable tennis game, this has it all. Skill, excitement and challenge.

▲ Matches are just like real tennis. An incredible 8-bit effort.

Challenge 90%

▲ Two players on one GG, plus a Gear-Link option. What a choice.

▲ The challenge of perfecting your style and not relying on luck is huge.

The Codies come up trumps yet again, equalling their previous MD Sampras success. A portable tennis package not to be missed.

Rating
91
Reviewer
Sega Pro magazine #38
Region
UK

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