Sega Master System / Mark III / Game Gear
So what if it's the middle of winter? So what if the municipal court is under six inches of rain or six feet of snow? With Tennis Ace you could be John McEnroe every day of the year and suffer no ill effects.
The first thing that occurs to you about Tennis Ace is that for a tennis game it has a vast array of option screens. They start with a one or two-player select and password entry so you can start playing part way through a world tournament.
Next you're given the choice of being one of sixteen players, which are rated on technique, power and speed, and are also designated as stroke players, net players or all-rounders. After that you can train, start a tournament or play a singles or doubles exhibition match on a lawn, clay or hard court. As well as playing your opponents in a doubles match, the computer can play as your partner which makes for a more interesting (and slightly easier) game, I found.
When you finally get around to actually starting the game, a big player sprite serves the ball, and the screen changes to a top view of the court which scrolls from side to side to follow the ball. The two buttons provide forehand and lob shots, but if the ball is in the right place you can also smash it across the court. Not a huge range of shot options, it's true, but sufficient. After all, getting the diagonal to perform a diving backhand would be pretty difficult on the Sega's control pad.
Graphically, Tennis Ace is tidy rather than outstanding, but there are a selection of jingley tunes and there's even some of that Sega-speech which sounds like a sub-aquatic alsatian.
To be honest, watching a ball sprite bounce back and forth over a line down the centre of the screen never really got my pulse racing. But if computer tennis is your bag. this is one of the best examples of it - not quite an ace, but worth checking out.
Lots of options and decent gameplay make this the best tennis game on the Sega. Check it out if you're a fan of the sport.