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A.P.I Review: Anna Kournikova's Smash Court Tennis 2
Developer: Namco OPTIONS: S.SHOT
No.1   No.2   No.3
Distributor: Sony 1-4 Player
Game Type: Tennis Memory Card
Review Date: July 1999 Dual Shock Compatible

Setting the Scene

The original Smash Court Tennis was a blinding little game that somehow didn't quite catch on. Eventually it was deleted and can now only be found languishing in the annals of a second hand store.

This didn't stop Namco from putting together a follow up, but moderate sales in both Japan and the US meant a strategic re-think before it's PAL launch. They could have called it Oh-La-La Tennis to link up with the French Open... or Get Smashed on Strawberries and Cream to coincide with Wimbledon. Instead they opted to link it with the upcoming Russian beauty from the world tennis circuit and call it the rather long winded Anna Kournikova Smash Court Tennis 2. Now there's a mouthful (if you pardon the expression).

Sound & Vision

When the game first loads up try not to allow your thumb to wander onto the 'X button' and you will be rewarded with a selection of live video footage where Anna can be viewed bouncing around the court and strutting her stuff. She's definitely a model professional. Mmmm.

Of course the intro shouldn't entice you to purchase this game... and neither will the sound effects... or the in-game graphics. Remember when a video games success depended almost entirely on GAMEPLAY? You see Smash Court 2 falls into the same category as multi-player classics such as Worms... or Bomberman... or Devil Dice.

Not that the visuals are bad... cute little cartoon characters who react instantly to each instruction from the joypad... it's just that they all seem much too young to be playing for world ranking points. Anna Kournikova looks only about four years old!

As you advance through Tournament mode there are a few nice surprises in store. Lined up against your chosen character could be one of the many famous Namco celebrities. Fancy your chances against Pac-Man? Maybe you would stand a better chance playing Tekken's Eddie Gordo or Yoshimitsu. Perhaps all three would join you for a session of mixed doubles... it's certainly a mixture.

There are over a dozen world venues, each set in their own style and follow a specific theme. Serious players can enjoy playing on the lush lawns of London, the lightening quick surface of Australia and USA, or the ultra slow clay of France. Just for fun the player could embark to such exotic locations as Hong Kong where cyclists pedal around the edge of the court... or among the busy traffic of Times Square... there's even a glass floored aquarium at the Great Barrier Reef (a little off putting when attacking a ball only inches away from a passing dolphin).

There is only one viewing angle but this covers the entire squashed up court. One annoyance I found with the camera was that occasionally the player at the bottom of the screen disappears when playing deep.


Ah! Good old fashioned gameplay. As a single player game Smash Court 2 offers two practice modes, tournament or exhibition. The first practice mode involves playing a few rallies against your coach . The object being to return the ball accurately so that it strikes a target placed on the opposite side of the court. The second practice mode is all about stamina as you repeatedly knock the ball against a large wall. Each successful strike sees the wall retreat a few meters gradually revealing a seemingly endless line of Namco advertising logos for forthcoming titles such as Soul Blade 2, Point Blank 2 etc.

A tournament involves selection of character and then entering any of the four round Grand Slam or Street Tournaments. World ranking points are awarded dependant on your how far you advance in each competition and then saved onto a memory card. Should you win any tournament a new piece of equipment becomes available for use. This includes bizarre items such as a flame racket that leaves a blazing trail with each stroke, or the wonderful wave racket which turns your opponents side of the court into a pool of water!

For total enjoyment there is nothing like a multi-player game of Smash Tennis 2. Using a multi-tap up to four player can enjoy an Exhibition game of straight tennis lasting between one and five sets. However if it's pure fun that you are after then look no further than Smash Blast. Two teams of players line up on the court where standard tennis balls are replaced by ticking bombs. Each player chooses five different characters (lives). Before each serve a random timer shows how long it will be before the bomb goes off. This ranges between three and nine seconds. The player nearest the explosive ball when it detonates is charred and turned to ash. Last player alive is the winner. Brilliant!

GRAPHICS: 15/20 As a single player game Smash Court 2 has it's limitations, but because of the world ranking system used in tournament mode it could possibly go on forever.

As a multi-player game this belongs up there with the best of them. Removal of the CPU controlled opponent suddenly bring a new challenge to the game while Smash Blast will leave your ribs aching for ages after.

A smashing game!
SOUND: 6/10
VALUE: 18/20


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