When I got my Dreamcast back in high school (through a trade), I got a couple games with the system including Soul Caliber, Sonic Adventure, and Grandia 2. The last game I got was Tennis 2K2 -and I was a bit disappointed. I certainly didn’t get the dreamcast to play tennis, but I was pleasantly surprised with how awesome the game turned out to be. The best tennis game since Mario Tennis for Nintendo 64!
The game has a couple of different modes including exhibition (a regular single or double match), tournament (where the player must in 5 games to win the tournament), and world tour. World Tour is the main mode of the game where you must play numerous tournaments with characters and make them better through training – I didn’t actually play this mode much as I was just interested in playing casual tennis with friends.
The core gameplay is obviously tennis! Before starting a game, you get to choose from a variety of tennis stars from the early 2000’s. I have no idea who any of them are, but they all have slightly different stats that make them stronger at certain tennis swings. I liked how they had both a full roster of male and female tennis players! The game also allows you to select the court, and a variety are available including grass, clay, and hard courts, all of which effect how the ball bounces!
Once you select your player, you take control of him or her only (even if you are playing doubles) and move the character around with the control stick and swing your racket with the action buttons. The player has a number of different swings mapped to the different action buttons including slice, lob, and top-slice shots, all of which have very distinct effects on the tennis ball. I also appreciated how easy it is to both move your player and place the ball after a swing – your ball will basically be sent to one of the four quadrants depending on how your are holding the control stick. If the player is serving, you also get to play a mini-game where you attempt to push the button when the power meter is full, leading to an awesome serve! While this mechanic is in just about every sports game, its implemented well here. Overall, the controls are tight which make the game a ton of fun to play!
While the gameplay is excellent , the game really shines in the multiplayer mode because of how easy it is to pick up, but how hard it is to master – skill really plays a part in whether you win or loose! ! The game can handle up to four players (2 vs 2 in doubles), but I generally kept it to competitive 1 vs 1 matches in the exhibition mode. There are not a ton of options for multiplayer, but we ended up playing an hour and had a lot of fun!
In terms of graphics, this game looks fantastic for a Dreamcast game. The character models looks realistic and the animation is top notch. When I first saw the game back in high school, I thought it looked real! The courts all look excellent too with lots of detail! The ball is really easy to see too as there are cool trails and explosive graphics to make it stand out. The game also runs very well with minimal to no slowdown, which is important as that would dramatically effect the playability of the game.
The music is fun and upbeat and works well in keeping the tension high during the game. The sound effects on the other hand are excellent – each time the ball contact the racket during the swing, a satisfying sound is played making the player really feel like they are hitting the ball! The announcer is very vocal but sounds a little to robotic for my liking.
In summary, Tennis 2K2 is a surprisingly fun, above-average tennis game with tight controls and awesome sound effects! Even if you are not a tennis fan, I would recommend adding this one to any Dreamcast collection as it’s dirt cheap! Overall, I give this game a final score of 7/10.
Final Score: 7/10