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In Memory
Sean Pettibone



 

 

   

 



Davis Cup Tennis is an excellent sports title for the GBA, featuring more than 100 different countries, several different gameplay options including single-player and link-up modes. Players can either play a quick round, or go for the Davis Cup itself. Its responsive controls are good but the choppy animation and grainy graphics make for a mixed bag. The solid gameplay is appealing but whether this Ubi Soft release has the depth for long-lasting appeal is the big question.

Sports fans probably donít consider the Game Boy Advance to be the ideal platform for this genre, but there have been some surprisingly good titles released lately. Players can now add Ubi Softís excellent Davis Cup Tennis to the list, because it packs in a surprising number of features and challenging yet fun gameplay in a small package. Gamers will find several options at their fingertips. You can choose to play a single match, participate in the Davis Cup, and can even play a link up game with up to four other players. Before each match begins, youíll see an options screen where you select which country you want to play as. Once you select the country, youíll find a list of their players and each one is ranked based on their skill set. Most players start off with slightly-below average stats, but these can be increased when you gain experience and by winning matches.

When you win each Ďtieí or round, you earn skill points which can then be used to increase your individual or team points. Playing a solo match allows you to select from any country and any opponents, but you gain little by doing this. In the Davis Cup mode, things get more interesting, as you become the team captain, and must select four players for your team, from a field of eight potential players. When you make up these teams, the player stats will be averaged to make up your team stats. You can also substitute players if they become tired or get injured. Once this is complete, you compete in the knock-out tournament and progress through the brackets quickly.

Davis Cupís controls are very simple, even for a tennis game. The A button serves and shoots, while the B button is used for lobbing shots. Players can also take advantage of the auto-positioning system that allows you to aim your shot while the computer moves you into position, which is simple to perform yet makes the game flow much smoother. Players can change the spin and bounce of the shot by using the shift keys. Aiming your shots requires not only knowing your position on the court, but is also largely dependant on the surface the match is played on. There are four types of surface: grass, clay, and two types of carpet. You have to adjust your strategy for each type of surface because they have different types of bounce and ball speed. This adds some variety to the gameplay, though isnít that big of a factor compared to masterting the critical areas of setting up your shots and anticipating opponentsí volleys.

The difficulty level is set low, making matches fairly easy in the early stages, but later on, opponents gradually become more difficult and aggressive with fancier moves that give you less room for error. Graphically, Davis Cup is decent in some areas, but could have used some work in other. The standard angled-top down perspective is used throughout the game, and the tennis ball is always easy to see, making it easy to understand where it is. However, the players themselves look blocky and animate poorly, even by GBA standards. This roughness undercuts what is an otherwise good title and is a bit distracting. Given the hardware limitations, Davis Cupís lack of different camera angles is understandable; however, the static screen gets to be a bit monotonous after awhile. Despite a lack of finishing touches, however, this is an otherwise solidly playing game. On the bright side, it offers a lot of different gameplay modes and really shine in multiplayer since its controls make it simple to get into and play. Davis Cup Tennis isnít up the deepest sports title ever made, but it is still an enjoyable and fun diversion.






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