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Smash Court Tennis: Pro Tournament

A Tennis game created by demons.

The sport of Tennis is a lot of fun. It’s a game of incredible discipline and athleticism. To not only out work your opponent but to out think them in a split second. To predict what they will do next and already have several counter moves planned.

It’s an intense physical and mental chess match.

Smash Court Tennis: Pro Tournament has a much different idea about what the fundamentals of Tennis actually are.

SCT:PT developer’s, Namco, seems to feel like Tennis is actually about mental anguish and pain. They manage to make a video game that’s not only less fun than the actual sport itself but honestly so frustrating it physically hurts its players.

It begins almost immediately, with the absolute garbage dump soundtrack. Which, to add insult to injury, they actually weaponize. Creating a digital space within the game to spend, “challenge points” to unlock and listen to one of these three tracks that the game already plays over and over and over again. You know, just in case you fucking hate yourself.

The game itself is about as deep as one can get wearing water wings in the shallow end of the pool.

There is an exhibition mode, a time trial mode, which is essentially a timed exhibition mode and a tournament mode which is a series of exhibition matches made in some layer of hell.

The tournament mode has the four major competitions, US OPEN, Wimbledon, FRENCH OPEN and AUSTRALIAN OPEN but it makes no difference. The courts play the same, the competition is the same, the AI is brain dead until it ramps up out of no where to nearly impossible competition in the Semi Final Round of each competition. There is no one path you can take while you defeat other tennis players and raise your skill and Tennis IQ as you go. It’s just smash or be smashed. With a bad soundtrack.

The game features eight professional Tennis players – four women and four men. There is no create a player mode or career mode and even more irritating – every single tennis player plays and feels the same, despite their, “style” difference or even their sex.

There is no drama or presentation outside the redundant replays when you do manage to score. No commentary, hardly any unique crowd noise, really barely any good reason to play it at all.

And yet, impossibly it still draws me in like a moth to a flame. Every night ends the same as I’m desperately trying to claw my way up the tournament ladder only to be destroyed over and over and over again. It’s pure unadulterated, Artificial Intelligence assisted self destruction.

Smash Court Tennis: Pro Tournament will leave you incensed, discouraged and ultimately broken. It will have you staying up all night, questioning everything as you watch the dawn break. Each morning after you’ll promise yourself it’s over, you’re done, you’re through. But like some sort of dark mistress of the night, you inevitably find a warped solace once again as you twitch in her claws for another round.

Developer: Namco

Publisher: Namco

Release Date: March 20 2002

Overall: 64%

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