24th Sep 2005 | 15:23
IN KEEPING with the Outlaw franchise, Outlaw Tennis is everything you'd expect: funny, smutty, cheeky and rude in a mild 'Carry On' style. There's no soul-sapping career mode or a million different kinds of shot and surface to master. Just pop it in, pick a character (may we recommend the lovely Summer?) and start smacking balls.
Top Spin is the benchmark for 'serious' tennis on Xbox, and although the game served up by Outlaw Tennis is good as far as the actual gameplay mechanic goes, it's not quite in the same league. Press right as you hit the ball, and you'll hit it towards the right. Hardly rocket science, but it works well enough to offer the more serious tennis fan a challenge. Trademark Outlaw shots such as Turbo Serve and Turbo Shot are here too, and you can battle against your opponent to increase your Turbo meter.
Exhibition and Quick Play modes speak for themselves, and Drill lets you customise your player from points won during play. The Tour mode is where it's at though. Instead of three- or five-set matches, here you'll be playing short games with balls that explode (the Hot Potato mode), and twoon-one matches for money. Everything works well and the humour keeps things fresh, until you start hearing the same one-liners over and over.
There's no doubt that as a casual tennis game, this is loads of fun. But if you're looking for the depth, simulation and total shot control, you might be left fuming that your little sister could beat you with random crazy shots. That aside, you can't ask for much more from a game that sets you back 20 quid. If Top Spin was Pete Sampras, Outlaw Tennis would be Andre Agassi, before he shaved his head and started wearing white.