For some reason, between 2000 and 2002 there has been a proverbial volley of tennis sims for the PC. During this time we've been served up virtual racket sport titles in the form of All Star, Virtua, Next Generation, Open, World Tour - take your pick. Well anyone not satisfied yet and still in search of a new platform on which to host their own bedroom Wimbledon can try out Tennis Masters Series 2003 from Microids.
Travelling to the hard courts of Indian Wells, Miami, and Toronto, or visiting the luxurious clay courts of Monte Carlo, Rome and Hamburg, players tour the globe, taking part in the nine faithfully reproduced Masters Series tournaments. The aim, not surprisingly, is to qualify for the Tennis Masters Cup in Shanghai and become the world's number one.
An intuitive control system puts four different shots at the player's disposal (top spin, slice, flat and lob) enabling over 60 moves to be accessed during gameplay. 67 different players are available in all, each with his or her individual skills and style of play.
On the graphical side of things, play is brought to life by an engine that builds 6,000 polygons per player. This coupled with the 500 motion-captured moves makes for detailed faces, skin and clothing, as well as a range of facial animations. Real-time dynamic lighting sheds some light on the proceedings, offering three different times of day to choose from, in noon, 5 PM and night-time.
Technical data aside, Tennis Masters Series is a comprehensive title and it looks nice across most specifications of PC. If a tennis sim is the next game on your shopping list, then it's definitely worth a look.