A somewhat obscure Sega coin-op, this was missed by the usual conversion
houses in favour of Imageworks (who also handled Atari's Blasteroids).
Tennis games have never done that well in the arcades and the conversion
wasn't overly hyped either - we never received any preview shots nor
even a review copy of the game. By the time we could do a review the
game was already disappearing from the shelves, overshadowed by more
glamorous releases. So was it really that bad?
The game uses an odd perspective where the serve is shown from behind
the human player(s), then flicks to a scrolling overhead view as the
ball leaves the racket. Hitting the ball isn't that precise, it's fairly
easy - so unlike International 3-D Tennis or Tie Break there's no option
for the computer to move you into position.
This means although it's fun to get into, I doubt whether it's got a
huge amount of lastability since there aren't that many shots to master.
Also the challenge isn't huge; the four skill levels are simply three
finals (France, America and Australia) plus England (where you have two
matches to go through before the final).
Opponents do get tougher but sadly there's no competitive two-player
option (normally the best part of a tennis sim). If you play on your own
it's singles against a computer opponent, if there's a second player it's
doubles with both players on the same side.
The graphics are okay, nothing special but effective, whilst weak intro
tunes give way to very sparse spot FX. The whole game is really a bit
limited, but until Tiebreak and International 3-D Tennis appear on budget
Passing Shot is well worth a look. It's not going to keep you playing for
months on end, but for a couple of days fun it's not bad.