XBOX REVIEW: OUTLAW TENNIS

Steven Colbert from the Daily Show hosts this rude and crude outlaw sports game but it appears he didn't bring his best writers along for the outing. For a series that relies heavily on its humour, Outlaw Tennis is going to have to rely on its gameplay more than any thing else.

The Outlaw franchise has raped and pillaged volleyball and golf and seems to have used up most of the gags in the process. What we're left with here is a series of racial stereotyping, scantily dressed babes, off-color language and some sophomoric middle-of-the-road gags that are inane, corny and cliché. It's like a combination of Animal House and Rhoda and a porno starring Ron Jeremy's cousin Oliver.

In all actually the gameplay is quite good. The other saving grace is the interesting variations of the gameplay including tournaments, off and online double matches and a host of mini games. There's lots to do it you enjoy doing it.

Unlike other tennis games, your position in relation to the ball will affect your shot. If you're on top of the ball you won't get any power in your return. Conversely, if you're within reach for a good backhand you can send it into the other court like a missile. Slice, lobs, top spin and flat shots can be added to the ball. There is even a turbo meter to make your missile shot more deadly. The AI will be at a disadvantage to return it. The shoulder buttons facilitate the turbo and extra spin.

Serves can be regulated by following the meter which indicates the level of strength that you will serve the ball to your opponent. The AI is pretty darn smart and will soon catch on to your style of play and counter it if you always use the same moves. To win, you have to mix up the shots. Try some sneaky drop shots and then let 'em have it with a few turbo shots to the back of the court. If you're getting outplayed you can always opt to fight - fisticuffs style. Just mash the right buttons and you'll be hammering away at your opponent's head in no time.

Mini-games are plentiful and fun. They are called drills and will help to improve your overall skills and stats which include endurance, speed, power and accuracy. The Tournament mode involves all of the crazy characters in 80 different events which don't always resemble classic tennis. There is baseball tennis, ping pong tennis and even pinball tennis which consists of hitting the ball into a court filled with bumpers. Variables such as the weather, bombs and a moving shot glass that blocks shots will interfere with your match from time to time. It's more fun than annoying because thanks to the decent physics you can actually compensate for these distractions and continue to play a decent game of tennis or whatever the hell you want to call it.

The online play is smooth with virtually no lag. The animation is smooth and the camera affords some great perspectives that rival a televised match. The sounds are nicely spread throughout the stereo spectrum so that you can tell where the ball makes contact your eyes closed.

If you're pining for Virtual Tennis you might find some comfort in Outlaw Tennis if you can look past the cheesy buffoonery. It's not that I don't like rude and crude but if you're going to do it, do it right and really get down and nasty. Where's Dave Chappelle when you need him?

Preview By Chris

Look out the gang from the Outlaw series are about to put their own spin on the game of tennis. It looks like the game will never be the same again! Fans of Outlaw Golf where surprised when they found out that the series was expanding to Volleyball. The result was the same humor and over-the-top action however; just like the golf games the game had a solid game engine. It was a great Volleyball game. Now can Hypnotix do the same with the sport of tennis? I think so and just like the last Outlaw Golf game this one will be online and priced at $19.99.

Take a look at the screen shots and you may notice a new character. Of course Summer, Suave, Trixie and the rest of the gang are all going to be back in this one. While I don't know who the new character is going to be I am sure Hypnotix has something a little special to add to the game. Of course the game will also feature the "Outlaw Style" of fighting and game play fans of the series have come to expect. The game will also feature an online mode and allow for custom soundtracks.

I wanted to be able to tell you who would be the announcer and play-by-play person. However, the last preview I wrote for the series I was wrong and they changed it to Dave Attel. While Dave did a decent job I am hoping for another well-known comedian who is also well known on Comedy Central and was scheduled for the last game. If I can find out before the game is released I will update the preview. So while I can't tell you everything the game is going to hit both the Xbox and PS2 around May. Here is the new screenshots and a list of features. It certainly looks like the game of tennis will never be the same again!

Features:

  • 16 playable characters -15 regular characters, 1 surprise character
    o Customizable outfits per character (Mix and match tops, bottoms, shoes)
    o Customizable Accessories
    o 6 improvable attributes
    § Power
    § Endurance
    § Control
    § Serve
    § Accuracy
    § Speed
  • 12 courts - 10 regular unlockable courts, 1 drill court, 1 surprise court
  • Dynamic Weather- patterns include sunshine, rain (thunder & lightning), snow and fog.
  • Multiple Surface Types - Including Concrete, Black Top, Hard Polished Wood, Indoor Carpet Marble, Clay, Dirt, Natural Grass and Snow.
  • 6 Game Modes
    o Exhibition
    o Tour (50 Tour Matches - Singles, Doubles & Canadian Doubles mixed)
    o Random Play
    o Drills
    o Network Play
    o Tutorials
  • 3 Match Types
    o Singles Match
    o Doubles Match
    o Canadian Tennis (doubles vs. single player)
  • 7 Match Modes including: Classic Tennis, Hot Potato, Casino, Baseball, Football Rules, Cash Zones, and Ping-Pong.
  • Multiple Shot and Serve Types
  • Momentum- The amount of momentum you have in the game determines how quickly a players Turbo Meter regenerates. Turbo Power allows players to use their Turbo Run, Turbo Serves, Turbo Shots and Signature Shots. Each player has a momentum meter that is prominently displayed in the top corners of the screen. Momentum decreases with every volley that is lost and increases with every volley won. It also regenerates over time so that players that are losing badly still have a chance of staying in the game.
  • Sound Tracks- Outlaw Tennis comes with an existing catalog of songs and allows for custom soundtracks
  • Online Play: Play online with up to 4 friends and play in tournaments with Xbox live.
Click For Media
System: X, PS2
Dev: Hypnotix
Pub: Global Star
Release: Aug 2005
Players: 1 - 4
Review By Cole
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
3.0
GRAPHICS
4.5
CONTROL
4.5
MUSIC/FX
3.5
VALUE
3.5