Starting the game presents three game modes. Arcade mode is a direct translation of the coin-operated arcade game in which you must defeat five challengers in order to win a championship. Exhibition mode allows you to choose a player and then challenge any of the other available tennis players in singles or doubles matches. World Circuit mode casts the player as a tennis superstar, touring the world and competing for heaps of cash and worldwide rank.
If you're looking to play as one of the top tennis aces in the world, you're going to be disappointed. No Sampras, Agassi, or any other tennis giants are to be found. Rather, you're stuck with 16 smaller names including Jim Courier, Carlos Moyà, and Yevgeny Kafelnikov. Despite the recent boom in popularity, the women's tennis circuit is unfortunately completely absent.
Sega's presentation and graphics are very well done and could almost be mistaken for a real televised match. Details such as the crowds, line judges, and instant replays look stunning. It's a shame that Virtua Tennis doesn't feature the famous venues and tournaments of real tennis, but the game's imitation stadiums in England, New York, and France look close enough to be recognizable. The player graphics are fantastic. Each player displays plenty of detail in everything from facial expressions to sneaker logos. Both the TV-style overhead view and the behind-the-shoulder viewpoints feature animation that's almost always ultrasmooth and is guaranteed to keep your eyes glued to the screen. --Mark Brooks
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