World Court Tennis – The Legend Begins

PC Engine/TurboGrafx-16 Retro Reports World Court Tennis Quest

Scan0006World Court Tennis
TurboGrafx-16, 1989
Developer: Namco
Publisher: NEC

World Court Tennis is just like any other Tennis game from 1989, save for two notable exceptions. One: it lets you play as a cat man named Grans:

World Court Tennis Screenshot 2015-06-22 20-39-16Two: it has a quest mode.

World Court Tennis Screenshot 2015-06-22 20-03-58Seriously! A quest! There’s really no point in talking about any other mode, is there?  I’d just be wasting our time. Now let’s go rescue Stefi Graf. Or Ivan Lendl. Or whatever it is you do on a Tennis Quest in the late ’80s. ROLE PLAYING TIME!

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-23 19-34-30Ahh, a king! And he’s been waiting for me! I must be the prophesied one, or maybe the descendant of Bobby Riggs. My legend precedes me.

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-23 19-36-54So wait, you are just “a” king of Tennis Kingdom? Is this some kind of rotational constitutional monarchy? Are you some kind of regional warlord? So many questions. Anyway, sure, what do you need, Tennis King?

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-23 19-40-15 Sounds like Connecticut.

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-23 19-43-01Wait, I thought you were the Tennis King. Are you saying you wrecked everything, or do you have some kind of doppelganger? Something isn’t adding up here, pal.

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-23 19-44-38I really hope this isn’t some kind of long twisting switcharoonie, where I learn that he’s some kind of Robin Hood figure, and that I’ve been working for the wrong side all along. Don’t screw with STEV, Tennis King.

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-23 19-49-18Now how did he do that? Who is he, Carmen Sandiego? Is he going to steal the Billie Jean King National Tennis Center next? I don’t care if your kingdom was peaceful, Tennis King; you just can’t let things like that happen on your watch. Negligence, plain and simple.

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-23 19-52-28Complaining. Can’t have that, no sir.

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-23 19-53-25Again, are you referring to “Evil Tennis King” or yourself? Forget it, never mind. As I apparently have no choice in the matter, I will complete this task, and put an end to all this awful complaining.

And just like that, my legend began. No sooner did I accept “a” Tennis King’s challenge, than I was spit out on to the thriving streets of…

World Court Tennis Screenshot 2015-06-23 20-03-27CHICAGO? Good God, what did the Evil Tennis King do to this place? People are so busy complaining that the city has returned to the Earth and nature reigns supreme! Either that, or this game takes place in a post apocalyptic future where only the strongest tennis players survive. This plot is much more nuanced than anticipated.

Anyway, Chicago doesn’t have much, just four modest huts, a pro shop, and the Tennis King’s castle. The huts were filled with people who offered me all kind of useful information. Take, for example, this jolly citizen:

World Court Tennis Screenshot 2015-06-17 20-16-07And how could I forget all the laughs I shared with this guy?

World Court Tennis Screenshot 2015-06-17 20-15-49Anyway, as the Tennis King only saw fit to give me $500, and there’s nothing in the pro shop that isn’t less than $3000, I began my quest in earnest.

First things first: The Tennis King clearly stated – and I QUOTE – that “people can’t play tennis and are complaining.” That was clearly not an issue here. No sooner did I step out into the surprisingly verdant wastes of Tennis Kingdom, did some random yuppie challenge me to a match. I knew something foul was afoot.

Not only did he challenge me, he absolutely DECIMATED me. If you’ve only ever played modern tennis games – say, from about Virtua Tennis onward – you’ve probably never had much trouble making ball contact.  Today’s tennis sims tend to give players a little bit more leeway; you get with in stabbing distance of a volley or serve, and you’ll have no problem getting your racket on the ball. This is not the case in World Court Tennis: if the pixels of your racket do not make contact with the pixels that comprise the ball, you will miss. Horribly. Prophesied tennis hero or not, I had some practicing to do.

And by “practicing” I mean “losing.” At least the game gave me a nice assortment of randomly generated faces to lose to. BEHOLD:

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-24 20-17-54

 BALD CAP WOMAN!World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-24 20-19-57
FISH-FACED CLOWN LADY!
World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-24 20-21-23THE BEAST WITH TWO MOUTHS!World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-24 20-22-25
TENNIS JASON!World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-24 20-26-06

…and this character, who I fondly call the “Tennis Rapist.”

Each loss threw me back to Chicago, so my progress was incremental at best. After about an hour of scratching and crawling, racking up a record of roughly 5-12, I managed to venture over three bridges, two rivers, and miles of forest to encounter – at LONG LAST – a mysterious hut in the middle of the woods!

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-24 20-24-18

What could this hold? A new racket? A wise tennis sage who will teach me the backhand of Sampras? The secret of John McEnroe’s rage?

World Court Tennis - Quest Mode Screenshot 2015-06-24 20-24-52Ah, a doofus with a spit curl with one sentence of information. Great.

Overwhelmed by the futility of my endeavors, I copied down my password and decided to take a rest, silently vowing to return to the desolation of Tennis Kingdom and bring the racket of vengeance to its oppressors – for I am STEV, the PROPHESIED ONE.

NEXT TIME: PARIS!

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