Genre: Sports Developer: Sims Co. Publisher: Sega of America Players: 1-2 Released: 1993
If you ask me, I think the Sega Genesis just has too many sports games for it. Now, add that to the fact that the sports genre is basically obsolete with age and you’re left with a sea of forgotten – and for the most part unplayable – titles that no one cares about anymore. I know that there is select list of sports games that are considered timeless and there are also some sleeper hits, but those are all the harder to find due to the sheer amount that are available. Wimbledon Championship Tennis is one of the hundreds of obsolete sports titles, and for good reason; it’s just not much fun to play anymore. It was a game that was handed off to Sims Co., an in-house developer for Sega. Sims had a pretty good track record of some upstanding releases and it makes me wonder just how it turned out such a lackluster game. Wimbledon lacks any kind of personality, heart, or charm and ends up being one of the most tedious and long-winded tennis games that I’ve played to date. For that reason I’ll keep this review brief and simple.
Wimbledon is your typical standard 16-bit tennis game with a license tacked onto it (each of the players having made up names). It has your standard options and modes. The first is the exhibition mode where you can choose singles or doubles and choose the number of sets that you want to play. The championship mode simply takes the last three tiers of the Wimbledon Championship and has you compete using a password save system. Each time you complete a championship the game you then move you up to a higher difficulty bracket to do it all over again. Each of the players have their own stats that keep improving depending on which of the ten difficulty levels you choose. I did try out several of the players but found that while the stats were different they didn’t actually make that much of a difference in the gameplay and were minimal at best. Even on the higher difficulty settings, the A.I. could often be very sporadic and either you’d easily win or never be able to score a point. Wimbledon has a multi-player option which is probably its single redeeming quality, as it supports up to four players as long as you specifically use the Team Tap, which plugs into the second controller port as the standard four-player adapter will not work.
The graphics here are not terrible but really nothing more than adequate. All the visuals as a whole look very dithered and grainy and the players don’t have a lot of detail. There are three different courts from grass to dirt to clay but they really only look color swapped when compared to the others and the colors that are used are pretty washed out. The audio is also lacking. There are a few musical tunes here but only in the menus. The sounds of the ball being hit with the racket are probably the best use of audio in the game since they sound realistic and full. There is an announcer that has a very gritty and harsh sound and became grating for me to hear.
I honestly tried to like Wimbledon Championship Tennis but even trying to play through one set was an act of patience and wore thin on me pretty quickly. The game just plays too slowly, especially in the player’s movements, and it often felt like it was moving in slow motion. This is far from the worst sports title and probably wouldn’t even make it onto a 25 worst sports games list and I wouldn’t even call it broken. It’s that it is just too slow, lacks a heart, and lacks anything that most tennis games of the time had more of. So, for that reason I can’t recommend this game to anyone at all, even die hard sports game fans as it’s just not worth the time.
SCORE: 3 out of 10