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Dream Match Tennis is a 2006 tennis simulation game developed by Bimboosoft, a company based in Saitama, Japan. Unlike other games in its genre, Dream Match Tennis was aimed to produce a more realistic depiction of the sport, requiring more skill from the player in order to direct their shots accurately.
Due to the small size of the Bimboosoft Company, they were not able to use the same level of graphical effects in Dream Match Tennis as other companies such as Sega could with games like Virtua Tennis 3.
Playing the game
There are 5 different kinds of shot in Dream Match Tennis;
Normal Shot (also hits a 'normal speed' serve, usually used as a second serve)
Hard Shot (also hits a 'hard' serve, usually used as a first serve)
Slice Shot (also hits a 'slice' serve, usually used as a first serve)
A Super-Hard Shot has also been recently added, which is harder than the hard shot, but with the added risk of the shot going long or into the net.
The normal shot has been criticized for some of the characters, as it is so weak for the likes of Mason that a hard shot must be used the entire time, negating the use of the normal shot.
Unlike most tennis games, Dream Match Tennis is controlled primarily through the use of timing rather than simply the directional buttons. If a player wants to hit a cross-court shot, they have to hit the ball slightly early. If they want to hit the ball in the opposite direction, they have to hit it slightly later (i.e., when it's going behind the player's character). The directional buttons can be used to get extra angle or direction; for instance, the downwards directional button makes the ball go short, and is useful for hitting angled cross-court shots.
Serving is also performed via correct timing- each character has a unique serving motion, and the shot button must be pressed at the correct moment in order for the ball to go into the court. The moment that the shot button must be pressed varies depending on what kind of serve is being hit, and at what pace the serve is being hit at (pressing the upwards button makes the serve more powerful, whereas pressing the downwards button makes it travel more slowly). The serve is noticeably more effective in Dream Match Tennis than in other tennis games, and the characters with the more powerful serves are capable of hitting up to 14 aces per set (depending on the quality of the opponent).
The number of playable characters has risen to 12 since the release of the game, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. All of the characters are based on real players, with their names altered in order to avoid licensing issues:
R. Ford (based on Roger Federer) - Considered to be one of the best characters in the game, Ford has powerful groundshots with lots of spin, is capable of serving at up to 128mph (his serve speed has been reduced from earlier versions), is quick around the court and is also good at volleying. Ford has been weakened in the last few versions of the game due to balancing issues.
R. Nelson (based on Rafael Nadal) - Along with Ford is thought of as one of the strongest characters, with a powerful forehand that can generate extreme angles, a strong backhand and good speed around the court. The strength of Nelson's serve is somewhat of an issue with some players of the game, as it is considered too effective when compared to Nadal's serve in reality.
P. Scott (based on Pete Sampras) - Slightly weaker than Ford and Nelson, Scott nevertheless has a very powerful serve (he is capable of serving up to 135 mph), a powerful forehand and solid backhand, with good volleys.
A. Arnold (based on Andre Agassi) - A strong baseline player, Arnold is capable of hitting winners from either his forehand or backhand very easily. However, this is offset by his poor volleys and relatively ineffective serve.
S. Evans (based on Stefan Edberg) - Rarely used in multiplayer matches, this player has an accurate serve, very good volleys and a powerful backhand, but his weak forehand and slowness around the court make it difficult to compete with the better characters when using him.
B. Baron (based on Boris Becker) - Has a powerful serve that is easy to time (around the same speed as Ford), but is fairly lumbering around the court with only average groundshots.
A. Richmond (based on Andy Roddick) - The newest addition to the game, this character has a very powerful serve (he can hit it up to 150 mph), and a strong forehand, but his backhand and volleying ability are among the worst in the game. He is also very slow.
I. Leach (based on Ivan Lendl) - A powerful baseline player, his forehand is one of the strongest in the game, and his backhand is also very strong. However, he is also slow and his serve, while being quite powerful, is hard to aim accurately.
M. Cooper (based on Michael Chang) - Extremely quick around the court, with an average forehand and backhand, and a serve that is difficult to time. Cooper is often used in online games, but it's criticized because of his excessive speed, which makes to a very defensive style of play..
J. Mason (based on John McEnroe) - This character has very weak groundshots, and a serve that, while also lacking power, is capable of getting aces due to the amount of spin on it. He is also quick around the court, with good volleys. J. Mason is the only character available to use online in the free demo of the game, and is consequently used frequently in multiplayer matches. This has become an annoyance with some players who have purchased the game, because Mason is unable to maintain a rally with some of the more hard hitting players such as Ford or Nelson.
S. Gibson (based on Steffi Graf) - The only female character in the game, she is virtually never used in an online match because each one of her shots is among the worst in the game.
J. Cain (based on Jimmy Connors) - Cain has a very weak serve (only capable of reaching just over 100 mph), but his groundshots are powerful and he is able to easily hit winners. However, the fact that they do not have much spin means they often go in the net when going for angled shots. His volleys are also among the worst in the game.
The characters most often used in online games are Ford, Nelson, Cooper and Arnold.
Exhibition - This is where a match (either singles or doubles) can be played between any two characters. This can either be a human against the computer, of which there are a number of different difficulties (with 'beginner' being the easiest, and 'insane' being the hardest), or a human against another human (either using a gamepad, or online). As of yet, doubles matches cannot be played online.
Challenge - This is a single-player mode, where a player using any character has to beat 4 randomly chosen characters on each of the 4 Grand Slam surfaces. Unlike 'exhibition' mode, the computer difficulty only ranges from beginner to pro, with no insane level.
World Tour - The player chooses a character and has to play in a number of events around the world against computer controlled opponents, trying to reach the ranking of world number 1.
Practice - This is where a player can practice any kind of shot with any character.