The Outlaw gang is back and this time they're swinging at something besides a golf ball. This Outlaw version of Tennis is fun, raunchy, sexy and cheese-tastic rolled into a big tortia of gaming and we wouldn't have it any other way.

The Game
The Outlaw series of games thus far has always invoked a love-hate relationship with gamers. You either love the Outlaw attitude, or your hate it. Luckily for this reviewer, I fall into the "love" category. I wasn't overly impressed with Outlaw Golf 2 as much as it predecessor, but it is all good now with Outlaw Tennis, my faith has been restored.

Outlaw Tennis is like its name implies is tennis played Outlaw style. The whacked out cast of so-called athletes they have gathered is larger then the other games and once it starts rolling you know it could have only been from Hypnotix team. Bringing characters from the golf series and adding a few fresh faces is the perfect way this series needs to build. It's a yes to Summer, of course the striptease siren is back to swing her racked.

The career mode in Outlaw Golf is the Tour mode. Tour mode is a grouping of matches that you can play through to unlock new characters, outfits and golf ball heads. This mode runs a little short and could have been more expansive considering its only 5 matches long. It doesn't give you much a chance to keep on character without switching it up. You start the game with only four characters unlocked (Summer, Killer Miller, Donna and El Suave) so if you have a favorite you will want to hit this mode to unlock the rest of the crew. In the end it works out being about 80 events, it's just too bad you can stick with one player.

You can also train your player before you enter the Tour mode by going to the Drill section. The areas you can upgrade are serve, accuracy, power, speed, control and endurance. After completing a drill you get to distribute the points however you wish adding a level of customization for each player. I was surprised how much I liked the drill modes and I have to say it was as much fun as the normal game. Some of my favorite easy drills are the conga-line butchers in Butcher Block Blitz, the killer-attack tennis ball machine in Destruction Derby, and For Shizzle my Missile which is a tennis take on the classic videogame Missile Command.

Besides the whacky characters the Outlaw games boast the craziest set of mini-games ever put into a tennis game, and that's a guarantee. Check this out, Baseball, Football, Ping Pong, Casino and the cool Pinball modes are all included. plus other game effects like hot potato, weather effects and moving blockers. The game can get really intense and it switches it up so you never get sick of a particular mode. It doesn't stop there with the wackiness though, the environments are pretty inventive. I really dug the fans in the arena, colourful parkas in the ice board or the giant demons watching you play the court in hell. There is normal tennis and normal courts in Outlaw, but sticking to the norm is not why Outlaw Tennis is here.

With all that being said, I might want to mention the actual gameplay. Deceivingly Outlaw Tennis is a challenging game. I found it hard for me just to make it through a few characters on the Amateur setting. Outlaw Tennis is half skill, and half luck, or maybe I can't play to save my soul. I would even say that Outlaw Tennis, right or wrong, is harder then Top Spin from Microsoft. The game handles well, although at times I noticed the reaction time was a little slow, but then again it could have been my characters lower stats... I'm fairly certain the game doesn't play fair, but that is something I will have to sort out with it. Never bet with a machine.

If you like Tennis games then you should check out Outlaw Tennis. It's not as simple as spending singles watching Summer, but who doesn't enjoy a challenge. Play with friends, play alone. Outlaw Tennis is simply fun.

Graphics & Sound
The Outlaw Tennis graphic and audio area scores a deuce with the other Outlaw games. This is their fourth game and it all looks the same, and honestly it works for me. The production quality hits an overall average and is good enough to enjoy. If I had to pick the best graphical part of Outlaw Tennis it would be the animations. They are all motion captured and help bring the characters to life. Now I just need to know if the motion capture actor/actress can really bounce that tennis ball off the booty.

The sound on the other hand is hit and misses. I can see gamers either loving it or hating it after the first hour. I would have to be leaning towards the neutral area. Steven Colbert's writing is simple slapstick humor that can get a few laughs. Like anything, when repeated too much it becomes old. Do we need more stereotypes? Sure, then let's joke about having stereotypes. The voice talent is good at applying and delivering stereotypical accents and one liners. They do an excellent job bringing every character to life.

If you thought the jokes where cheesy wait until you hear the games soundtrack. The games soundtrack is cliché to the max and you will hear some crazy lyrics mixed over standard hip hop beats or classic hair-metal rock. I really thought it was creative in that Outlaw way and it hits your right from the opening movie. My favorite track had to Mown the Lawn. Oh yea, rock out.

The mojo is overflowing in Outlaw Tennis more then in their previous games. It could be that it's really nice to have some fresh air with all the serious games being released, or it could be that the Outlaws finally found their stride. I love the levels, the characters, demons watching tennis, conga line butchers. It's all absurd, fun, crazy and rude all at the same time.

Tennis fans you owe it to your gaming selves to pick up a copy of Outlaw Tennis. This budget priced game is well worth the discounted price. The humor might not be for everyone, but if you like outlandish characters, crazy game modes, and bad-- but good jokes, then you will love Outlaw Tennis.

Gameplay: 8, Graphics/Sound: 7, Innovation: 6, Mojo: 8. Final: 7 /10

Reviewed by Downtown | Aug. 8th 2005

Outlaw Tennis
Global Star
July 2005