A tennis game might not sound like the most exciting game to rush out and buy for your shiny new Sony PSP, but when you're dealing with one of the most enduringly playable games of all time we're prepared to make allowances. You'd perhaps reason that we should have tired of the simple pick up and play gameplay after five long years slugging out the fuzzy yellow ball across Clay, Grass and Carpet. But like any true sporting classic, there's literally an infinite amount of fun to be had with Virtua Tennis. We'll still be playing it long after arthritis and senility have had their wicked way. It's simply too compulsive for words.
The reason we're consistently compelled to gush about Hitmaker's classic time and again is quite simple: the game's purity of design, which makes it incredibly easy to pick up and play for a while, but also offers depths that keeps even the most hardened gaming veteran coming back for more.
No such thing as a quick go with VT
The trouble with the PSP is that it's just too delicate to want to take it out of the house. One misplaced fumble and it's an unscheduled visit to the Tourettes clinic for you as the glorious slick black sheen of your handheld marvel is ripped asunder by the unforgiving abrasion of your local pavement. It's not even worth taking the risk - unless, of course, your PSP happens to have Virtua Tennis Word Tour strapped in amongst its willing innards.
SEGA has bagged a galaxy of top Tennis stars for the hugely-anticipated Virtua Tennis: World Tour, due out on PSP this September. Check out the newly released screens while you're at it.
Now there really is no excuse not to own a PSP: Virtua Tennis has come to the Sony handheld fully intact and is every bit as good as you'd hope it to be. Stationed at various points around the Sony and SEGA stands at E3, this somewhat unheralded title could actually end up being a lot of people's most played games this year - for the simple fact that it has taken everything that was brilliant about the Dreamcast originals and ported it more or less perfect to a handheld that does it supreme justice.
The PSP version of Virtua Tennis will be a European launch title, SEGA has confirmed, and we'd say it will almost certainly be at E3 in just a few days time. See here for screenshots.
SUMO Digital, the boys in Sheffield who converted OutRun2 to Xbox so brilliantly last year, will be handling the game, which goes by the name of Virtua Tennis World Tour and is due out in autumn 2005.
SEGA Europe today confirmed that it is gunning for a September 1st launch alongside the handheld in Europe, but as with all such things it's subject to change.