When it comes to video games, tennis is the forgotten sport. There has never been a defining game for tennis like those in other sports, such as Electronic Arts' "Madden NFL 2004" and "FIFA Soccer 2004."
Microsoft's "Top Spin" ($30 XBox) tries to establish the sport on the virtual court, yet the user is left wanting more. The venues are outstanding -- you can play on the green grass at Wimbledon, the red clay at the French Open or the hard court of a playground -- but the selection from among the 16 male and 16 female players is limited.
The absence of many of the top players -- Venus and Serena Williams, Jennifer Capriati, Andre Agassi and Andy Roddick -- is comparable to playing an NBA video without a single all-star starter.
In "Top Spin," the biggest names you'll find are Pete Sampras, Martina Hingis and Anna Kournikova -- which would be great if the game had come out four years ago.
The game's best feature is its career mode. After creating a player down to his or her facial features and style of socks, you try to find a sponsor and work toward becoming the world's top-ranked player by winning tournaments and money.
"Top Spin," which has seamless game-play and stellar graphics, takes some time to master. There are six strokes, the hardest of which is a risk because tapping a button a split-second late is the difference between a winner and an unforced error. The game also enables users to compete against each other online and has a multiplayer mode for doubles play, making this the market's most complete tennis game.
-- Jon Gallo