Review by Icy Guy
Now I could've made a cheesy synopsis and said, ''It's a smash!'' but I didn't. However, this game certainly is just that: a smash. It's easy to lose track of time as you play it over, and over, and over again. So just how fun is it to play, anyway?
Story (2/10) - Err...nothing here. It seems that Mario and friends decide to get together to play some tennis. This is the only thing in the game that's bad: since I gave this a 10, you can tell the rest is good.
Gameplay (10/10) - It's a blast! (Bad pun. Sorry.) Like I said, it's easy to lose track of time when playing this. There actually is a bit of a simulation element here, because the ball will react different on different courts. Say you're playing on a clay court for example. Well, in real life, the ball wouldn't move too fast or bounce too high after hitting the ground. The same applies in the game. You have a multitude of characters to choose from: there are 14 playable at the start and 2 hidden characters to unlock (which are most likely going to be unlocked in the first day you play this). You can pick from Mario, Luigi, Wario, Waluigi (a new character), Peach, Daisy, Toad, Boo...the list goes on. Each character is judged on a different playing style: Technique (better aiming), Speed (runs faster), Power (sends the ball rocketing across the court, but limited mobility), and, my personal favorite, Tricky (good at making balls spin; Boo can actually do cross-court slice shots better than anyone else...considering Paratroopa is the only other Tricky character). You can also choose to make your character a righty or a lefty if you want, too. As for courts, you have many courts to choose from, but most (i.e. courts with characters' pictures on them ) need to be unlocked. You also have a special Bowser court, which actually shifts under the characters' weight, adjusting the ball's path. You can even use items (Super Star, Red Shell, Green Shell, Lightning, a mushroom, and a banana) on that court! For modes, there are several, some which are only for 1 person, but most of which are for more than 1 person. There's Ring Shot (not unlike Mario Golf's Ring Shot, where you have to hit the ball through golden hoops), Tournament (self-explanatory; this is the main game), Exhibition (play a single match that can vary in length), and a challenge on a court with 3 Piranha Plants that spit balls at you. Try to return all 50! The controls are simple, too, so nothing is taken away from the game by them.
Sound (9/10) - Pretty good, especially for an N64 game. The music is pretty upbeat, and can change, depending on the situation (like whether or not you're going for a win). Some courts have specific tunes, too, some of which may sound vaguely familiar. The sound effects are nice, with several different ball hits, which steers clear of monotony. The voices are pretty good, but a little low in volume. On many occasions, the characters will speak when the hit the ball, and one of them (one of the hidden characters, so I can't say who) makes a ''Muhrh!'' noise every time he hits the ball.
Graphics (10/10) - Between this, the other games of late 1999-2000, and Conker's Bad Fur Day, I'd say that we now know exactly what the N64 is capable of. All the courts look nice, with minimal sprite use...except for the ball itself, but it still looks nice. The little special effects when the characters hit the ball are cool and done with realistic lighting. The framerate runs nice and solid, too. The replays are nice, and some smash shots have little ''effects'' thrown in. For instance: on some occasions, the camera may be at one end of the court, and right before the hit, it'll come zooming in around to one side before playing at normal speed again (think the office rescue sequence from The Matrix here.) Sometimes matches take place at night (only in Tournament mode), so the lights are on, allowing you to see your character's shadow being cast in different directions at once. Boo's shadow is nicely done, too, since he float, and it varies with his height.
Multiplayer (9/10) - This is very good, too. The only bad thing about this is the possibility of ''you're not very good at this, are you?'' comment between the players outside the game, which could lead to a little less enjoyment. With that aside, it's fun.
Replayability (10/10) - There's actually quite a bit of stuff to unlock here, and with adjustable difficulties, this isn't going to get old too fast.
Buy it or rent it?: Buy it, if you can find it. This is a very good game to add to your N64 collection.
Overall: A perfect 10 out of 10.
Reviewer's Rating: 5.0 - Flawless
Originally Posted: 07/05/02, Updated 07/05/02
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