Review by mighty mosquito
"First Mario Kart, then Mario Golf, now Mario Tennis!!! Yay!!!"
The 3rd thrilling Mario sport is out! This time not in karts, not on the golf course, but with their running shoes on, at the tennis courts. Mario invites all of his friends to come and play tennis. It was just his friends until Wario, Waluigi, Bowser, and Boo stepped in. There are 16 playable characters in all.
Okay, so what do I do in this game rather than hit the ball back and forth?
The different modes you may select are Exhibition, Tournament, Ring Shot, Bowser Stage, and Piranha Challenge.
In Exhibition, you may choose a character for yourself and another one to play against and their difficulty (from easy to intense). You can also do the same with doubles. It is a 1 match game and you may pick the length.
In tournament, there are the Mushroom Cup, the Flower Cup, and the Star Cup. You challenge the first couple of opponents to a quick match but the finalists of each cup must play a best 2 out of 3 set match. Once you complete the Mushroom Cup, you go on the the Flower Cup. Once you win the Flower Cup, you go on to the Star Cup. Your opponents gradually increase in difficulty as you progress. Starting out, you only have 14 characters to play as, but the 15th and 16th character can be unlocked by beating the Star Cup in Singles and Doubles (I recommend beginners start with the doubles for it is easier to do) There are also many interesting courts to unlock by beating Mushroom Cup singles with various players and Star Cup doubles with various players. For the doubles, you do not choose your computer partner.
In the ring shot, you play regular rallying but you try to hit balls through the targets (rings). There are different versions of how you do this. It can be in a match, timed, or a number of balls. Once you complete the required number of gotten rings, you advance to a harder round. It gets harder each time.
In Bowser Stage, you might want to master long good rallies and points and get good at the game before you try this. You can use items to play with to make the game more exciting. If you hit the ball to an item block you can get items such as green shells, a red shell, a banana, lightning, a star, or a mushroom. All of these do various things in your benefit once fired. Ever wanted to see your opponent slip on a banana peel while playing a match? Well then, this one is for you.
In Piranha Challenge, there are 3 piranha plants at the base line of the court. Any of them may fire a ball. Your job is to return the ball back without the opponent on the other side getting the ball. It's harder than it sounds. I find it difficult to get 40/50. (There are 50 balls shot in all) If you should beat this, you will unlock the piranha court.
If need be, you can save during games.
It's sort of complicated. You move around the court with the control stick and to hit the ball you press either ''A'', ''B'', or ''A + B''. On a serve, press A to throw the ball. You may want to press these twice to get a better shot. ''A'' is top spin, ''B'' is slice, and ''A + B'' is a smash. You'll know when you did one of these 3 shots because there will be a color trailing the ball. Orange is top spin, blue is slice, pink is smash. If you should hold a key down, your player will charge up for a hit with lots of power. Since it's hard to move while charging, pressing ''Z'' will cancel it. If you press ''B'' followed by ''A'', you'll do a drop shot and if you press ''A'' followed by ''B'', you'll do a lob. Pressing ''R'' in battle stage will use an item. (If it's a banana, then the next time you hit the ball it will be used) Moving the control stick while hitting will direct your shot. I hope you're not totally confused. Once you get the hang of it all, it's not too difficult.
Music, Sound, and Graphics
The music isn't really catchy and the characters make appropiate sounds that they would usually make. (Like the laugh of Wario, or the ''Mama Miya'' of Luigi, etc.) The graphics are generally pretty good. The courts are well designed and so are the characters.
It is overall a pretty fun game. For having the most fun, choose the character you like best and are best with. Their styles are a bit different. (I mean, how could you think Baby Mario plays the same way as Bowser)
A good challenge. It took me a while to beat the Star Cup tournaments and I still haven't beaten all the ring challenges or the piranha challenge. Maybe a bit too challenging for single player.
Who says you can't play Mario Tennis with 2, 3, or 4 players? There is no objective for multiplayer (like beating a tournament), but it is solid fun. No breaking controllers because you can't put the last piece in the puzzle. I much enjoy playing Bowser Stage with others.
Huh? You're asking about the replay value? Of course, it's fun to play this game over again. Try to get better scores in Piranha Challenge, beat all the cups again, try to have an Exhibition game and beat your partner as intense 5 times in a row. There are many goals you can set for yourself and accomplish.
Buy or Rent?
If you like playing real tennis, buy it! If you're not too sure, rent it or play it at a friend's house or something. Then, if you like it, buy it. Who knows, if you don't play tennis, maybe this game will influence you to play it.
Overall Grade - 7.7/10
It is a great game to play and if you can figure out what to do in the special games section, good for you. I left that as a secret for you to figure out.
Reviewer's Score: 8/10 | Originally Posted: 08/12/01, Updated 08/12/01
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