Pros: An easy to get into game with plenty of secrets to find.
Cons: Isn't much different from Mario Tennis N64 and may be too simplistic
Camelot has made hit after hit by taking Nintendo's mascot characters
and then putting them into sports games. It started on the Nintendo 64
with Mario Golf and then Mario Tennis. When Nintendo released Mario
Golf: Toadstool Open, it was only a matter of time before the Mario
Tennis series moved to the Gamecube.
Mario Tennis has a number of
modes that gamers should be familiar with. There is the exhibition mode,
used when you to play a quick game. You can play with up to four players
for a two on two doubles match. If you don't have anyone to play with
you can play against a bot that has four degrees of difficulty. If you
don't have anyone to play with you'll want to check out the Tournament
mode. In this mode you'll battle your way up the ladder to become the
star of the Mario Tennis circuit. Playing and winning different
tournaments unlocks secrets like extra levels, characters and mini games.
Some things that we've already unlocked: a classic Mario Brothers course
complete with 2D sprites and a playable Petey Piranha from Super Mario
The cast of characters in Mario Tennis GC is pretty diverse. Of
course you have Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Peach, Wario, Waluigi and Bowser.
You also have a couple of notorious Mario villains like Boo (Teresa in
the Japanese version), Koopa (also known as Nokonoko), Shyguy (Heyho)
and Bowser Jr. Donkey and Diddy Kong also join the mix, along with Daisy
from Super Mario Land. There are a number of classic characters to find.
We've already mentioned Petey Piranha. We'll hint at a walking mushroom
and two flying characters. Characters can be classified in four
categories: average in all attributes (Mario), power characters (Donkey
Kong), defensive characters (Waluigi) and tricky characters (Bowser
Jr.). These definitions are based on each characters special moves.
After a few lobs back and forth your player will glow yellow and you can
unleash either an offensive or defensive move. When Mario wants to get
on the offense his tennis racquet changes to a giant hammer and he
smashes the ball at great speed towards the other team. His defensive
move has him spin to where ever the ball is and makes a guaranteed hit.
Bowser Jr., one of the tricky characters, hits the ball with a giant
paint brush and sends three balls flying out instead of one. Boo has a
similar super move where he hits the ball and a bunch of ghosts follow
Supporting Mario Tennis' cast of characters is a huge variety in the
games different stages. You can play on a standard regulation style
court at Peach's castle or opt for a traditional clay court. The clay
court gives hit balls a much harder smack when they rebound off the
ground than the basic court, which is a good thing. If you want to try
something other than standard tennis you can play on Wario's court that
has moving treadmills on the ground. You can change the direction of the
treadmill by hitting the different arrows that reside on top of the
tennis net. The moving floor keeps players on their toes throughout the
whole game. Donkey Kong's court has crocodiles that latch on to players
and slow them down. One of the more challenging courts to play is the
Super Mario Sunshine inspired court. This court has sliding tiles that
move in or out depending on where the ball bounces. If a tile slides in
the court, water is exposed. Players can still move around the water,
but if a ball lands in the water it's an out. This creates a whole new
challenge of working with less room and having more precise shots.
If you're tired of the whole tournaments Mario Tennis has some mini
games to keep you busy. The first has you paint balloons that pop out
from pipes and you need to hit these balloons on the wall to color
Mario's face. Another mini game takes place in Boo's haunted house where
you have to hit ghosts back into the pictures they pop out of. One of
the more challenging mini games to play is a the game where you need to
clean up sludge. In this game water comes out of the pipes and you need
to hit it on the spots of sludge. If you clean the sludge you may reveal
a shine. If you clean up enough of the sludge spots in a row you can
clear a line and get bonus shines. Our favorite game though is one of
the multiplayer games where you have to hit a huge chain chomp with
tennis balls. You get one point for hitting your ball at a normal chomp,
but you can score two points if you hit an enraged chain chomp. You can
enrage your chain chomp or your opponents by hitting a bomb at it.
However, you have to be careful because if you hit it with one more bomb
you'll have to run to the button at the end of the screen to spray it
with water. You can also calm you chomp down by hitting water at it, but
if you hit a normal chomp with water it will go to sleep. Hitting a
sleeping chomp with tennis balls wont net you any points. When you play
with four players this is one of the best games to play because you'll
be hitting bombs back and forth at each other while running away from
your chain chomp.
See, Mario Tennis is really multiplayer game. After awhile the
computer AI just doesn't cut it. Playing with a buddy or better yet
three, never gets old. Mario Tennis is a great game to have when you
have people around, like Super Smash Brothers Melee or Mario Kart Double
Dash. Mario Tennis is also easy to get into and easy to learn, which
makes it a great game for hardcore video game players and casual players
All of Mario Tennis' strengths are also it's weaknesses. While Mario
Tennis is great to play when people are around it's just not as fun to
play against a computer. The computer doesn't have the same challenge
and doesn't talk trash back to you like a real person would. The game's
easy accessibility is a huge strength for multiplayer, but as a single
player game it makes the game too easy to master. You'll learn the
controls almost instantly and have be relatively good after a couple of
hours of play. Unlocking stuff is much quicker than it was n Smash
Brothers so I wouldn't be surprised to see player only pick it up when
other people are over. Another thing that some people may complain about
is that Mario Tennis is really similar to the Nintendo 64 version. The
main difference being the extra mini games and improved graphics. Same
gameplay with a slightly improved physics engine may make owners of the
original game reluctant to pick up an upgrade.
Overall, Mario Tennis is still a really fun game to play. It may be
simple, but it's addictive. Add in a couple of friends to the mix and
you'll be happy you picked this up.
The game has some really Japanese heavy menus and instructions for
the mini games. Fortunately, most of the game play can be figured out
with a little trial and error.
Mario Tennis will be released under the new moniker Mario Power
Tennis on November 8, 2004.
Mario Tennis is a fun game to play, but it really is designed for