Nintendo TBD -- String up your racquet and wash those whites-- Mario and his pals return to the court for this 'Cube sequel to Mario Tennis on N64. From these early screens, you can see what the smooth new character models will look like. Look at the shine on Mario--you could blind someone with that. And just check out the fuzz on that tennis ball. Makes you wish you were playing it now, eh?
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Note to self: Buy Mario Tennis as soon as possible. That's all that really needs to be said about this game. If you want to read on while I extol the virtues of this game, then please be my guest. If you'd rather not read my blather, then heed the first sentence and just start playing it. Trust me, there's plenty to enjoy, as developer Camelot has outdone themselves and their previous N64 benchmark title (Mario Golf). First of all, glad that 14 of the 16 characters in Mario Tennis are available right away. Unlike golf, where it's fun to unlock new players in a ip challenge, tennis is all about the different styles of play. A nice portion of the Nintendo family is present, including a few surprises (like Waluigi). Gameplay is two-button heaven--it's by no means shallow or limiting. Different surfaces and an analog controller are all you need to create an unlimited number of great shots. And you'll see those shots in clear detail, as characters are nicely animated and move without a hint of slowdown. There is also no shortage of game modes, with tournament play, singles, doubles, ring shot, ring shot time attack, and other mini-games like Bowser Ball and Piranha mode. Finally, if you get three friends, or enemies, over for some four-player doubles, I guarantee you'll have a good time--it's a fantastic party game. MT is a great package with a long shelf life. The only real shame here is that Nintendo can't throw this sucker online.
Mario Tennis has the simple charm of Mario Golf and a similar quality level as well (they're from the same developer--Camelot). Cute players (Mario, Boo, Donkey Kong: Jr., Luigi, the whole gang), lots of stuff to open up and most importantly awesome gameplay. Each character brings a unique dimension to the contest be it the ability to float, move super fast, smash the ball, curve it, etc. It's actually deeper than Virtua Tennis if you can believe that. The MT multiplayer games are especially fun (in Virtua Tennis they're just so-so). The wacky characters and wild abilities make it entertaining on many levels. Don't hesitate on this one; Mario Tennis is a must-buy.
With a lineage of games unmatched in quality, I held the highest expectations for MT. Maybe that's why I was ever so slightly disappointed with this latest Mario sports offering. MT is excellent, but doesn't define state of the art in its genre tike Mario Golf did. While the graphics are as good and fluid as you can get on the N64 and the gameplay solid, the game suffers from what is perhaps an inescapable part of tennis games: playing on the top or bottom of the screen. While MT has different settings, all the Mario-style power-ups you'd imagine and some cool mini-games, the traditional tennis game is still the best part.