Review by YINever

Reviewed: 08/14/01 | Updated: 08/14/01

Yet another Yokoi instant classic!

Nintendo brings more gaming goodness to the table in sports form for the late (as well as under appreciated) Virtual Boy in the form of Mario's Tennis, one of the most brilliant fantasy sports titles conceived, as well as being the flagship title for the system.

The graphics are simple, but very effective. The 3D depth which made the system so unique is used very well in this game, making you feel as though you are right there on the court. Sprites are used to represent your players, which is both good and bad. You (and your partner, if you play doubles), are very well-detailed, and are representative of the character's design as much as the artwork that Nintendo puts out to promote their games. Your opponents however, look pixelated and slightly choppy because they are forced to become smaller as they move further away from your character. Still, you can very much tell what is going on and who the character is, even from afar. Backgrounds further emphasize the 3D depth system, and have various objects floating at random times. The court itself scrolls quite smoothly, and you can even notice that the net is made up of linked heart shapes. Very nice.

Sounds for a tennis game need not be very sophisticated, and this cart doesn't strive to break that pattern. The effects are standard fare, and the music is slightly catchy, but forgettable in the long run.

The control is smooth and very intuitive. You move your character sideways, forward and backward with the left control pad, and swing with the A and B buttons. Some characters have special playing abilities, such as lunging towards the ball in desperation if it is too far to run towards otherwise (though you have to recover for a second before you can move and swing again). This isn't exactly a tennis simulator, but Nintendo did an excellent job of making a semi-realistic game while keeping it simple and refreshingly fun to play, with the magic charm that few developers can match.

One thing you will have to get used to doing though, is timing your hit right so that you can smash the ball when it flies over your head. Since the game is in true 3D, it is a bit difficult at first, but you will get used to it fairly quickly.

Games go by standard tennis scoring rules, and you can choose to either play singles or doubles, versus or tournament, and 1 match or 3.

Nothing really beats the tension of going back and forth between team advantages on the determining set(s) of a tennis match, and this feeling is recreated well. I would recommend this cart to anyone who has a Virtual Boy, and for those of you who don't, shame on you. Get this game now.

Good:

Clean graphics
Average Sounds
Top-Notch Controls
Great Gameplay

Bad:

Pixelated Opponents

Half-Integer Scale: 10
GameFAQs Scale: 10

Rating:   5.0 - Flawless

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