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A great tennis game that shows what the Virtual Boy is capable of.
Author: B. Hodges | Date: 2003/03/13 | Rating: 9/10


Introduction

Mario's Tennis was the pack-in game included with the Nintendo Virtual Boy when it launched in August of 1995. It is the only tennis game that was released for the system.

Gameplay - 9/10

You pick one of seven characters to play tennis. You can play either singles or doubles, a single match or a tournament, and choose to play one or three sets. There are three difficulty levels to choose from, after beating the game you get a password that lets you access three additional ones. The designers put a lot of effort into this game and it shows, especially in the minor details. During matches, objects will float across the top of the screen to add some flavor. After each match a screen giving the match statistics is shown. The only reason it doesn't get a ten for gameplay is the fact that the game has no two player mode. Since Nintendo never released the link cable, a two player mode was impossible, but it still would have been nice.

Play Control 9/10

The controls are tight and responsive, controlling your character is effortless. You have a good deal of control over the type and direction of your shots. The game is a little too helpful in keeping your shots in bounds which does cut down on the realism. All of the characters seem kind of slow which can be a little frustrating.

Story - N/A

There is no plot and since this is a tennis game it doesn't really need one.

Graphics - 9/10

Mario's Tennis has great graphics. Each opponent has his or her own unique background. The Princess's castle looks the best, but how come you can see it from both sides of the court? The game uses 3D pretty well, you get a real feel of moving through space and the ball looks like it is coming right at you. The court itself is nicely done, but the net made out of hearts is a little too kiddie. The characters themselves look good and don't look as flat as the characters in most VB games. The only complaint I have is that the area around the court is just an empty black space, there should be something there, maybe even grandstands like the ones in the bonus game in Mario Clash.

Sound - 7/10

The sound effects are kind of bland and the ball sounds aren't that realistic. The music on the other hand is really good, it is fast-paced, catchy, and fits the game well.

Playing Time/Replay Value - 9/10

You will spend a lot of time playing this one. This is a very fun game with a lot of gameplay options. Each of the seven characters have their own strengths and weaknesses which adds to the variety. You are given a password after beating the game on hard mode that lets you access three more difficulty levels.

Buy, Borrow, or Avoid? - Buy

If you bought your Virtual Boy brand new it should have come with this game. If you have a Virtual Boy and don't have this game, you should definitely get it. Mario's Tennis is one of the best games that was made for the Virtual Boy and is a must own for anyone with the system.

Overall Score - 9/10

The pack-in game for a system is supposed to showcase the system's capabilities and Mario's Tennis delivers. This is a really great game, it was my favorite tennis game until Virtua Tennis came out. This game has fun fast-paced action with lots of characters and options to choose from. The only thing missing is a two player mode.