Power to the Players
Tennis isn't a sport I was put on this earth to enjoy. In fact, I find the act of watching tennis to be incredibly boring. I can only imagine how it is to see it live at center court. Eyes looking to the left, then the right, then the left, then the right, ad nauseum as the players volley the ball back and forth in a rally. That's okay, though, as I know the sport is popular throughout the world. However, whenever Mario leaps his way into a sport, I find myself getting more invested in it. This is true with Mario's GameCube tennis escapade, Mario Power Tennis. Is this version of tennis an ace or a double fault?
There are a myriad of modes to partake in inside the wacky world of Mario Power Tennis. The main attraction here is Tournament Mode which pits you against a vast array of Mushroom Kingdom characters in order to earn the coveted trophy for each cup. There are three cups: Mushroom, Flower, and Star. As you progress through each tournament, the competition gets tougher and the sets you must win become greater. Tournament Mode is set up for singles as well as doubles play. Unfortunately, you cannot play with a buddy in tournaments; you are forced to work with a computer character. As you complete tournaments, you not only unlock one of four secret characters to play as, but winning the Star Cup of a singles tournament gives whatever character you played as a star, giving them more abilities in a given match.
|Mario once again takes to the court!|
|As if tennis wasn't hazardous enough without |
all of these Klaptraps on the court!
|Send back all of this big, bad Blooper's shots to win.|
|Up to four players can join in on the Special Games fun.|
The "Power" part of Mario Power Tennis refers to the various power shots players can use on one another to unleash vicious offensive or defensive maneuvers on their opponents. As you volley the ball back and forth between you and your adversary, your racket will begin to glow. At full power, you can dish out a power shot. Depending on your position in relation to where the ball is you can let loose either an offensive or defensive power shot. If the ball is right in your line of sight, you can use an offensive shot such as Mario's heavy hammer power shot which hits the ball at a high speed. If your opponent hits the ball back, they will momentarily be pushed back deep within their side of the court. Likewise, defensive power shots are used when you are far away from the ball with no hope of getting to it on your own. For example, Luigi's defensive power shot has him strapping on his Poltergust 3000 and sucking up the ball from wherever it may be. He can then send the ball to his opponent's side of the court. Power shots are surrendered if you block an offensive power shot. However, you won't be hit deep on your court's side.
|DK's defensive banana boomerang grabs far away shots.|
Mario Power Tennis runs at a steady framerate in order to keep up with the fast and frenetic action of the sport. Characters are modeled well, and the courts are lively background and foreground. The game can become cluttered with too much color at spots which may blind some players or make it challenging to see where the ball is. The voice work isn't too grating, and the soundtrack by veteran composer Motoi Sakuraba fits the happy-go-lucky realm of the Mushroom Kingdom quite well. The opening cutscene is also highly hilarious to watch if you enjoy lighthearted fare.
|One of the two unlockable courts in Mario Power Tennis.|
[SuperPhillip Says: 8.5/10]