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Mario Tennis for the N64 is a charming arcade Tennis game

Updated on August 5, 2015

Note all video and pictures on this hub were captured by me using a capture device. Mario Tennis was created by Camalot and Nintendo.

Mario Tennis is a Mario sports game that came out on the N64 around the turn of the millennium; it was a pretty solid arcade tennis game. Now that it has been released for the Wii U virtual console I decided to check it out and see how good a game it is. Well some age spots (mostly with the graphics, that generation has the worst looking age spots in gaming history unfortunately) don’t hold Mario Tennis back from being a solid tennis experience. That said having a better GameCube sequel does (I’ll talk about that in a different hub).

Story/Presentation

Yeah there is no story in Mario Tennis outside out of the opening scene which basically just shows that Mario and friends (and a few foes) are out hitting the tennis court and there ok with having some old enemies join them for a round of tennis. Also features the most generic and often poke fun of for being generic Nintendo character of all time in Wauigi.


While there is no story there is single player tournament mode which features both single and doubles. To get through these you pick a character, each character has to go through their own cup in order to advance. Meaning if you go through Mushroom and Flower cup with Mario, you have to go through Mushroom and Flower cup with Peach if you want to play the Star cup tournament has her. Fortunately most tournaments last 15-20 minutes and are easily beaten. Some challenges pop up in the star mode but you also have 3 save files and restarting over has another character does not erase the cup status of another. There is a lot to play through if you want to beat the whole game has ever character.

Mario Tennis graphics haven't aged well

This game also introduces us to Waluigi
This game also introduces us to Waluigi

Graphics

Yeah I won’t lie here while this was really good at the time the graphics haven’t aged well especially on some of the character’s like Donkey Kong and Bowser look weird. But for the most part they still get the job done. The tennis ball sails smoothly, the frame stays constant, and the courts look really good. And most of the characters are still acceptable looking even if the graphics are well dated to say the least.

Sound

You get the Mario voice actors which do ok I guess there good in small doses and that’s what Mario Tennis usually offers up. My only complaint comes with Jen Taylors voice acting has Toad, she always sounds like a cat dying while scratching his claws on a chalk board to me when she voices that character and here it’s no different. Music is also acceptable for a tennis game, it’s nothing memorable like you would expect from a main series Mario game but it gets the job done here quite well.

Gameplay

Well Mario Tennis for the most part is tennis, the basic rules is hit the ball over the net with the racket have it land inbounds and if it hits the ground a 2nd time then you score a point. If your opponent hits the ball over the net you have to hit it before it bounces twice on your side of the court. The scoring system though is a bit convoluted. You have to score 4 times (and be ahead by two) in order to win a game, so many games will win you a set, and so many sets will win you a match. Why is it so convoluted, don’t ask me I didn’t invent tennis.

But once you get past the rules playing this game is pretty simple. Characters are based on things like technique, speed, and power and the controls are simple. A and B control over hand under hand and pressing them in certain combinations will allow you to do things like it high over the net, or slow it down to where just barley drops over the net making your opponent run around for it and keeping the game interesting.

The game play is pretty solid for the most part
The game play is pretty solid for the most part

My only complaint about this game is that not all the characters are balanced. Usually fortune favors the taller characters. Now Luigi may beat Mario in this category but playing has Mario is not impossible. But if you pick a really short guy like Toad be prepare to have your ass handed to you anytime you have to even remotely approach the net. It makes the really short guys practically unplayable.

I should also mention there is a Mario Kart esc court in this game. In this one the court is always shifting and you can throw shells and banana peels at your enemies to slow them down. It’s fun but not has invented has the courts in the sequel.

Final Recommendation

Mario Tennis is a fun N64 Tennis game that game play wise does stand the test of time (just get past the ugly character models of the N64 era) but it just surpassed to much by its sequel which I am also going to review in another hub.

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