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Mario Tennis - Nintendo Wii Virtual Console Review

by: David Sanchez ; edited by: Michael Hartman ; updated: 5/25/2012 • Leave a comment

Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64 was one of the best Mario sports games of its time. Now that it has transitioned over to the Virtual Console, the same can still be said about it.

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    One of the Best Mario Sports Games Ever Created - Mario Tennis Review

    Mario Tennis - Original Nintendo 64 Box Art  

    Chances are if you played Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64 back when the game was released in 2000, you still talk about the game. Staying up late at night, getting some highly competitive matches going with friends, and seeing the debut of Waluigi are three of the elements that made Mario Tennis so memorable a decade ago. Now that the game is available for download on the Wii, you can relive all of those great moments yet again.

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    Mario Tennis Gameplay

    Mario Tennis is pure, unadulterated fun.  

    Mario Tennis bases its gameplay around a simple control scheme and somewhat realistic tennis mechanics. You can perform top spins, slices, lobs, drop shots, and smashes with ease. The game uses a two-button system, so you can press a single button, press both buttons alternating or simultaneously, or tap the buttons twice to get different types of shots. These simple mechanics make the game accessible to newcomers while allowing pros to manipulate them for the best results.

    You can jump right into solo play and chase after each of the game’s championship cups. Everything starts out easy enough, but the further you progress, the tougher and smarter the AI gets. It’s the type of challenge that leaves you satisfied after you just barely take that much-desired victory, and you’re likely to shout out “Yes!" the moment you get the winning point.

    This wouldn’t be a Mario sports game without some crazy modes, though. Mario Tennis comes packed to the brim with a variety of play modes. You can shoot the ball through rings in Ring Shot mode. You can take on Piranha Challenge and return the balls that the Piranha Plants shoot at you. Or you can even play on the Bowser Stage. This mode features a tilting court and special power-ups such as bananas, shells, and other items from the Mario universe.

    Now, Mario Tennis is an amazingly fun gaming experience for the solo player, but the game’s fun factor expands greatly when playing with others. Whether you’re having a one-on-one match-up against a buddy or playing a full doubles game with three other friends, Mario Tennis is an insanely fun multiplayer experience. Whether you choose to play on the Bowser Stage or take on Ring Shot mode, playing Mario Tennis with others is a lot of fun. Even if you choose to play some traditional matches, you’re still bound to have a great time with this game.

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    Mario Tennis Characters

    Waluigi made his debut in Mario Tennis, and he soon gained fame and notoriety as a member of the Mario universe.  

    Characters from throughout the Mushroom Kingdom make their presence known in Mario Tennis, and they each handle considerably different from one another. Mario is more of an all-around character while Yoshi is more of a speed-based player. Then there’s Wario, who’s more power-based. These are just three examples of the different play styles each character brings to the court. And of course, it would be wrong not to mention the character who made his debut in this game, Waluigi. Easily one of the strangest characters in the Mario universe, Waluigi has quickly became a popular mainstay of the franchise since he debuted in Mario Tennis a decade ago.

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    Graphics and Sound

    The game's Tournament mode gets progressively harder as you go.  

    The visuals in Mario Tennis are simple but effective. This was never a masterpiece of a game, but it delivered a clean look that made sure not to take away from the overall experience. The same can be said about the game’s sound. Throughout the game, simple music plays that keeps you pumped while you play. You know from the sound of the music if you need to step it up or if you’re closing in on victory. Each of the characters utters his or her moans, groans, and catchphrases as well, adding that classic Mario feel to this title.

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    Lasting Value

    The Bowser Stage offers a unique spin on the tennis formula.  

    With all of the excellent modes, perfectly paced difficulty, and awesome multiplayer component, there’s a lot of game here. There are even hidden characters and extra courts to unlock. Unfortunately, one thing was left out. Originally, you could use the Transfer Pack to unlock several features by playing the Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis. Nintendo did not include any of the unlockable characters or courts in Mario Tennis on the Virtual Console, and it’s a bit of a letdown, because it would have been cool to have all of those features included here.

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    Mario Tennis Overall Score

    Simply put, Mario Tennis is an excellent game. In fact, it can be argued that the game is better than Mario Power Tennis on the GameCube and that game’s New Play Control! remake on the Wii. If you don’t own Mario Tennis, if your Nintendo 64 is in storage, or if you’ve never played the game, do yourself a favor and download this game. At 1,000 Wii Points ($10), Mario Tennis is a steal.

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