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Tennis, anyone? Mario and his buddies are back to compete in their second sporting event on the Nintendo 64. Take the court as one of the following characters, all of whom have starred in one game or another since the days of the 8-bit NES: Mario, Luigi, Peach, Baby Mario, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Paratroopa, Toad, Birdo, Bowser, Boo and Daisy. One new character has been added to the mix, however. It seems Luigi has a nemesis akin to Mario's Wario. His name? Waluigi!
Developed by Camelot, the same team responsible for Mario Golf, Mario Tennis is a 3D take on the sport with courts, characters, and music drawn from the colorful world of Mario. Six modes of play are available: Exhibition, Tournament, Demo, Ring Shot, Piranha Challenge and Bowser Stage. Exhibition lets you play singles or doubles matches against the computer or human opponents, while the Tournament has you trying to beat three different players to win a cup.
Demo mode, as you might have guessed, lets you watch the computer play a game to learn some helpful techniques or court strategies. Those familiar with Mario Golf will recognize the Ring Shot mode, which involves aiming the ball through a series of rings - all while trying to beat your opponent! The Piranha Challenge offers multiple piranha plants that fire tennis balls toward you. To win, you must hit them all past your opponent. Finally, Bowser Stage has you targeting floating power-up cubes on a tilting court.
Moves you can perform include serves, lobs, drops and overhand smashes. Other techniques to master are slicing and putting topspin on the ball. Each shot can also be powered-up by holding down the button for a specific duration of time. You and your opponent will be able to tell when a powerful shot has been delivered by watching its color: an orange, blue or purple streak, depending on the shot.
Like Mario Golf before it, Mario Tennis features a reward system for completing the different modes of play. By winning matches in the Tournament Mode as well as the individual Special Matches, players can unlock hidden courts, secrets, and characters. If you're good enough, you might even be able to play as Donkey Kong Jr. or Shy Guy! The 128-Meg Mario Tennis offers three save files to store your individual accomplishments, and supports the Rumble Pak accessory for vibration feedback. ~ Scott Alan Marriott, All Game Guide