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"New Play Control! Mario Power Tennis"

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This thread has been linked to the game 'Mario Power Tennis'.
Sun 05/04/09 at 01:28
Regular
"Ghosts Can't Die!"
Posts: 774
Mario Power Tennis was by far one of the greatest multiplayer experiences on the Gamecube in my opinion. Really! Itís part of the reason why my results at AS arenít as high as they should be, it was that much fun. As bad as it sounds my friends and I spent many a lesson heading back to mine for a quick one hour session on the court. So when I heard Nintendo were porting over the title to the Wii with new controls I was both excited and also a little weary. Would they be able to provide accurate enough controls and not break the flow of the game?

This is a tennis game. It plays like tennis, it looks like tennis but has a Mario feel to it. Youíll find a decent selection of Mario characters here including Diddy Kong, Wiggler, Shy Guy and more (Although why Toad isnít in it is beyond me!) as well as a handful of locations from previous Mario titles. Fans of the series will love the throwbacks here.

Like all of the red plumbersí sports titles the actual way it plays is tweaked slightly to match the Mario universe too. The first way it does this is through the courts themselves. While you do have the standard grass, clay and artificial types youíll also come across ďgimmick courts.Ē These take place in locations from other Mario titles like Sunshine, Luigiís Mansion and the even the original Mario Bros. These courts include obstacles and events that mix the matches up a little. The Mario Sunshine court has sliding panels which make the court smaller and bigger. The Donkey Kong court has little Klap Traps that can latch onto your character and can slow your movements. Theyíre entertaining and extremely hectic.

The second crazy inclusion is the power moves which can be made when a special meter is filled. These are over the top hits of the ball that effect your opponent when they return it or make a shot that normally would be impossible to get. Offensive shots can be made by holding A and swinging the remote. These will send the ball back with varying results. Mario will use a massive hammer and wallop it back full pelt, Diddy will send it back in a banana shaped arc and Koopa Troopa sends an extremely hard to reach drop shot. The opposite is a defensive shot and these are simply a means of retrieving any shot thatís out of reach. Some will love these moves, some will hate them. While the animations that show when used can break the flow of gameplay, they can only be used so often to prevent it becoming too irritating. Even if you canít get used to them an option to turn them off is available before every exhibition match.

The biggest change to the game is the controls. With Nintendo having developed Wii Sports, a title that still boasts some of the best tennis controls to date I was hoping that Mario Power Tennis, another title overseen by the big N would perhaps use a similar system. What you have here though is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand you have gesture sensitive swing types much like Wii Sports which is a big plus. Lob with a simple swing up, drop shot with a downward motion, topspin with an upward diagonal swing and a slice with downward diagonal. Itís an adventurous control system that works well with the exception of the lob. For some reason the remote just doesnít want to recognise upward motions and this can lead to infuriating moments where points are lost that really shouldnít have been. Another plus in my book is that unlike Wii Tennis which restricted you to just controlling swings, here you can also move your character with the analogue stick. Itís nice to have the extra control over your character.

On the other hand it still uses Mario Tennisí old mechanics too which just doesnít work as smoothly as it should. For example in the Gamecube version pressing a button would cause your character to charge his swing on the spot. This would work fine and allowed for some fairly powerful and skilful shots. Here however when your player steps into the path of the ball your charge automatically starts and breaks if you move after. It feels a little awkward having the computer decide when youíre allowed to charge and when youíre not. Another thing Iím not a big fan of is the way you direct shots now. Like Wii Sports timing is everything. Swing early and the ball will go left, swing late and it goes right. While this is the rule and worked fine for Wii Sports, sometimes it doesnít work that way and at points itíll feel more like luck where the ball lands which can be a little annoying especially when you should have hit a winner instead of it going back to the player. It would have been nice to see an option to use the analogue to aim instead but what you have here is okay. Faults aside you have to admire the unique control scheme used to try and make you feel more involved in your swing types, even if it is a little sloppy. And Nintendo have included a control method for just about anyone.

Youíll find a handful of tournaments to tackle in both singles and doubles with more to unlock. They are your standard affair with three rounds in each getting progressively harder as you play. They wonít last long but as added incentive to try each character you can unlock an improved version of them through completing said tournaments. Then you have exhibition mode where you can play one to four players on any court and any mode. You have to hand it to Camelot, they really have thrown in some imaginative game types. Ring mode where you score based on passing the ball through rings as well as winning the point, and item mode which essentially uses weapons you would normally see in a Mario Kart title. Theyíre both wacky and theyíre both quite fun.

Then there are the mini games. They arenít brilliant but play with some friends and they become an okay distraction. Here youíll be working on your running and swinging technique really. Problem is though with the new control scheme it makes aiming for the right areas in some games too difficult. Basically this is a multiplayer game. If youíre looking to buy this for solo use I wouldnít recommend it as you wonít get much out of it.

Even though this is a Gamecube title the visuals put to shame even some of the most up to date Wii games out today. The characters look and animate so well with every motion fluid and visually pleasing. The courts that youíll find yourself playing in are no slough either as youíll visit environments ranging from your standard grass and clay court right up to a tropical jungle and outside Luigiís Mansion. They all look impressive and make a nice change from your typical stadium based courts. The music too is surprisingly good with nice remixes of old tunes.

Iím not quite sure what to make of this New Play Control! version of Mario Tennis. On one hand itís still good fun to get a rally going with three friends throwing off crazy power shots and taunting them at every point slammed past them. But then on the other the control scheme can seem sloppy and at times just plain annoying. As one of Nintendoís first attempts at resurrecting its back catalogue for the Wii it isnít bad, just not the evolution I wanted. Still entertaining though, just bring friends.
Thu 16/04/09 at 17:44
Regular
"wha?"
Posts: 5
ghost killer I totally agree with you on that last bit.
Sun 05/04/09 at 01:28
Regular
"Ghosts Can't Die!"
Posts: 774
Mario Power Tennis was by far one of the greatest multiplayer experiences on the Gamecube in my opinion. Really! Itís part of the reason why my results at AS arenít as high as they should be, it was that much fun. As bad as it sounds my friends and I spent many a lesson heading back to mine for a quick one hour session on the court. So when I heard Nintendo were porting over the title to the Wii with new controls I was both excited and also a little weary. Would they be able to provide accurate enough controls and not break the flow of the game?

This is a tennis game. It plays like tennis, it looks like tennis but has a Mario feel to it. Youíll find a decent selection of Mario characters here including Diddy Kong, Wiggler, Shy Guy and more (Although why Toad isnít in it is beyond me!) as well as a handful of locations from previous Mario titles. Fans of the series will love the throwbacks here.

Like all of the red plumbersí sports titles the actual way it plays is tweaked slightly to match the Mario universe too. The first way it does this is through the courts themselves. While you do have the standard grass, clay and artificial types youíll also come across ďgimmick courts.Ē These take place in locations from other Mario titles like Sunshine, Luigiís Mansion and the even the original Mario Bros. These courts include obstacles and events that mix the matches up a little. The Mario Sunshine court has sliding panels which make the court smaller and bigger. The Donkey Kong court has little Klap Traps that can latch onto your character and can slow your movements. Theyíre entertaining and extremely hectic.

The second crazy inclusion is the power moves which can be made when a special meter is filled. These are over the top hits of the ball that effect your opponent when they return it or make a shot that normally would be impossible to get. Offensive shots can be made by holding A and swinging the remote. These will send the ball back with varying results. Mario will use a massive hammer and wallop it back full pelt, Diddy will send it back in a banana shaped arc and Koopa Troopa sends an extremely hard to reach drop shot. The opposite is a defensive shot and these are simply a means of retrieving any shot thatís out of reach. Some will love these moves, some will hate them. While the animations that show when used can break the flow of gameplay, they can only be used so often to prevent it becoming too irritating. Even if you canít get used to them an option to turn them off is available before every exhibition match.

The biggest change to the game is the controls. With Nintendo having developed Wii Sports, a title that still boasts some of the best tennis controls to date I was hoping that Mario Power Tennis, another title overseen by the big N would perhaps use a similar system. What you have here though is a bit of a mixed bag. On one hand you have gesture sensitive swing types much like Wii Sports which is a big plus. Lob with a simple swing up, drop shot with a downward motion, topspin with an upward diagonal swing and a slice with downward diagonal. Itís an adventurous control system that works well with the exception of the lob. For some reason the remote just doesnít want to recognise upward motions and this can lead to infuriating moments where points are lost that really shouldnít have been. Another plus in my book is that unlike Wii Tennis which restricted you to just controlling swings, here you can also move your character with the analogue stick. Itís nice to have the extra control over your character.

On the other hand it still uses Mario Tennisí old mechanics too which just doesnít work as smoothly as it should. For example in the Gamecube version pressing a button would cause your character to charge his swing on the spot. This would work fine and allowed for some fairly powerful and skilful shots. Here however when your player steps into the path of the ball your charge automatically starts and breaks if you move after. It feels a little awkward having the computer decide when youíre allowed to charge and when youíre not. Another thing Iím not a big fan of is the way you direct shots now. Like Wii Sports timing is everything. Swing early and the ball will go left, swing late and it goes right. While this is the rule and worked fine for Wii Sports, sometimes it doesnít work that way and at points itíll feel more like luck where the ball lands which can be a little annoying especially when you should have hit a winner instead of it going back to the player. It would have been nice to see an option to use the analogue to aim instead but what you have here is okay. Faults aside you have to admire the unique control scheme used to try and make you feel more involved in your swing types, even if it is a little sloppy. And Nintendo have included a control method for just about anyone.

Youíll find a handful of tournaments to tackle in both singles and doubles with more to unlock. They are your standard affair with three rounds in each getting progressively harder as you play. They wonít last long but as added incentive to try each character you can unlock an improved version of them through completing said tournaments. Then you have exhibition mode where you can play one to four players on any court and any mode. You have to hand it to Camelot, they really have thrown in some imaginative game types. Ring mode where you score based on passing the ball through rings as well as winning the point, and item mode which essentially uses weapons you would normally see in a Mario Kart title. Theyíre both wacky and theyíre both quite fun.

Then there are the mini games. They arenít brilliant but play with some friends and they become an okay distraction. Here youíll be working on your running and swinging technique really. Problem is though with the new control scheme it makes aiming for the right areas in some games too difficult. Basically this is a multiplayer game. If youíre looking to buy this for solo use I wouldnít recommend it as you wonít get much out of it.

Even though this is a Gamecube title the visuals put to shame even some of the most up to date Wii games out today. The characters look and animate so well with every motion fluid and visually pleasing. The courts that youíll find yourself playing in are no slough either as youíll visit environments ranging from your standard grass and clay court right up to a tropical jungle and outside Luigiís Mansion. They all look impressive and make a nice change from your typical stadium based courts. The music too is surprisingly good with nice remixes of old tunes.

Iím not quite sure what to make of this New Play Control! version of Mario Tennis. On one hand itís still good fun to get a rally going with three friends throwing off crazy power shots and taunting them at every point slammed past them. But then on the other the control scheme can seem sloppy and at times just plain annoying. As one of Nintendoís first attempts at resurrecting its back catalogue for the Wii it isnít bad, just not the evolution I wanted. Still entertaining though, just bring friends.

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