Mario Power Tennis (GameCube) Preview

By Adam Riley 18.06.2004 2

Camelot is one of Nintendo's best friends at the present, producing many high-class games that actually manage to reach the dizzy heights the Kyoto Company reaches on a daily basis, which is why the lucrative Mario franchise has been entrusted to the folk that previously worked on Shining Force with SEGA. After great success with Mario Golf on the GameCube and GBA, it is now the turn of Mario's tennis exploits. Can the GameCube iteration match the style and finesse of its Nintendo 64 predecessor? Read on and all will be revealed...

The control setup on the Nintendo 64 version made Mario Tennis accessible to anyone - be them veterans used to the likes of Virtua Tennis or complete newcomers to the racket-friendly genre. This is basically what made the game so amazingly fun as it had the perfect balance between simplicity and depth. Oh, and there was the wonderful four-player multiplayer modes that extended the title's lifespan enormously. Throw the extra gaming modes into the mix and Mario Tennis proved to be one of the most enjoyable N64 products of the system's entire existence. When it was announced that Camelot was to be working on a GameCube update people were sceptical - would it really be worth buying something that would probably only be an aesthetic upgrade in essence?

The usual array of characters are back in the line-up; the Mario Brothers, the evil duo of Wario & Waluigi, Donkey Kong, Bowser, Princess Peach and Yoshi amongst others. The full roster, including any of the secret characters, has yet to be confirmed, but there looks to be a greater scope of choice this time round. The same goes for the tennis courts themselves. Whereas in the N64 version we were treated to special court-bases, that sometimes proved to be arduous to play on due to them obscuring the actual ball because of colour-clashes, now we get massive specially-themed arenas like the astounding Luigi's Mansion one that proves to be even more eerie than the Green Leanie's GC launch game!

So what are these character-specific abilities then? Well, now Mario can whip out a large hammer to smash the ball, Shy Guy can use instant Tornado Returns, the heavyweights of Donkey Kong and Bowser can return Megaton Balls that have such power behind them that returning is out of the question ninety-nine percent of the time. Then there are the likes of Luigi, who can use clever defensive tricks, plus many more secret techniques that are yet to be revealed. These are accessed by building up Skill Points, that are collected when using the various simple button combinations to return with topsin, backspin or merely smash the ball back to your opponent, and then charging-up their power in order to hit back with the ultimate force. This looks like making a huge splash for both one-player or more when it hits in 2005.

Final Thoughts

Mario Tennis is arguably the heroic plumber's best sport and Camelot has brought an outstanding amount of class to the series now it has hit the GameCube. Solo or multiplayer is more than catered for either when playing any of the mini-games, trying to unlock new players, courts and game modes, or just playing in plain old doubles/singles matches. Then there is the blunder Nintendo Europe made by announcing the game would be online, before quickly changing that to just Broadband compatible (presumably for LAN multiplayer link-up). What could be happening there? We certainly do not know - but we simply cannot wait to find out. 2005 better hurry up, or else we are going to seriously burst with anticipation!

Developer

Camelot

Publisher

Nintendo

Genre

Sport

Players

4

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  8/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10 (6 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date Out now   Australian release date Out now   

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