This review originally posted in 2010, and we’re updating and republishing it to mark the arrival of N64 games to Nintendo Switch Online.
When Mario Golf came out in 1999, it was already known that Camelot was working on another Mario sports title for the N64, and after a decent title released for the infamous Virtual Boy, Camelot gave Mario another shot at tennis.
Mario Tennis (N64) is set up a bit differently from Mario Golf (N64) in that you don’t have to sit in a bulky (and honestly pretty difficult) single player mode to unlock almost all the characters, one by one, to play in other modes. In fact, only two characters are locked at the start of the game, and they can be obtained quite easily.
What you’re most likely to get into to get a feel for the game is a standard match. These come in two flavors: single and double. It’s not too hard to guess what that means: Singles is a one-on-one game, while the Doubles, incredibly, is a two-on-two game. Yes, as this is a Nintendo 64 game, four player matches are possible.
Very similar to golf, tennis uses a button combination system to let you choose exactly the type of stroke you want to make. Charge with “A”, then press “B” when the ball is close, for example, to do a lob shot – this tends to make the ball go up high, coming down very slowly to the back side of the field. the opponent. Do it the other way around by pressing “B” then “A” and you will perform a drop shot, which gives the ball a very small arc and hits the ground almost immediately once it has passed. the net. There are many different combinations (yes, with just two buttons!) And knowing when to use which type of shot can easily help turn the tide in your favor.
The courts you play on are pretty grounded in reality. All but two (both available only in Special Game Modes) don’t feature any special bizarre Mario-esque gadgets. Some of them feature a big picture of the owners (such as Mario and Luigi) spread across the floor, but these serve no other purpose than to differentiate all of the grounds in the game. Each also has their own unique characteristics. which determine the speed of the ball and the force of the rebound, which serves as a sort of “difficulty setting” because you can choose what you want the game to look like just by choosing a court.
Oddly absent are the “human” characters introduced in Golf, as the cast here is made up entirely of familiar faces from the Mushroom Kingdom, with the exception of two of them: Daisy, who only appeared in Super Mario Land and one or two obscure titles; and Waluigi, who made his debut here. Of course, both have appeared in just about every multiplayer Mario game released since, but it’s interesting to see how both originally looked and acted in 3D.
As in Golf, the characters are divided into certain types of skills. Mario and Luigi are versatile types, as usual, but the rest of the cast is split into Speed, Power, Technique, and Tricky players. Each of them adapts to a different style of play: Powerful players must try to beat their opponent with super powerful and fast smashes, while technical players must try to use their incredible precision to send the ball flying towards an almost inaccessible or unexpected place for the opponent (s).
Of course, it wouldn’t be a Mario game without some weird game modes. Ring Shot is another familiar concept: Rings will appear on the field, and anyone who hits the ball through them will get points. With each hit the rings increase in size and their value decreases, so you’ll want to try and get the ball through them as soon as they appear.
The Piranha Challenge is a simple skill test. Three Piranha plants will fire bullets at you (one at a time) and you just have to throw them all back. The other side of the court also has an opposing player, and he or she will actively try to return any balls you manage to hit, after which you won’t be able to hit them a second time. If you manage to hit all 50 balls in front of your opponent, you can take pride in having completed one of the toughest challenges in the history of Mario sports games!
The Bowser Stage has a special lot located in Bowser’s Castle that continually tilts backward over a lava pit. To make matters worse, there are item boxes above the net – smash the ball through them and you’ll get items to annoy your opponents with.
The lack of Game Boy Color link support if you’re not playing on original material means you can’t import four additional custom characters from the GBC game or six additional terrains, some of which also have unique characteristics ( as one with the fastest speed and strongest bounce).
For a 2000 N64 version, Mario Tennis looks great. Each character has a wide variety of facial expressions and animations, and the game always goes smoothly. Like Mario Golf, the music is catchy and enjoyable, but not too catchy, although the character-specific courts feature music remixes of their appropriate games. A nice touch.
With Mario Tennis, the portly plumber has proven once again that he can make any sport more fun. This game has received many sequels over the years, some of which have introduced questionable and not always enjoyable gameplay elements. The 64-bit input, on the other hand, is a pure, untouched Mario Tennis experience and one of Mario’s best outings with a racket. All in all a fun and frantic game and absolute fun to play with friends.