Sega Superstars Tennis
“A boring and flavourless gaming experience awaits you here. BUT ITS GOT SONIC SO YOU HAVE TO BUY IT!!!”
This is a very bland attempt at making a Tennis game and marketing it off with the help of Sonic. The very name of the game itself is a misnomer. There is but one Sega super star in this game and that is Sonic. You won’t find anyone from the Phantasy Star Universe or anything else of major repute, only minor characters with popularity times that can be measured in minutes.
This game is arcade action tennis, it is fast and the controls are designed for a quick learning experience, so it’s very easy to play at parties. The single player mode is an interesting experience, if only short lived, with some fun minigames to hold your attention. However, once you’ve gotten the hang of it, you’ll get bored of it real fast.
There is no storyline or plot, just a whole bunch of missions you have to complete to unlock the rest of the characters and game modes. All the missions you’ll have to complete are all tennis based so don’t expect much variety within this game. You’ll be sick of tennis by the time you finish this game.
The graphics are really good and somewhat flashy. When it comes to tennis, sometimes it’s very hard to see the ball with all the other flashy stuff going on in the background. There is even a water level where you play tennis in shallow water. Each of the level themes looks great, with lots of detail and special effects, but it just seems to be an over compensation for a lack lustre game. The special effects are also really top notch. You’ll especially notice it when you activate your player special smash.
That being said, I did feel that the characters themselves were a little bland. With all the detail put into the backgrounds and courts, the characters looked out of place on the field with their appearances being so contrasted.
Sound / Music
The music in the game level has the theme of the particular game where the level is taken from. So if you’re familiar with most of the characters, you’ll be familiar with the music and know what to expect. Yet the menu music is just the worse thing ever. It’s just painful to listen too.
The sound effects are pretty much standard fare for the game and nothing much sticks out. The zombies on the zombie levels sound very zombie like with lots of moaning and groaning.
The game has distinctly decent controls. However, the down side is that in some events and game mode, you don’t get a choice of how you’re going to use the controller. It’s pre-set, which kind of makes the whole idea of multiple control schemes redundant.
The easiest control set is where you swing the controller to swing your racket. This makes for great multiplayer mayhem and has the added bonus of being really easy to pick up, so it’s great for parties. There are some other controller schemes like holding the controller sideways (definitely not one of my favourites).
Unfortunately, no matter what control scheme you choose, the biggest problem with this game lies in targeting and accuracy. There are certain missions and minigames where you have to hit the ball into the opposing court with a fair degree of accuracy and this game makes very little account for that. No matter what button combinations I would hold, the ball would never land where I wanted it to go. This is really frustrating, especially in missions where you need accuracy in order to move on.
The best aspect of this game is the minigames with zombies. You get a hoard of zombies slowly shuffling your way and you have to whack tennis balls at them to knock them down. It’s great fun and by far the biggest draw for this game.
The other minigames are a bit of a let down. The sonic games have you collecting rings on the court while dodging lightning attacks from robots. Others will have you hitting coloured balls into the opposing court to colour in a tag. The super monkey ball mode is just dreadful, with you having to hit balls at balls to make them go into rings, an almost impossible task considering this games accuracy. None of the other minigames can match the fun or the feel of the zombie mode.
The developers probably felt they had a bit of a dud tennis game here, so they decided to throw in a special smash move for each character. These smash moves have to be charged up by playing and when activated can win a multiplayer match just by activating! The trick is to pick you time to activate. When you do, the game freezes while you have your special move animation and then picks up instantly from where you left off. If you time it just right, your opponent will miss his shot every time.
But, what about the special move in itself? Each one does something different, but it is useless against the A.I opponents because the A.I will never miss the ball or be confused by the effects of the special smash. Kind of a waste as I found myself losing more points using the special move than winning them against A.I.
But let’s just cover multiplayer for a minute. With all the other multiplayer games out there, what does this game do that makes it worth playing when you have friends over? It’s easy to pick up with a very small learning curve and it has lots of different game modes. But, this game wont be played that much when you have friends over simply because of the vast majority of better multiplayer games out there.
Look, Wii Sports does everything that this game does, but with a whole bunch of other games included. Not only that, I felt that the Wii Sports version of tennis had better controls and physics. It certainly felt better walking around and taking shots while playing.
YAWN! This game is just plain boring after a while. Give it a miss or if you really must, try to rent it first because if after a few days, you still want to play it, you’ll be happy with this for the rest of your natural life. Even then, do not buy this game unless it’s heavily reduced.
The minigames are what make this game stand out, which is usually not a good reflection of the main gaming experience. The Zombie tennis mode is what I got this game for and I wasn’t disappointed, just bored after a while. Perhaps, they should have gotten rid of the Sega Sonic crap and expanded the minigames as it would have extended the games lifespan dramatically.
I am seriously sick of these stupid clone games that try to cash in on the fame of certain games popularity. You’ve seen it done time and time again and rarely has it worked. You’d think that with the amount of bad reviews these games get, the developers would have learnt their lesson by now. Sadly, you’d be mistaken, as this seems like a mistake that they are just going to keep repeating ad nauseam.
If you want a better tennis experience, I’d recommend Top Spin over this game as the mechanics are better and it looks like tennis should look. Top Spin also has the added feature of online play which this game lacks. There is also Wii Sports, but the tennis mode may not be as in-depth experience that you require it to be. Still, it’s cheaper and more fun that Sega Tennis so I’d go for Wii Sports over this title any day.