Sega Superstars Tennis

Fancy a game of tennis? Join Sonic & Tails and hit the courts in this unique game.

It’s hard to find good tennis games these days. Sure, you could sit there and say that the one that came with Wii Sports was good as is Top Spin 2, but easy to play tennis games seem to be rare. It’s really easy to find an abundance of football, soccer, golf, and basketball games around but when you just want to whack some balls at a player opposite a net, what are you to do?

Sega have come to the rescue with a strange yet surprisingly good title.

Sega Superstars Tennis feels like the counterpart to the upcoming Nintendo game Super Smash Brothers, a game that plays homage to the company’s past while providing a great experience.

Load up the game and you’ll be greeted with a few options. If you start in “Superstars” mode, you’ll be played tennis to the theme of specific Sega games gradually unlocking more parts as you progress. “Match” and “Tournament” are pretty obvious but “Games” shakes the formula up by letting you relive Sega games by making them very tennis-y.

Have you ever wanted to play House of the Dead or Virtua Cop’s lightgun shooting games with tennis balls? Well now you can!

And while that’s not bad for a few minutes, playing level after level and only seeing an increase in difficulty can wear you down a little.

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So just put yourself into a match or tournament and see how you go. Chances are you’ll win very easily. This is because Sega Superstars Tennis has an Achilles heel of being very easy. It’s not that the artificial intelligence isn’t bad, it’s just not very good either. Characters tend to perform predictably and it won’t take seasoned gamers very long to work out that this isn’t exactly the hardest game around.

The graphics are pretty hot but the sound might throw others games out of the match when thinking of this game. It’s got your typical array of bright and punchy Sega music but the lack of phrases for characters can get a little tiring after hearing Sonic yell “I’ve got it!” a few times too many.

What makes Superstars Tennis so special is that Sega have done a really good job at bringing that whole Sega vibe to fruition. Here you have a game that really does well at bringing out the characters and sets from what might now be seen as “vintage” Sega games.

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Titles that most people probably have played make an appearance like Sonic the Hedgehog, Super Monkey Ball, and House of the Dead. But other titles which generally will only be known by Sega fans stride in too like NiGHTS, Alex Kidd, and Space Channel 5.

And while they’re just playing tennis, the characters look really good. It gets you thinking that Sega really need to start coming out with new versions of classic games when you start seeing characters like Alex Kidd in full 3D.

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There’s also another thing that makes Sega Superstars Tennis cool: the platforms.

Normally when a game exists for multiple systems and platforms, we’ll see a different game depending on the power of the console, the usability options, and so forth.

But I played Sega Superstars Tennis on both the Nintendo DS and the Xbox 360; two consoles which really couldn’t be further apart, and the one thing that shone through was how easy they each were to play and how much fun each were.

Yes, the controls are pretty simple as – short of the joystick or directional pad – you’re really only using two or three buttons. But by not over-complicating the game with different ways of making a shot, Sega have made a game that works well on every system without needing to compromise the game’s core.

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Developer: Sumo Digital
Publisher: Sega
Classification: G
Formats: Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Nintendo Wii, Nintendo DS
URL: Sega Superstars Tennis

Reviewed by Leigh D. Stark