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SEGA Superstars Tennis (Xbox 360) artwork

SEGA Superstars Tennis (Xbox 360) review


"A pink hedgehog fighting a gang of zombies? "



A pink hedgehog fighting a gang of zombies?

Check.

A master of Shellcore hitting a wall of multicolored blobs with a tennis ball?

Got it.

A space reporter destroying and dodging various oddities in what an announcer calls the Fantasy Zone?

You bet.

As you can tell from those descriptions, Sega Superstars Tennis isn't your typical tennis title. Far from it. With a cast of Sega characters from over the ages, the main premise of this game is to take on various challenges in a tennis court environment. To put it more bluntly: minigames galore. Planet Superstars, the main mode, gives you various themed sections, Game Zones, to take on these challenges in, which range from Super Monkey Ball and Samba de Amigo themes, to much older titles like Space Harrier and Virtua Cop.

Sumo Digital didn't just throw you basic-looking challenges, either. They modeled most of the challenges around each theme, staying true to that title as much as they can. The Jet Grind Radio section is a pretty good example of this. As the challenge begins, various camera angles will capture the area around the arena, where you'll witness a recreation of the Shibuya bus terminal. Schoolgirls, the Rokkaku police, and Professor K surround the court as they watch in anticipation of the challenge. As it finally begins, you'll have graffiti on the other side of the net, showcasing all its various colors. Once you get a good look at it, the camera swings back into its normal position, and at that point, Combo, a character from the game, will skate right across the net's line, and in the process, throw different colored spray cans your way. If you haven't caught on now, then the goal here is to pick up a colored spray can, then hit your ball across the net to the same colored area on the graffiti. And yeah, it's tougher than it sounds. Other challenges involve avoiding the police by running around the court and cleaning up graffiti with sponges.

When you first start Planet Superstars, it really seems a bit on the easy side. But, the more you push forward with the challenges, the more... challenging it'll get. And addictive, I might add. In the Sonic the Hedgehog Game Zone, early challenges will simply have you pick up rings on the court with minimal opposition. Though, later on, you'll have to dodge 4 or 5 electric spikes and bombs thrown at you by Robotnik's robots as you attempt to pick up the right amount of rings. Or, if you want, go beyond the fixed amount to succeed with an AAA rank. Also, some of the PuyoPop Fever challenges has to be the most addicting games in SST. They're more or less a recreation of the PuyoPop game itself, except you make the colored blobs disappear by hitting them with a tennis ball, as mentioned earlier. The final challenge has no time limit, so I ended up playing that for a good 10/15 minutes before the blobs reached the top of the wall.

Also, don't think all of your work in completing most of these challenges goes unrewarded. With certain victories, you'll be presented with various gifts. This can range anywhere from new Game Zones like NiGHTS or After Burner, characters from Space Channel 5 or maybe Golden Axe, and new music tracks from the original games themselves. I never knew I can get excited after winning a new tune, but when you receive stuff from Virtua Cop (Gang Headquarters theme is made of win) and House of the Dead (catchy stuff), it's hard not to. Though, it's kind of disappointing how some of the new Game Zones you get just reuse courts from other sections, like the Golden Axe section borrowing the House of the Dead (or, as it's called in SST, Curien Mansion) court. It was equally a letdown that certain Game Zones have only one or two challenges. I was surprised that Space Channel 5 and Samba de Amigo only had two challenges each. Oh well, you can't get everything you wanted.

Now, there is actual tennis matches in this title, but they take kind of a backseat to the minigame onslaught. It's also basically Virtua Tennis 3, so, if you want an actual tennis game, then I suggest picking up that title, instead. Because, really, the only actual time you'll really get into an intense match is online, and if you want some of that offline, you're out of luck. Sega Superstars Tennis is something different from that; it's essentially a fanservice title. Sega fans will eat it up for the various references and the numerous characters that make appearances on and off the courts. Thankfully, the minigames manage to be entertaining, and encourages you to ace each of them for an AAA rank. It also makes for a pretty neat party game when you have company over.

I wonder if they're gonna follow this up with a different sports title... Sega Superstars Racing? Or maybe Sega Superstars Golf? That would rock. The golf title, I mean.

Rating: 8/10

pickhut's avatar
Community review by pickhut (April 01, 2008)

PickHut has this weird fondness for the Sega Saturn. Even though he's aware that most of the game's are either decent or terrible, he still wants to play them.

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