"The idea of everyone's favourite SEGA characters such as Sonic, Ulala, AiAi and Nights in a tennis game is a fantastic idea. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of brilliant tennis series like Mario Tennis and SEGAs own Virtua Tennis, the developers at SUMO have given us Sega Superstars Tennis. Does the game score an ace or does it double fault? "
The idea of everyone's favourite SEGA characters such as Sonic, Ulala, AiAi and Nights in a tennis game is a fantastic idea. Hoping to follow in the footsteps of brilliant tennis series like Mario Tennis and SEGAs own Virtua Tennis, the developers at SUMO have given us Sega Superstars Tennis. Does the game score an ace or does it double fault?
A wonderful thing about previous tennis games like Virtua Tennis was the incredible amount of depth contained inside. The world tour mode was a fantastic experience for both the casual and hardcore tennis fan. SEGA seemingly missed this with Sega Superstars Tennis. The attempt at “depth” is Superstar mode.
Superstar mode is a rather interesting concept. There are many “worlds” of which to travel. These “worlds” are simply franchise themed tennis courts (Sonic the Hedgehog, Samba De Amigo and Nights to name a few) that are filled with mini-games and tennis matches. You will find that the mini-games get very tedious after a while. One game will be collect 5 apples, the next game collect 10 apples and so forth. The mini-games tend to continuously repeat themselves which gets annoying. However, the worlds of Puyo-Pop Fever and Jet Set Radio are both innovative and will be great fun-until they are finished. Then there are other worlds like Golden Axe, which contains on event (a single-player tournament) and does not even take place at a Golden Axe-themed tennis court. This is simply the laziness of the developers.
Other single player modes include Tournament Mode- a short 5 round tournament that if you rank well you get an extra battle against an incredibly difficult Dr.Eggman. There is also your basic exhibition mode, which can be played in singles or doubles. From a single player experience, neither of the options are exciting enough to have you playing for hours on end. You will be spending most of your time in Superstar Mode.
Online matches are where you will find most of your joy. In a matter of seconds you will be matched up with an opponent and will be playing in no time. The online experience is almost seamless, with the exception of a strange glitch that doesn't actually affect the flow of the match. The online modes are easily your best bet for having a good time and increasing your skill.
The difficulty level is really unbalanced. You should find yourself tearing through various matches, mini-games and tournaments only to find a random even that is stupendously difficult. Its like your walking down a pleasant avenue where the birds are chirping and “BAM!” your eaten by a bear. Bizzare analogy, I know, but you get the idea.
Sega Superstars Tennis features an exciting new control scheme, and by exciting I mean remedial. The A button is a “fast shot” and X is a “slow shot”. Hitting A followed by X nets you a dropshot and the opposite gets you a lob. This means that the B and Y buttons are unused. Why? If the two buttons were registered with the lob and dropshot respectively the game would have bee fleshed out fully and would have been great fun. The worst part, however, is that the game never gives you the option to change the control scheme.
The game really isn't anything special to look at. The stages themselves look vibrant but the character models range from good (Nights, Dr.Eggman) to atrocious (Gilius). The developers did a great job recreating classic stages- the Jet Set Radio court looks as if it came straight from the game.
The soundtrack is a wonderful tribute for SEGA fans. Each stage has music from the respective series. The voice-overs also fluctuate on a scale from spot-on to obnoxious depending on the character. The music is lively and deserves a place in any SEGA fans heart.
Despite all its problems, Sega Superstars Tennis is a terrific homage to all the SEGA fans. The developers really made great choices with the roster- there is at least one character from SEGA's staple franchises. The game is also really fun to play with a friend or online- the problem is that the game as a single player experience is really half-baked.
With a great soundtrack and strong cast of SEGA favourites, SST had a lot of potential. Unfortunately, an awful control scheme and a very shallow single player experience prevents the game from being anything more than average.
Community review by Azumangaman (April 21, 2008)
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