|System: Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, PS2, DS||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Sumo Digital||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Sega||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: March 18, 2008||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-2||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Okay, let's forget about tennis for a moment and move on to Sega. What is it about Sega that has allowed them to have such a strong foothold in the world of video games? Could it be their legacy with the Genesis, Saturn, and Dreamcast? Perhaps it is their undying devotion to their respective line of games?
According to fans, it is devotion so deep that the game nostalgically presents characters and stages from over ten of the company's finest installments. Whether it is a court covered in zombies from the House of the Dead or musical tracks from the Sonic series, Sega doesn't disappoint on the fan-service. Surprisingly enough, even forgotten favorites such as Alex Kidd and Gilius Thunderhead make their own return appearances (why a monkey boy and a Viking would want to take place in a tennis tournament is beyond me). Arriving at the end of the tunnel is a mini-game mode lets you participate in a number of scenarios. These range from a Space Invaders-type game where you have to hit moving targets to a puzzle themed Puyo Puyo event. With so much fan-service present, you have to wonder why companies don't do this kind of thing more often.
What companies should do more often is provide players with a better presentation, and Sega Superstars Tennis doesn't disappoint too much in that regard. The music is pleasant without being overbearing or repetitive, and the sound effects are traditional tennis fare. Characters have little sound clips that help bring out their personalities, though they mostly just jabber on after a point or fault.
Visually, the DS version obviously lacks the interaction and flare of the console versions, but you typically can't fault it for that. The mini-games, especially the House of the Dead and Virtua Cop ones, are vibrant enough that you can tell what is going on. Character sprites are a little blocky, but not to the point where it is distracting. As you can probably surmise, the game isn't a visual masterpiece, but what more can you expect from a handheld tennis title. In the end, you take what you can get.
When it comes down to it you have to ask yourself these two questions: "Do you like Sega?" and "Is tennis something that you enjoy either as a hobby or pastime?" If you answered yes to either of these questions, then Sega Superstars Tennis is a solid purchase. Sadly there is no online play, so the only way you are going to be able to play with a partner is through direct connectivity. Even without a friend, Sega Superstars Tennis holds up well because of its fan-factor, solid presentation, and replayability on the road. Sure, it isn't as good as Mario Tennis, and occasionally the game feels a bit too linear, but ultimately you get what you pay for. With niche titles like this you were either excited about this from the start or never cared to begin with; let that be your guide.
CCC Freelance Writer