|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: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
Short of the Title
by Tom Kelly
Over the years, Sonic the Hedgehog has experienced his fair share of peaks and valleys. At one time, this hard running rodent was battling Mario tooth and nail for mascot supremacy, but more recently his lackluster efforts have been akin to something you would see in the bargain bin rather than the top of the sales charts. It has been a tough road for the little blue guy, but hey, at least he still has his friends. Even better news is they can all play tennis. Does this translate into good times for all us gamers as well, or is this brand of racket tomfoolery just another disappointing washout? Well, Sega fans can rest easy because Sonic brings his game this time out and delivers a more than comparable sports experience.
As your journey through the world of Sega Sports, the main road you take is through Superstars mode. In it, players will travel across a variety of classic Sega locales engaging in tournaments, single matches or various mini-games. Each unique setting is accompanied by music from the original game, and is artistically designed to replicate the feel of its inspiration. Sega Superstars Tennis is very similar to most Mario Sports titles in that way, which I guess really should not come as a surprise.
While working your way through the myriad of challenges this mode presents, players will be able to unlock new characters, music tracks for specific courts, and courts themselves. Long time Sega fans will absolutely love the feeling of nostalgia they get playing through this game. Gilius from Golden Axe is a playable character, and if that is not sweet, I don't know what is. It was surely a welcome feeling progressing through the glory of Sega's rich history, but there are a few negatives that keep this game from truly being classic. Have no fear; unlike some of Sonic's checkered past, the positives outweigh them this time.
On the positive side, Sega Superstars Tennis is a fun title that is easy to pick up and play. Despite the ease of its playability, the tennis offered here is decently deep. Consider it Virtua Tennis light, a little more quirky with a little less depth. It is a well rounded Tennis experience with plenty of fun to be had. Add to that each character's unique special move, and this game of cat and mouse gets that much more interesting. For example, Dr. Eggman hits balls that disperse bomb clusters; MeeMee from Supermonkey ball dazzles the player while monkey balls slide across the court; and Gilius launches a lightning storm. A decent array of mini-games accompanies the standard singles and doubles matches as well. Aside from the Superstars mode, some of these goofy challenges are also available to enjoy with your friends, giving the game some much needed variety. Lastly, the addition of online play adds to the longevity of the title, although it is tough to say how populated the online pool will be for this one.
The graphics are extremely crisp, using the bright vibrant colors of the Sega world perfectly. The hi-res look of all the characters is excellent, and although it does not fully utilize the horsepower of the PS3, a title like this does not really need to. Along with the characters, each court has a well designed look incorporating plenty of Sega flare into each stage. Zombies roaming around the court, Knuckles as the ball boy, and leopards playing the bongo drums will become familiar sights. Conversely some courts are so aesthetically pleasing, they can be distracting as well.