tiistai 2. elokuuta 2011

REVIEW - Mario Tennis: Power Tour (2005)

GENRE(S): Sports / RPG
RELEASED: September 2005
DEVELOPER(S): Camelot Software Planning, Nintendo
PUBLISHER(S): Nintendo

There are not too many franchises copyrighted by Nintendo that didn't see a Game Boy Advance installment at some point of time. In 2005, Camelot and Nintendo brought back Mario Tennis on the Game Boy Advance, but rather than settling on a port of the Nintendo 64 cult classic, they delivered a whole different game with a very strong element of role-playing in it. This strange hybrid of a traditional sports game and an RPG gained the respect and acclaim of critics everywhere. Me, I came here to play tennis, not witness an exceptionally dumb role-playing adventure with SOME tennis in it as the main mode. Luckily it's not the only way to go.

The mystic quest for game, set and match

Clay and Ace, two young, promising tennis upstarts make their way up the ranks of their academy, all the while a group of mysterious, masked players hack through top players of those same ranks with authority.

Try again when there's a real tennis game
going on.
Mario Tennis: Power Tour has a plot... and that, I believe, is enough said. Seriously, as I said before, I came to play some tennis, not talk to a million NPC's before I can enter one single game. Leveling up is good, in any game. I just love to build up my characters, whatever the game is like, and adding this particular element of a role-playing game into a sports game is a no-brainer; practice makes perfect. The stupid conversations and scenes between equally stupid original characters, and travelling from point A to point B, and from there, to points C and D, and finally to point Z, are ideas which should've been harvested from the game before they were even conceived. Why do even RPG lovers buy this game? Tell me. From my point of view, they're expecting a quick, fun game of tennis, just like Mario Tennis was before it. To enjoy that kind of game, you need to set your sights on the Exhibition Mode and just leave the Power Tour be. Doesn't sound very fun or worth your time or money, now does it?

The graphics are quite OK, just what we've grown accustomed to from first-hand Game Boy Advance titles. Colourful, and neat, and of course, considering the primary genre of the game, dynamic movement and framerate are very important issues. The quality of the music (once again composed by Motoi Sakuraba) varies by a bunch, but most of it's all right. Since the main mode of the game focuses on original - yet generic - characters, there are less voice samples in this game than most Mario-related titles for the Advance.

I want to play as Bowser.
I will not comment on the Power Tour any further. In a nutshell, I hate the mode. The sequences detached from actual tennis are just way too long. You're spending more time navigating the academy grounds and unlocking minigames than actually playing. Of course, to unlock everything in the game even outside the Power Tour confines, you need to finish the mode once. I'm sure there are people who like Power Tour, but it's simply not what I expected out of this game, and it's not even an entertaining poor man's RPG. I've seen indie developers make better RPG's. It's cruel, but it's my honest opinion.

So, Exhibition Mode is the main shite as far as I'm concerned. In the beginning, there are six Mario characters to choose from, and luckily Bowser is among them, once again. The vintage controls and the unique shots of the Nintendo 64 translate to the Game Boy Advance surprisingly well, the game is comfortable to play and the unique Power Shots of the characters, as well as their personal traits, are much stronger and more essential elements of effective gameplay. Many consider the multiplayer mode of Mario Tennis its strongest quality, and once again, I must profess my dislike for multiplayer games on handhelds. To me, the only attraction of Mario Tennis: Power Tour lies in the single-player experience - not a very good sales point for a game that was pretty much created for multiplayer madness. Mario Kart: Super Circuit is a strong game from all angles, so the lack of a comfortable multiplayer mode doesn't hurt it that much, but Mario Tennis: Power Tour isn't.

That's better.
I don't really know what to say regarding the game's lifespan, because I'm sure a lot of people really enjoy the Power Tour mode in addition to simply having to hack through it to unlock everything there is to unlock. Personally, I find the game a mere tool to pass time at the exhibition court, I have close to zero interest to wrap up the story, and I'm sure that there are also people who share my view. I truly hope so, at least.

I went into this game expecting a diverse game of tennis in the vintage slapstick style of the Mario franchise, but I did not expect a game quite this diverse, nor did I want it. There's way too much emphasis on a crappy, dull role-playing game instead of what it says on the cover. Props to the EXP system, flops to the rest. Mario Tennis: Power Tour is a severely overrated game, close to nothing like its predecessor. 

SOUND : 7.0


a.k.a. Mario Tennis Advance (JAP), Mario Power Tennis (EU)

GameRankings: 80.76%

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