North American box art
|Developer(s)||Camelot Software Planning|
|Director(s)||Haruki Kodera (N64)
Shugo Takahashi (GBC)
Shugo Takahashi (GBC)
Wii (Nintendo 64)
Mario Tennis, known in Japan as Mario Tennis 64 (マリオテニス64 Mario Tenisu Rokujūyon), is a 2000 sports video game developed by Camelot Software Planning and published by Nintendo for the Nintendo 64 video game console. The game was released in North America and Japan in the summer of 2000, and released in Europe later in November. It is the first tennis-based game starring Mario since Mario's Tennis, and the second game developed by Camelot on a Nintendo system. The game is known for being the introduction of Luigi's evil doppleganger, Waluigi, and the re-introduction of Princess Daisy and Birdo.
Mario Tennis was re-released on the Wii Virtual Console in 2010 and on the Wii U Virtual Console in 2015. The game's success led to three sequels: Mario Power Tennis released for the Nintendo GameCube in 2004, Mario Tennis Open released for the Nintendo 3DS in 2012, and Mario Tennis: Ultra Smash released for the Wii U in 2015.
Characters and Transfer Pak features
Marking the sixth Mario game for the Nintendo 64, Mario Tennis brings eleven new characters to the Mario Tennis franchise, including Waluigi (which is his first appearance in the Mario series overall), Princess Daisy, Wario, Shy Guy, Donkey Kong and Birdo.
Through the use of an N64 Transfer Pak, players are able to import his or her characters from the Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis to the N64 game, as well as the characters' stats. After connecting Mario Tennis for the Game Boy Color with Mario Tennis for the Nintendo 64, various options become available; Yoshi, Wario, Waluigi and Bowser can all be sent to the Game Boy Color Version, and GBC characters Alex, Harry, Nina and Kate can be transferred to the Nintendo 64 version. Using the latter four characters, experience points may be earned to transfer back to the GBC version. As the characters go up in levels, one may send his or her improved characters to the N64 version to level up again.
A variety of tennis courts can become available to unlock in the Nintendo 64 version after linking with the Game Boy Color version.
On the Virtual Console versions, the Ring Tournament mode in Special Games in the N64 version can't be highlighted and the ability to unlock extra characters and courts through the Transfer Pak in the GBC and N64 versions has been removed, and Linked Play, and erase N64 data, and N64 Tennis data and N64 Tournaments in the GBC version can't be selected.
The game uses a control system that differs from most other video tennis games on the market. Shots are performed by pressing one, or both, of the two main buttons (A or B), which make the ball spin in different ways. Pressing a button twice strikes the tennis shot with more power and spin. Additionally, pressing the two buttons in a different order can result in a different type of shot altogether, such as a lob or drop shot. Both buttons can be pressed at the same time to hit a very powerful smash shot. The longer a button is pressed before contact is made with the ball, the stronger the shot will be. The control system allows players of all levels to become familiar with the mechanics of the game within a very short time, whilst also encouraging advanced players to take advantage of the variety of shots on offer to come up with different strategies for winning points. A total of seven types of shot are possible using only the two main buttons of the controller.
Mario Tennis received critical acclaim, with critics citing the accessibility and depth of the controls as being very impressive. The game physics and amount of content have also been praised. The Nintendo 64 version received "universal acclaim" according to the review aggregation website Metacritic.
Mario Tennis sold over 200,000 copies within two weeks of its release.
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A Game Boy Color version, also developed by Camelot and Nintendo, was published under the same title in Western regions and as Mario Tennis GB in Japan. The game was released on November 1, 2000 in Japan; January 16, 2001 in North America; and February 2, 2001 in Europe. It features a wide variety of human and Mario characters for the player to use. The game also features mini-games such as a tennis version of a shooting gallery where, as Donkey Kong, the player must hit the banana targets on the wall to earn points in a set amount of time.
An RPG mode appears on the Game Boy Color version, which is not in the Nintendo 64 version. In this mode, players begin as a rookie tennis player at the Royal Tennis Academy, who must build up his/her skill (by leveling-up) through training and practice matches before entering various tournaments. The aim of this mode is to be crowned champion at the academy, although a surprise [clarification needed] awaits those who attain this goal. The RPG is playable in singles and doubles (separately), effectively doubling the game's longevity. There are training facilities that can help the player progress.
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