Mario Tennis: Power Tour
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|Mario Tennis: Power Tour|
North American box art
|Release date(s)||Game Boy Advance
Mario Tennis: Power Tour, known as Mario Power Tennis in Europe and Australia, and as Mario Tennis Advance (マリオテニスアドバンス Mario Tenisu Adobansu?) in Japan, is a sports game developed by Camelot Software Planning and published by Nintendo for the Game Boy Advance. It was released on September 13, 2005 in Japan, on November 18, 2005 in Europe, on December 1, 2005 in Australia, and on December 5, 2005 in North America. It is the sequel to the Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis. Mario Tennis: Power Tour was the last Mario title released on the Game Boy Advance. Unlike Mario Tennis, players cannot hook their game up with the respective Nintendo GameCube version. It was re-released on the Wii U Virtual Console in 2014.
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The gameplay of Mario Tennis: Power Tour is similar to Mario Power Tennis’ gameplay. Players play tennis with other characters, in both doubles and singles, and there are several mechanics such as topspin, slice, and "Power Shots" (Special Shot in the Japanese version). There are both Offensive Power Shots and Defensive Power Shots which are earned further into the game. Offensive Power Shots are very powerful attacks; they power-up the ball and when they make contact with another player, they put a side effect on him/her such as knocked back a little bit, running around dazed, etc. Defensive Power Shots can negate the secondary effects of Offensive Power Shots and they can reach balls which normally would be out of reach. There’s topspin and slice, and topspin has more power than slice, while slice spin exchanges a tiny bit of power for more curve in the character's shot. As well as this, there is also a variety of shots, such as lobs or smashes.
There are several characters in Mario Tennis: Power Tour. The two main characters to choose from are Clay (Max in the European version; Norty in the Japanese version), a male power player; and Ace (Tina in the European version; Tabby in the Japanese version), a female technical player. The player can change the name of the character they choose to play as, and also choose the character's dominant hand for playing tennis (right or left); the character the player didn't choose will be their doubles partner and his/her name cannot be changed.
It is also worth noting that the game features a variety of characters from the Mario Tennis game for Game Boy color, who return as coaches. This includes Alex, the male protagonist from the first game. His varsity teammates are featured as coaches at the various levels of play.
There's also the Mario gang with Mario, Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong, Bowser and Waluigi; they won't appear until much later in the game. There's players returning from the previous game such as Alex (normally as coaches), and there's new faces such as Elroy, Tori, Whisker, and Paula. Playable previous human players are not available.
The game starts as the main character wakes up in unfamiliar surroundings. His/her partner explains that the protagonist has enrolled at the Royal Tennis Academy, and he/she is the character’s doubles partner. Having passed out the previous day during the Welcome Workout, they decide to get some breakfast. When they arrive at the restaurant, it is deserted and he/she finds out that masked challengers have challenged the top academy students, including Alex, who is implied to be the top-ranked player at the academy. After hearing that the masked players defeated the school champions, he/she sets out to become the top ranked player, in order to enter the main tournament (The Island Open) and discover the masked players' true identities.
After defeating the Junior and Senior classes, the player advances to the Varsity Level. Learning that only the two highest ranked doubles pairs can enter the tournament for sure, the main character defeats the entire Varsity class. The player, their partner, and two other players named Elroy (Excel in the Japanese version) (who is also the varsity captain) and Tori enter the Island Open.
After the winning the Island Open, the player has not yet discovered the identities of the masked players. However, the morning following their win, the two main characters are approached by Alex and led to a secret airport near the academy. Here, our hero meets Mario, who is implied to have been one of the masked players, and is taken to Peach's Kingdom to participate in the Peach Tournament against the other characters in the game. Winning the tournament ends the doubles game.
Afterwards, the main character becomes the singles champion of the school and wins the Island Open on his/her own, again traveling to the Mushroom Kingdom to play in the Peach Tournament. Winning this Tournament effectively ends the Story Mode's main plot line, and our hero presumably goes home the hero of the academy.
Mario Tennis: Power Tour has received positive reviews. It currently holds a score of 80.76% at GameRankings and 81 out of 100 at Metacritic. IGN gave the game 9 out of 10, praising the RPG aspects of the game and the leveling system to improve the characters. GameSpot gave it 8.5 out of 10, praising the game's selection of options and characters, as well as the power shots and Mario characters, but criticized the game's RPG mode, calling it too "involved". Eurogamer gave it 8 out of 10, stating "as GBA titles go, Mario Power Tennis is a fantastic title to own - not least because it justifies its existence by being the best GBA tennis title by a mile" and calling it "Yet another shining example of the kind of simple, addictive brilliance that Nintendo seems to have a monopoly on these days." GameSpy gave the game four stars out of five, commending the mini-games and single-player mode, but found the "ugly" 3D court models to be poor. Nintendo World Report gave the game a perfect ten.
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