Mario Tennis Review – Definitive 50 N64 Game #25

The list so far: The Definitive 50 N64 Games

Okay, so the Mario Tennis franchise technically got started on the Virtual Boy with Mario’s Tennis. But let’s be real here: most people got their introduction to the series on the N64. Also, it’s the N64 version that introduced the most handsome of all Nintendo characters, Waluigi, to the world.

Following their good work in bringing Mario Golf to the N64 and GameBoy Color, Camelot moved on to doing the same for Mario Tennis.

The game may appear simple at first, but deceptively so. It’s just tennis, and presses of the A button alone are enough to serve and return the ball. The more you play though, the more you realize there’s a lot more to the controls. Combinations of the A and B buttons in different times and orders will result in all kinds of different shots. Holding either button will also lead to a more powerful charge shot – this is dangerous though – characters are frozen in place while charging up.

Mario Tennis features a wide cast of classic Mario characters – many you’d expect – Toad, Yoshi, Luigi, Peach, Bowser, and all the rest. There are also a few more notable entrants as well. Boo is playable and especially devious – he allows players to control his serves in the air. The game also includes a rare appearance from Donkey Kong Jr., who can actually be unlocked as a playable character.

Most importantly though, Mario Tennis gave the world Waluigi. The lanky villain serves as Wario’s doubles partner, and evil’s answer to Luigi. Best of all, his eyes shoot rainbows when he scores. I have no idea why. Waluigi’s sick reach makes him absolutely killer at the net, and he’s arguable Mario Tennis’ best character.

Mario Tennis features a rich selection of modes. Players can work through a series of Singles and Doubles Tournaments with all the different characters. Additional courts and characters can be unlocked by winning these tournaments under various conditions.

There’s also the Piranha Challenge and Ring Shot modes to try out.

The real thrill of Mario Tennis is, of course, the multiplayer! The N64 is known for its numerous top notch competitive multiplayer games – and Mario Tennis definitely ranks as one of the must-play party games.

Up to four players can battle it out at once in Mario Tennis, when taking advantage of the game’s doubles option. This means that in addition to trash talking and generally hating your opponents, you get the added bonus of getting to scream at your own teammate, who will undoubtedly screw up in some indefensible way at some point.

A number of different courts, each with their own properties add yet more variety to the multiplayer.

The Bowser Stage raises the stakes to the next level. Seemingly inspired by Mario Kart, this special mode introduces an ever-shifting court and Mario Kart style items for some seriously chaotic tennis.

As with Mario Golf, Mario Tennis also allows players to bring characters over from its GameBoy Color counterpart using the Transfer Pak. Once again, transferred characters can earn additional experience points on the N64 that improve their stats back on the GameBoy game.

The joy of Mario Tennis lives on. Not only has the series come to GameCube, Wii, GBA, and 3DS, but Waluigi keeps showing up games as well.

Let me know what you think of Mario Tennis and the Definitive 50 in the comments section below. Don’t forget to rate and subscribe. Check back next week for entry #24 on the Definitive 50 N64 games.