Sega serves up its first game to contain all the head honchos of its name. They can run, they can fly and they can even stop zombies in mid-rampage. The Sega Superstars are here and are ready to compete for title of “Champion”.
Get behind the net as one of the many unique characters and unleash on the opponent with a barrage of swings, dives, and special abilities. Rock the court with your special powers, and continue on the path that will lead you to victory.
Release Date: March 18, 2008
Developer: Sumo Digital
Players: 1-4 Locally
This game has a very universal control scheme to suit different types of gamers. The WiiMote can be used solo much like in Wii Sports. This is probably preferred by those who enjoy having the AI find your best location on the court for a shot, leaving you to do the swinging, but limits your the speed of your character due to it being automatically maneuvered. The Nunchuck combo is for people who look more for a bit more of a challenge by allowing free control of your character on the court while, still allowing you to swing the Wii Mote to hit the ball. Last in the lineup, there is the option of using the WiiMote sideways, which offers a faster level of gameplay by responding to your input more quickly, but can prove to be a bit difficult when trying to make semi-circular movements.
The rules of the game are the same as any other tennis game. There are four modes including Planet Superstars, match, tournament and mini-games. This offers a wide variety of gameplay and experiences filled with Sega's unique style. Lob, spike and backhand the ball as it moves toward your character. The real trick lies within the timing in which you hit the ball.
The biggest drawback I must note has more to do with the console service. On the Wii version of this title, the online play has completely been omitted. The 360 and PS3 both offer an online service for playing against friends or strangers but Nintendo doesn't seem to have any servers up at all. Unfortunately, this hurts the game's potential, which to some, may outweigh the good with the bad.
What makes each character unique is their special move which can be activated once you have filled the superstar gauge. The superstar gauge is represented as a hollow gold star icon that is constantly beneath the feet of the user. Each time you serve, return the ball, or score, the gauge slowly begins to fill the star until it rotates and shines. Once it has been filled, a special move can be used to give you an advantage during the set it is used. Sonic can be transformed into Super Sonic which will cause the ball to zigzag on the enemy's court if it is returned; Eggman shoots out ball-like mines that explode on contact that are returned along with the ball.
That is NOT a tennis ball!
The real attraction is the Planet Superstars mode. Instead of offering a storyline, the game gives a nice collection of Sega-related challenges. In Planet Superstars, the challenges are divided up into a collection of other Sega titles and personalized to their respective games. Collect rings in Sonic the Hedgehog or shoot the targets in Virtua Cop.
With over 100 challenges, experience Sega's finest masterpieces over the years.
The soundtrack is one of the games most important features and does a great job in showing that. Each court has its own style and therefore its own tracks. Many fans of Sega over the years will recognize most of the tracks right away, while others are a nice addition from the more modern pieces.
Being able to choose the track before the match starts makes picking your favorite song a lot easier as well. The sound effects are pretty accurate as far as the sound of hitting a tennis ball goes and the voices reflect each of the characters' attitudes well. From the music to the grunting, the sound does nothing short of making even the most basic gameplay slightly if not much more entertaining.
Sadly, for the most part, the graphics and rendering of the game are a bit low. The characters are a tad blocky and one can easily point out where the flaws are. However it's not all that bad. The courts and colors stick out in a positive way but not so much as to take away from the fact that there are straight lines where curves should be. The look of the special moves compensates a little by showing vivid colors and effects. Compared to the higher version consoles of this game, the Wii version either seems a bit rushed or just not capable of taking this game to its full potential.
For a game that takes the most basic controls and gameplay for a tennis title, it does a pretty good job of passing the time in a fun fashion. While the graphics and the lack of online play weaken the title significantly, the game is still easily playable. Add in its various modes, control schemes, challenges, and characters, its faults fall to the huge amount of ways to play this game.
Final statement: Sega Superstars Tennis shows to be a much more than decent, if not great, tennis-style game whose only fault lies with the system it is most widely preferred on.
Overall: 23/30 76% C