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Sega Superstars Tennis Was a Game

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Do y’all remember this game? This weird fucking game:

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Yeah before we got the Racing formula that would go on to get 2 games afterwards and have guest stars like Wreck it Ralph, Banjo Kazooie and Danica Patrick, we had this, and much like the racing games, it was a attempt at capitalizing on a successful Mario series. Can you guess which one?

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Now to its credit, the game was...unique. and it wasn’t “bad”. There was clearly a lot of love and fan service put into it, but like the Sonic games, it still had its flaws despite all that. But let’s first talk about the positives. 
 

to start, the game certainly was a visual treat. Yes, it wasn’t pushing the PS3/360 to the max, but the vibrant colors and aesthetics brought the characters and locations to life and really helped them all pop out. Cartoony games always have that advantage to me when it comes to visuals, and this game was no exception 

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this game is simply candy to look at, and does a great job at representing each of the franchises it reps via stages. Even on the wii from what I remember seeing, it wasn’t too bad. Haven’t seen the DS version in action tho, so can’t say anything there 

Following that we got the roster

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You know, I may get hate for this, but for a early Sega superstars title, I felt for the time, it did its job at repping a varied amount of Sega’s history. And that’s not accounting the missions and levels that will occasionally rep other properties. Do I maybe wish we got a few other characters? Yeah, would have been nice to see a few of the franchises the racing games would rep like Virtua Fighter, hey playable characters. And Ristar. Also am a bit surprised Knuckles was just a background character, but then again, we did have 5 Sonic characters already.

The last positive I’ll say about this game is the creativity of the missions. At face value, I didn’t think there’d be much to do with regards to tennis of all things when it came to sega...but then we got this shit

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I can say what I want about how the missions actually play, but damn if they weren’t unique and all out in the fan service. The Puyo Puyo one remains probably my favorite to this day. It’s super satisfying to complete.

 

And now, for the downsides...

Now as I said, they really did put love and effort into this title, and it shows. But damn, if the game itself and audio doesn’t get on your nerves.

First of all, let’s talk about the gameplay. Now on its own, it’s pretty harmless. Standard tennis, with some “superstar” wacky gimmicks to give it its own charm. And heck, with friends, it can be pretty fun in all honesty. But the CPU is either an idiot, or a dick, with barely any in between. And when you’re doing some of those harder missions/matches against CPU’s? Just fuck them. It’s dated AI intentional bs programming to give you that sense of “difficulty”, and that was just not on. Secondly, there are the actual super stars, which are the Final Smash’s of this game. When you hit the ball enough times back and forth consecutively, the star underneath you will fill up, and once it’s full, you can perform your super move. Some of them are pretty straight forward like with Sonic. But some of them, like AiAi are a pain to use that often just will make you loose with how the ball moves when you hit it. Also, I brought up how Sonic’s is pretty straightforward (he goes super sonic), it’s also probably the most OP in the game outside maybe Alex Kidd who if I recall, drops shit on the stage to get in your way. Super sonic, when he hits the ball not only makes the ball incredibly fast, but it actively moves in a path far out from the opponent making it near impossible to hit back unless you got fast reflexes. Do not let a high level Sonic cpu get it. The balancing in this game is ridiculous overall. Some characters are just downright bad, while some are overpowered, and others are just clones.

The missions, while I praised them for their creativity, most of the time are really frustrating, and don’t exactly mesh well with the tennis mechanics. The house of the dead, Eggman robot, and I think it was a after burner(?) missions (the one where you’re trying to hit the cardboard cutout targets) I remember giving me tons of trouble because of how weird it was trying to incorporate the tennis mechanics into more mini-game environments.

And then there are the voices...oh my god. These characters do not shut up, and they all go through the same 3 lines very. Fast. With Sonic, they just ripped his lines from 06 and stuck them here, and most of the time they just don’t mesh well. Take a shot every time you hear “Aren’t you worried?” in a match. You’ll be blackout drunk by the end of it. They REALLY needed better, or at least more, voice clips to rotate through  with these characters. They get very obnoxious. Looking at you Pudding

In the end, Sega Superstars Tennis, was a game that happened. It wasn’t bad, but it was nothing to write home about. The future Sega mashup titles would blow it out of the water by a mile, but it definitely was a charming experience that id say can still be enjoyed even today. Especially with friends 

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Oh also what the fuck was this Sega. This nightmare you called Alex Kidd

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thank god we got better versions in future 

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ehh “better”

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Oh yeah... these were the days.

I remember playing this on the PS2, sadly not original as piracy on the console was more normal than buying the games itself here.

I think I first played it when my Sonic Unleashed DVD stop working and then this was literally the only Sonic game left to play, must admit as (apparently like you) I wasn't expecting to have such fun. I was even thinking about it the other day but man I've so many things to do and a game to play list to long that I sadly left it away. Personally I don't have much to add, is like you described, some real fun matches during the crossovers but also some creepy and hard ones like The House of the Dead, specially treating about a franchise I didn't even know by the time but also didn't invite me at all.

Though as you also said, the game was pretty balanced and so this probably was my first contact with Jet Set Radio which later got to be one of my favorite games ever as well my most played Steam game.

In short, it was a pretty neat game but more a game to distract yourself than play up to the finish. I also might be blurring the game image for nostalgia and because that was a pretty neat moment in my life (Around 10 years old). Still, I can't see SEGA remaking or making a sequel to this game, the Racing series proved to be superior in many ways which make this game very useless, but it's nice to see I'm not the only one who remember it exists.

And just to close, I admit I kept staring at the character screen you posted for a while. I remember at the time there was a lot of Sonic characters (And I swear Knuckles was one of those characters) and still look how unbalanced these Sonic characters are compared to other franchises. Still, this character list are nothing if compared with SASRT (Which I guess have the longest list of playable characters to date on the mini-series).

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Really wish they’d do HD ports for current gen for this and the two racing games. Cause like I said, when you’re playing with friends, this game really shines. They’re definitely not doing a sequel to it that’s for sure (tho thinking on that, if they did, we could get characters like Bayonetta, and Joker, Kazuma and the main guy from Vanquish...hmm dammit now I want a sequel just to see that lol)

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I'm extremely sad that this was the only All-Stars game besides ASRT's JP version where Puyo got any love. Arle would've been great to have in Transformed, and it was one of the big reasons I was pissed off about TSR being Sonic only.

I do have some fond memories of this game though, I find it bizarre the only port to computers I seem to recall it getting was to Mac. 

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3 minutes ago, Tracker_TD said:

I'm extremely sad that this was the only All-Stars game besides ASRT's JP version where Puyo got any love. Arle would've been great to have in Transformed, and it was one of the big reasons I was pissed off about TSR being Sonic only.

I do have some fond memories of this game though, I find it bizarre the only port to computers I seem to recall it getting was to Mac. 

Just imagine the mod support if this ever went on Steam.

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