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Mario Tennis was not only the best sports title on N64, but also the best tennis game ever made.
The unique control system, by which the computer took care of technical things, such as timing your swing, left players free to concentrate on outwitting opponents, and meant Power Tennis aced more serious tennis sims clean off the court.
Does it play as well as before? Will the special moves and their attendant unskippable cut-scenes spoil the flow? Can it possibly retain the magic that made the N64 version so good four years ago?
After slogging through the entire single-player mode, unlocking some very odd new courts and destroying one perfectly serviceable Wavebird controller in the process, we'd say there's far more to celebrate than to complain about.
It can be monstrously frustrating at times, even downright unfair, but having experienced Mario Tennis on GameCube, it's hard to imagine ever wanting to dig out the N64 version again. In fact, this pretty much is the N64 version with a whole load of extras and some brilliant graphics.
From the bounce of the ball to the feel of the controls, it's obviously built on the foundations laid down by the older game.
Which means Mario Tennis masters will power through the early tournaments and rookies will find it takes all of 60 seconds to learn the ropes, thanks to a control system that's a breeze to use.
Play it well, and it's brilliantly tactical. A good player will know what their opponent's options are from any position, and will be able to close down the court and charge a shot much earlier than a novice.
All of the above could apply to the N64 title. The difference on GameCube is the addition of special moves, which aren't the decisive feature we expected. You'll love and hate them, often within the duration of a point.
So, that's Mario Tennis GC (or Mario Power Tennis, as the US and UK versions are known). Crammed with bonus stuff, and as much fun to play as it is gorgeous to look at, it's essential.
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