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What about the actual tennis? Well, as you would expect, you can play doubles or singles matches, in tournaments or as one-offs. It’s a pretty standard sim - use the two buttons for different swings, and the analogue stick to guide the ball. If your opponent lobs it, an icon appears briefly on the court; hitting the ball at that time will let you whack it back with a power shot - something Virtua Tennis fans will be familiar with.
What VT players won’t be so familiar with are the special shots. Score enough points and the star beneath your character starts to glow. When it’s at its flashiest, you can activate Superstars mode. Each player has a different move during this time. Sonic turns into his golden-coated Super Sonic alter-ego and his shots become so strong they send his opponents hurtling backwards. Ulala from Space Channel 5, meanwhile, has shots that move through the air in the shape of a 5, confusing her opponents. And not only that, but she summons a gang of Morolian aliens that, if touched, make the other player dance uncontrollably. We are a bit concerned that some seem hideously overpowered, mind.
A big thing it has that Virtua Tennis doesn’t is online play. Once you’ve learned to cream the computer, the real challenge comes facing off against much more clever human opponents. It gets incredibly crazy during a four-player match when everyone has their star power charged at the same time - you can just imagine all the different effects exploding on the court.
So why doesn’t it score higher than Virtua Tennis? If you’re not that interested in the Sega stuff (say, you’re a confirmed miserabilist), SST plays a far more basic game, with simplified physics and reduced depth. If it didn’t have the thrill of unlocking new characters, stages and music your attention might wander. Still, it’s a vibrant, colourful triumph that smothers tennis in Sega’s undeniable magic. We only wish the controls were a little more in-depth, with more shot types and more complex ball physics. The mini-games alone are almost worth the asking price.
Mar 18, 2008
Mar 18 2008 (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS)
|Expected release date:||
|Available Platforms:||PS2, Xbox 360, PS3, Wii, DS|
|Developed by:||Sumo Digital|
|Franchise:||Sonic the Hedgehog|
Everyone 10+: Mild Fantasy Violence, Mild Suggestive Themes
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