Posted by Marcel van Duyn
Remember Tennis on the NES? Well, it's back, and this time it's in portable format! The Game Boy version of Tennis is pretty much a remake of the NES game: it's got the same extremely basic setup, but it has been polished it up slightly.
Just like with its predecessor, there's not really much on offer here aside from essentially playing the same match over and over. The NES game featured a singles and doubles mode with one difficulty level, whereas the Game Boy version has four different difficulty levels.
Of course, this comes with the draw that the doubles mode is missing: all you can do here is play singles. After your selection, it's straight off to the tennis court, and whoever can win the most games in three sets will win the match.
Once you get there you'll find it all quite familiar, right down to Mario being the umpire. However, it all looks a lot better and more cartoony, so Mario, for example, no longer looks like his Donkey Kong sprite, but actually has some detail. Everything's also animated a little better as a result of this, of course.
There's not much to say about the gameplay itself. As is expected of a tennis game, you just move around your side of the court while smacking the ball back every second or two, either with a regular smack or with a variety of special moves which can be used by hitting certain buttons at the right time, like a lob, drop or smash.
Your opponents in the NES game could at times be a gigantic cheat, but thankfully with the selectable difficulty level here, you don't only have the option of playing against someone who's going to know your every move. Of course, if you wish to receive top honours (i.e. a screen simply saying 'congratulations') you're going to have to beat the level four opponent sometime.
The game has a bit more character than its predecessor due to its more cartoony graphics, and the fact it actually got some music this time helps as well, especially considering it's quite a catchy little tune. There's also some dramatic close-ups of Mario in the corners of the screen if he calls something, which is a nice touch.
The Game Boy version of Tennis is the one people usually remember, and for good reason: it's a lot more enjoyable simply due to its presentation. There's not really that much to do, but for $3 you're getting an enjoyable, fun little game, which at the very least should keep you entertained from time to time until we inevitably get the Game Boy Color version of Mario Tennis.