Final Glimpse: Mario meets Serena Williams.
Remember waaaay back on the NES system where Mario made a cameo appearance in Nintendo's tennis game as the referee? Apparently, he was intrigued enough by the sport to want to try it professionally. After countless guest appearances and numerous starring roles in an incredible amount of games, Mario is finally taking his incredible athleticism to the Gamecube in the simply titled Mario Power Tennis.
Mario Power Tennis will take Mario and his familiar entourage back to the tennis court to prove who's the best at this swift sport. Gamers can expect to be able to play as Luigi, Waluigi, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Boo, Peach, King Koopa and of course, Mario. Each character has their own strengths and weaknesses, much like the system in last year's Mario Kart: Double Dash, which will bring an element of strategy and personal preference into the character that you choose.
The game looks great, with the bright, colorful, detailed art style that gamers expect from Mario titles and was most recently seen in Mario Sunshine and Double Dash. A lot of familiar elements are in place as well, so expect to see friends and foes from all around the Mario universe.
There haven't been many details released on gameplay yet, but screenshots seem to indicate gameplay modes beyond just regular tennis. Although there will undoubtedly be the opportunity to play tennis with singles and doubles, there have also been a number of screenshots showing a more unique, Nintendo-esque interpretation of the sport. One example shows Mario on one side of the court, and the other side of the court covered in the goop from Mario Sunshine while Shine Sprites hover above. Piranha plants also line the outside of the court. Also, in what seems to be a possible boss battle, if such a thing is applicable to a tennis game, Mario faces off against the giant octopus from Sunshine. There is also an interesting screen of the player facing off against dozens of Boo ghosts. Also, at one time Mario is shown playing tennis with a oversized hammer instead of a racket. Obviously there is much more to gameplay then the normal tennis allows.
One tennis court has actual crocodiles walking back and forth across the top of the net. These crocs are more than just graphical extras, because when struck by the ball, these crocs will drop to the other side of the net and attack the opposing player, slowing and handicapping your opponent for an easier victory. Additionally, the venues seem to be just what players would expect. There is a tennis court inside Luigi's Mansion, one deep in the jungle, probably related in some way to Donkey Kong, and a traditional court. Unquestionably, there are a number of more locations, probably as wacky and Mario-appropriate as the ones that we've already seen.