- Title: SEGA Superstars Tennis
- Platform: Xbox 360
- Publisher: SEGA
- Developer: Sumo Digital
- ESRB Rating: “M” for Mature
- Genre: Tennis
- Pros: Great for die-hard SEGA fans; tons of music from SEGA classics
- Cons: Not as good as Virtua Tennis 3; focus on mini-games over tennis is disappointing; many of the mini-games aren’t so good
- Achievements: Easy, but can be time consuming.
SEGA Superstars Tennis features 16 characters from SEGA franchises including Sonic, Tails, and Dr. Eggman from Sonic the Hedgehog, Beat and Gum from Jet Set Radio, Ulala from Space Channel 5, and many more. You also play on courts inspired by all of the different franchises, and while some are more true to their inspiration than others, they all look good and should make fans of the games very happy.
The main mode in the game is “Superstars” and lets you choose from each SEGA game where you play on that game’s court and do mini-games inspired by that title along with normal tennis matches. Unfortunately, there are way, way, way more mini-game stages than tennis stages in Superstars mode, and not all of the mini-games are fun. The mini-games are all played on the tennis court, but have you doing things like collecting rings on the Sonic the Hedgehog level, avoiding the police in Jet Set Radio, or knocking down zombies in Curien Mansion (House of the Dead). There is also a nifty re-creation of the first Virtua Cop level. But for every fun mini-game, there are 5 bland and boring ones that make Superstars mode a chore rather than fun.
The core gameplay is a bit of an issue here, however. As I mentioned above, this isn’t just Virtua Tennis 3 with SEGA characters plugged in. The difficulty has been toned down and the controls have been simplified from VT3. This seems kind of strange to me, though, because you’d have to think that the audience that will get the most enjoyment out of the game is die-hard SEGA fanboys who are likely in their 20’s, so I don’t know why you would simplify things. SEGA hasn’t really been “cool” for quite a while now, and I can’t see kids getting all that excited over most of the classic franchises included in SST. But I could be way off base there.
Another issue is the special moves that you can unleash during matches. When activated, your character performs wild, zig-zaging shots and/or other things from their game series pop up to distract opponents. In practice, though, these moves are mostly useless against the A.I. and just obnoxious and unfun against human opponents. Thankfully, you can turn this feature off.
All in all, the core tennis still manages to be fun, but if you are looking for serious tennis gameplay, Virtua Tennis 3 is the way to go.
Graphics and Sound
The sound is also very solid all around. The characters all have little sound bytes and catch phrases, and while they tend to repeat rather often, they won’t grate on you too much. The standout of the sound, however, is all of the great music that you can unlock. Each classic game featured in SST has a handful of recognizable music tracks you can unlock, and nothing takes you back to the glory days of the Genesis, Saturn, and Dreamcast faster than hearing this memorable music.