Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Mario Sports Series

Now I'm moving on to the Mario Sports series. I will not be reviewing the Mario Kart games, though. That'll be another post, another time. I am just reviewing the Mario Sports games starting in the late nineties with Mario Golf and on. Also, I have not quite played every Mario Sports game, particularly a couple of the latest ones, and, understandably, I don't have a Virtual Boy, so otherwise I'd start with Mario's Tennis first. Even if I have, I have not bothered to get too far in them all. The last thing I should mention is that just because Mario is in the game, that does not mean I'll be reviewing it. Anyway, let's get started.

I initially wasn't interested in this game enough to want to try it out, but my girlfriend did want to. I was ultimately glad we tried it. It was a pretty fun game to play . . . until we beat it. I can't remember if we beat it entirely, but we unlocked all of the courses and characters. If that's all the criteria for beating the game, then I guess we did beat it. We never got the ball in the furthest hole on the driving range, but I doubt that unlocks anything anyway.

Otherwise, what can I say about the game? It's golf. Well, okay, it has a lot of pretty unique courses. It also has a good selection of characters, although some are non-Mario series characters you likely won't give a shit about, but in this game, one character is stronger than the next. This means that everyone's immediately going to be picking the strongest motherfucker in the game, that character in this case being Metal Mario.

Who wants to play as that guy with the dorky brown hat?

Other than that, there are several modes to play, including ring shot and mini-golf. However, I personally have always hated ring shot, and minigolf's courses are just the alphabet, some numbers, and a couple of symbols. No windmills, no dinosaurs, no clowns that spit the ball back out at you, nothing that makes mini-golf fun.

Ooh, a three. Exciting!

The gameplay mechanics are pretty good, too, but it wasn't the first game to use them. I can't remember what was, though. Maybe Golf on the NES or something. Anyway, it's definitely a lot more simplistic than Tiger Woods PGA Tour games, and really concentrates on the necessary stuff instead of getting too complicated.

Who cares if this came first, it kind of sucks shit now because of Mario Golf.

Nowadays, it's not too bad going back and playing it once in a real long while, although my girlfriend and I haven't played it in about a year's time. It has a decent replay value, but it's nowhere close to Mario Kart, Super Smash Bros., or even Mario Tennis.

By the way, there was also a handheld version of the game for Game Boy Color, but I haven't played it, and I'm not sure if I want to. I'll explain why later. All I know about it right now, though, is that you can use it to connect to Mario Golf on the Nintendo 64 and transfer your characters over using a Transfer Pak.

Now this was the first game released that was truly addictive in the Mario Sports series. In fact, it's probably the only Mario Sports game that my girlfriend and I still play sometimes.

At first, I thought it was like Mario Golf in that the game was simply a tennis game with just a couple of mediocre features. It has the ring shot thing like in that game, but it also has an item mode, where you use items on your opponents like in Mario Kart. That is the mode that has the highest replay value since it adds the most variety. Otherwise, even the regular tennis is fun to play.

Also unlike Mario Golf, this game's characters are not stronger than the other. There's a great mix of attributes and skills, such as Bowser being really strong, and Yoshi being really fast. They make a great doubles team, and that's the team my girlfriend and I usually use. You can get stronger versions of every character if you beat all of the tournaments with them. I haven't done it with every one of them, but it's not annoying considering how fun this game is. Well, okay, the last tournament can be ridiculous, though. It's usually you against Bowser or something, and trying to beat that last character is actually sometimes even painful.

As usual, Wario still sucks shit.

Despite that, I'd easily have to say that this game is the best in the Mario Sports series.

. . . Or is it? Actually, I think it's tied with it's handheld companion. If anything, this one might be better. Sadly, this is one of those games that's often overlooked even by some big Mario fans.

This game is actually an RPG as well (Mario Golf for Game Boy color was, too, though). I'm not even a big fan of RPG games, but I definitely thought this game worked out very well with the RPG mechanics, getting experience points with matches and training and obtaining objects that change your skills.

Before you start the main game, you can select from two people that you can play, a boy and a girl, and a partner for doubles, once again choosing from a boy and a girl. What about the transgenders and transvestites? :P Anyway, they do start out with different stats, so it actually does matter who you pick. I don't remember what was different exactly, but I wouldn't doubt if the girl was weaker. Because, you know, girls are not as strong as boys. Bullshit! >:( Hell, if that's the logic they're wanting to use, then I guess that's why they don't have hermaphrodites. Think about it.

Best character in the game.

Speaking of characters, you can choose from all sorts of characters. Most of them are not your typical Mario characters, though. In fact, there are more regular people than Mario characters by a long shot. You'll notice a lack at first, but you can unlock them, and even connect Mario Tennis on the Game Boy Color to Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64 using the Transfer Pak. You can even switch your characters from the Game Boy Color game to the Nintendo 64 game. However, for your character to match up pretty well against the characters in the Nintendo 64 version, you'll have to get them at an extremely really high level. My character is past level sixty (if I remember correctly), and I could only barely get past the Flower Cup with my character.

Otherwise, it's just tennis, but the gameplay is even better than the Nintendo 64 version overall. It's hard to explain why, but it just is. I will say, however, that playing matches in the main RPG mode is a lengthy process, the longest possible, so beating one person in a match takes a long time. I remember there was a time that it took over half an hour once. On the other hand, if you pick a match style like in Mario Tennis on the Nintendo 64, then the match tends to be too short.

Despite these shortcomings, this game kicks way too much ass for anyone to miss, even people who aren't Mario fanatics. I'd easily recommend this game and the Nintendo 64 counterpart to anyone and everyone.

This is the first Mario Sports game to come out after the Nintendo 64 was retired. I initially wasn't too exited about it, and didn't even play it until a couple of years after it came out. Ultimately, I'm glad I did get it, because it's easily the best Mario Golf game out there. However, I haven't gotten far into it, so I can't say too much about it, but boy is it fun. As fun as it is, I just haven't played it much. No reason, I just haven't.

Well, okay, Philip K. Dick has been one reason lately.

It is a lot more unique than Mario Golf, though. It has better courses with better scenery, better gameplay mechanics, the mini-golf mode is improved vastly, and there are special things you can use, like pipes to teleport your ball to another part of the field.

Other than that, I can't say much, but that doesn't mean that I don't recommend it. If you had to get one golf game ever in your life, get this one for sure.

But when it comes to it's handheld counterpart, I certainly don't recommend it. This is the most overrated handheld game ever. Hands down. The game got nearly unanimous praise, and I was excited to get it after hearing about how good it was. Boy was I disappointed.

I remember one critic said, "Aside from the quirks in graphics and music, there's almost nothing wrong with Mario Golf: Advance Tour" That's only part of the problem. I won't go too far into this, but how about gravity so bad that it's like your ball is jumping on the fucking moon? Because of this, I would constantly miss the fucking hole, and sometimes I couldn't even finish a hole it was so bad. The gravity wasn't good on Golf on the NES, but it's far worse in this game. The sucking fucking thing slides where you don't even expect it to go half of the God damn time, either. On top of that, even a one mile-per-hour winds can easily push your ball significantly off course. So quirks in the graphics and music? That's nothing compared to the game's other problems.

 Interplanetary Golf may not be such a bad idea for a video game, though.

Otherwise, the RPG elements are pretty much the same as the other handheld entries, and people praised that as well. It's nothing new, quit acting like it is!

So yes, this is the first game on my entire blog that I'm saying truly fucking sucks. If you want to go ahead and buy it, be my guest, but I don't recommend doing so at all. This game is the reason why I don't care to try the Game Boy Color version of Mario Golf. It's not like I expect that game to suck, too, but considering how this game was more advanced and was praised more, I just simply don't care to try. I may get it if it's cheap enough.

I'm not sure if this game is as good as the first one or not. I've played it a lot to know that I like it, but it's at least pretty close to being as good as the original.

Either way, this game adds so much new stuff that it gets you addicted. New mini games, new characters (don't care for Wiggler, though), and a new system that gives you "power shots" that either use a more powerful hit, or retrieve that ball if you can't reach it.

Other than that, there's not much I can say about the game, but it's awesome.

This game, however, is not awesome. In fact, out of all of the Mario Sports games that I've played, this one is the worst, and that's for one problem alone: the computer players. They fucking cheat like crazy. The single worst thing that they do is that they pull constant double and triple plays, even if they don't really happen, I guess just to end the inning early and piss you off in the process. They also have the tendency to hit and catch mostly everything, including special pitches and hits that are usually very hard to deal with. So fuck this game.

This game is fun . . . for a while. It's cool beating up everyone in this game, but it still gets boring once you beat it. In fact, I got so bored with it that I flat out sold my copy. That's not to say it's bad, it's just dull, at least after a short while. Overall, really, it's okay.

By the way, Peach and Daisy's outfits are more skimpy than usual. Trying to go that route now, huh, Nintendo? Yes, such a great idea to sell out your characters in this fashion to grab more attention and sales. Even better, let's have Daisy and Peach . . . well, I think you already know where I'm going with that. :P

Inevitably going to happen. Seriously, they're perfect for each other.

Another handheld Mario Tennis game. I eagerly anticipated this one considering how incredible the last game was. I wasn't completely disappointed, but boy did I feel crushed. I wasn't expecting it to be as good as the original, and this game is still okay, but boy did the replay value drop fast with this game. Once I beat the junior league, I stopped and haven't played since. That means I don't remember much about the game now, but I do remember one of the most annoying aspects that made me stop playing: seemingly endless and pointless dialogue. Even after speeding it up, it took a few minutes to go through a character's monologue going on about nothing, which would even sometimes make my thumb sore from so much button-pressing.

Honestly, drug references in a Mario game? Really, why? Even if I wanted to, I wouldn't be able to in this game anyway.

No, I play space Tennis. Regular Tennis is for wusses.

 Well, good for you, but please, stop holding up my own progress with your mundane, uninspired, corny losing speech.

Yes, please, shut up and play some Goddamn Tennis.

YES, PLEASE, THANK YOU! You're not the only one who's waited a long time, so let's go!

Also, I do remember that you can't add your characters from this game to Mario Power Tennis. If Nintendo could do it with all of their other games, why not this one? What prevented them from doing so?

Other than that, I would like to say more if I can remember more about the game, but as of right now, I can't say much.

Not since Super Mario RPG have Nintendo and Square Enix teamed up on a Mario project. They finally did with this game, but, of course, they had to go and make another Mario Sports game, and what better game than Basketball. On a handheld system. With two screens, one touch-sensitive. And yes, let's make the controls completely touch screen based and have no button options. Oh, and let's put in some overpowered Final Fantasy characters in the game as well. Sounds like the greatest formula ever, right?

A series I wouldn't think of ever meeting up with Mario . . . for good reason.

Obviously, no. Because of the controls alone, the game is fucking frustrating as Hell to play. Sometimes it doesn't read your moves correctly, and either does something else that you didn't want to do, or does nothing at all, which, either way, could fuck up your game royally. Not only that, but they decided to put in complicated moves that you can do to improve your scores and plays and stuff. However, it also overcomplicates gameplay to the point where you may not even care to use the techniques, and considering the horrible control scheme, it's best not to even try.

Harder and more irritating than it looks, and is relatively easy compared to some of the other moves in the game.

This still isn't the worst Mario Sports game, but it's among them.


And this ends my experience in playing the Mario Sports games. I haven't played any of the other games because I've lost interest. If anything, I'd be willing to play Mario Strikers Charged, and I might try out the Mario Olypmics game just for shits and giggles, but overall, I don't really care anymore. Unless there's another Mario Tennis game, or another Mario Golf game that's unique enough, or something else that sounds interesting overall. Mario Wrestling or Mario Martial Arts would kick ass.

But we already have this anyway.

Or even better: Nintendo Strip Poker or Nintendo Extreme Beach Volleyball. For the Strip Poker idea, there'd be options for both sexes, but I'd obviously play with only female characters. Peach Vs. Daisy. Zelda Vs. Samus. Even lesser known characters, like Jody Summer Vs. Malon. Mmmm, Heaven. :) That could easily be a perennial favorite of both my girlfriend and I.

Anyway, just like with the Mario Party series, the Mario Sports series has lost a lot of merit. However, unlike the Mario Party series, the Mario Sports series still has some fire left in it, and I'm willing to give it a few more chances, even though I doubt that I'll ever be playing a Mario Baseball game again. Either way, I hope to see more good stuff again from Nintendo (so please release Nintendo Strip Poker!)

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