Tennis (Game Boy) Review
Looking for a cheap alternative to Mario Tennis Open? Yes… no… not really sure? Then look no further, the 1990 Game Boy version of Tennis has been right under your nose the whole time for just $4.50. Nintendo released this one on the eShop Virtual Console last year and now for the price of a can of balls or broken wrist, you too can own this delightfully aggravating classic.
While it may not have aged as badly as some other old school Nintendo sport titles, Tennis is still an extremely hard game to commit to over a long period of time. Honestly you’d have to be on some sick sort of Nintendo high to enjoy this particular version of the game for more than five minutes at a time. Maybe it’s just the wimpy next gen-gamer in me, but the controls felt a bit sluggish, the CPU was ruthless and the overall experience provided was unrewarding.
Like many other Game Boy titles, Tennis has four levels of difficulty and the option to turn the game music on or off before a match. Apart from these few choices, the entire game involves players battling it out on the same court, against the same dude, and using the same restricted shots and tactics with the A and B buttons. The only highlight of it all is the fact Mario (though some will argue the character is actually an unborn Waluigi) is the umpire. He calls shots like a pro and even has a neat little animation that plays alongside him when he spots a fault or out ball.
To be a bit fairer though, the ball physics in Tennis are actually quite impressive. A little trippy at times, but still quite impressive considering how old the title is. Unlike the Mario Tennis games, Tennis for the Game Boy allows players to (intentionally or unintentionally) direct ball shots outside of the court and even miss service shots on a regular basis. This makes the entire Tennis experience a bit more exciting when you know a lazy hit or poorly angled shot can result in the loss of a game. Besides the crazy ball physics, the only real motivation anyone could possibly have to play the game in this day and age would be in attempt to beat the CPU opponent on the harder levels of difficulty, which is pretty-much impossible anyway due to the erratic nature of the game. Unfortunately if you’re no good against the CPU, there’s no one else to play against either. Like many other 3DS Virtual Console games, the 2 player mode has been disabled in Tennis.
When compared to the original Tennis game on the NES, the VC Game Boy version of Tennis almost looks classy. The Game Boy version of Tennis was a port with a few enhancements here and there (mainly in the visuals and sound department), and with the assistance of the Virtual Console and the 3DS’s screen and sound it’s now doing even better than the original NES game and GB port.
To conclude, as dated as Tennis for the Game Boy may be, there’s no denying the fact that it’s still an important part of Nintendo’s history with the sporting genre. Let’s face it, old games like this one probably reminded Nintendo to continue on with this type of stuff later down the track during the 64 and Game Boy Color generation. Unless you were a huge fan of this Game Boy title or the original Tennis title on the NES back in the day, or you need a quick fix of virtual Tennis and can’t afford MTO on the 3DS, I would strongly advise against purchasing the Virtual Console Game Boy version of Tennis. You would be better off putting $4.50 towards Game & Watch Gallery or even adding an extra $1.50 to your account so you can afford a quality Game Boy title like Super Mario Land.