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Mario Tennis: Power Tour Review (GBA)

40-Love, game. Time to lace up the tennis shoes, get some tennis balls, find that racket in the closet, and play some tennis. Camelot has once again given fans a gem in the Mario Sports series, this tie through the form of Mario Tennis: Power Tour.

This installment in the Mario Tennis series is one for the ages for a handheld system. The game begins with either one of two characters picked in a RPG styled storyline. They're teammates anyways, and they've both come to the Academy to hone in on their tennis skills. The Academy teaches the young tennis stars all kinds of skills, and once they have won there, they have the capabilities to win all over, including the legendary Island Open. Even then, the true dream of all the tennis players across the land is to play one game with Mario, which only chosen ones can.

The tennis aspect of the latest Mario Tennis games provides great play for everyone. The tennis itself is very good in itself and can be learned easily. Top Spin, Slice, and Power can all be used to provide different effects on the ball. Combining Speed, Power, Stamina, and Stroke Play is vital for a player to reach his or her top form. Power Tour also lets players use more shot placement, which can send opponents in a frenzy of running patterns. And for some, this will happen - the game can provide a challenge in the later rounds. The difficulty can be made or broken with Power Shots, which are special shots each individual character has. The controls also lead for great play in various mini games and in training.

Power Tour looks visually exceptional for a Game Boy Advance game. The courts are detailed and the boundary lines are clear. The players themselves have a nice personal touch to each of them. The Academy and other areas in the game have their own unique features, and they are colored beautifully with great detail. It's very crisp and clear, and the visual effects, while limited, are nice without being complicated.

Unlike the visuals, the audio portion of this game needs to have some work done. It's not that the music is composed bad, it just doesn't sound very good, only decent. There are songs that are somewhat annoying, but they're not while playing the tennis itself, so that's a nice thing. Exceptions become apparent though, as there are also a few great tracks, mainly those of the remixed Mario themes. There's just not a whole lot of them, unfortunately.

One of the greatest features found in this game is that it doesn't get boring fast. The tennis play is that good - it can keep certain players hooked on it for hours. Each tournament is very decent in terms of it's length, so they don't get annoying by playing round after round after round. Each tournament also has a different court theme - hard court, grass courts, and clay court. Different courts provide different effects in terms of the ball, so a player will be playing different throughout the entire game.

The bottom line is simple: Mario Tennis: Power Tour is a great, great game. It's very underrated and is worth a play.

Overall Score: 9.2/10