Smash Tennis – SNES
Created by Namco in 1993, Smash Tennis is a lot more tennis and really not much of a smash. I was impressed by the title screen when I found out that the game uses Super Nintendo’s infamous “Mode 7” rotation animation and I immediately realized they only use it for the logo. You won’t see it again.
When you start the game you decide if you want Exhibit or Tournament, what kind of game you’re going to play, how long, what kind of court and then you pick your character. You don’t get to see what they look like, you just get to take solace in the fact that every character’s name is equally boring, unless you marvel at the inevitable confrontation of John V Tony. For the sake of trying the game out, I had Rose versus Helen because I got to imagine two seniors facing off on the clay.
A credit to the game, however, the pixel art and animation is really solid. Diving makes your character’s hair fly back. At the end of the game both characters walk up to each other and shake hands before the loser slumps and mopes away like Charlie Brown.
Unfortunately the game is also marred by a very strange physics set up. I can’t tell you how many times I’d feel like I had the controls down only to suddenly serve the ball directly into the net four times in a row.
Long story short, this is a tennis game with zero frills. There’s really not a lot to it. The animation is charming but the lack of content or reason to progress kind of just makes this feel like a title the exists solely to do just that.
Charming animation and surprising levels of details don’t hide the fact that there’s really no reason to keep looking at it. It’s tennis and that’s it. It does its job but even for the time there were more tennis games with more reason to keep playing.