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Mario Power Tennis serves up some ace screens

What's that racket? It's a bunch of new Mario Power Tennis screens we've netted and some hands-on impressions

We reckon Mario been in need of some new balls for a while now, and when Mario Power Tennis comes out he'll get plenty.

Developed by Camelot, the sports specialists behind Mario Golf on Cube and GBA, Power Tennis is a souped-up return to the old-school Nintendo tennis games that used to eat up the hours when we were younger, more virile and certainly more attractive than we are now.

There's a wealth of Mario regulars to choose from and each has their own skills and special strokes. Donkey Kong is a big powerful brute with a wicked banana-boomerang wallop, but he's slow as treacle. Shy Guy slaps loads of tricky spin on his shots and can call on his fellow Boos to make his opponent mess their Wimbledon whites. And Peach is a bit like Anna Kournikova - fairly ineffective on the court, but does a cracking job of wearing small skirts and tight pants.

Zoom

As you can imagine it's not particularly realistic. All of the courts are set in memorable parts of the Mushroom Kingdom and environmental obstacles make keeping a rally going almost impossible. If you are after a more accurate simulation you can always turn these distractions off - but that's hardly the point.

There's also a stack of Virtua Tennis-style minigames to play and destroy, with loads of unlockables hidden away as rewards.

We got hands-on with Mario Power Tennis recently and it's just as mental as you would expect. There's always something weird happening as you try and line up your shot and every rally is punctuated by crazy super shots from both players. We're slightly worried that all the extra madness could end up becoming more frustrating than fun, but there is nothing like thumping your opponent with an expertly timed super shot - especially when you're playing four player doubles.

Mario Power Tennis is scheduled for a February 25, 2005 release in the UK and Europe.

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