As good as Virtua Tennis 3 is, one thing it doesn't do is let the bloke from Jet Set Radio blast a 100mph serve straight into Alex Kidd's freakish face. And if you want to see Ulala from Space Channel 5 doing a sexy robot dance at the net to distract that horrid green dwarf from Golden Axe, the game you're looking for is Sega Superstars Tennis.
It's built around VT3, except with even simpler controls and a cast of Sega faces playing on courts based on golden oldies such as Outrun and House of the Dead. Playing through Superstars mode, the minigame and tournament collection that forms the main part of the game, unlocks extra characters, courts and vintage soundtracks in a crowd-pleasing retro celebration that's guaranteed to go down a treat with Sega fans.
The problem is that though it's great fun to watch, SST doesn't actually play as well as VT3. The tournaments are disappointingly easy and very few of the minigames really hit the mark.
After finding that the AI players nearly always smashed our lob shots, while drop shots were almost certain to hit the net, we stuck with the plain old flat shot - the only other choice - and breezed through the default difficulty setting. You might as well consider it a one button tennis game.
Hitting winners charges up your Superstar power meter, so you can unleash a special shot of outrageous cheatiness. There's one for each player, and they're totally unfair, but worth it for the look on your opponent's face.
Multiplayer is the high point, and the combo of simple controls and cute characters should ensure an audience among younger gamers, rather than the hardcore fans who might actually notice all the lovingly crafted retro references. It's a decent enough game but Virtua Tennis 3 does everything this does, considerably better. It's all about whether you prefer to be Roger Federer or Sonic the Hedgehog.
Undoubtedly the best tennis game on 360 featuring Sonic. Except for... no, this is the best.
- Loud and colourful
- Easy to play
- Not as good as VT3