After all the rubbish about loading screens and Flag Man, it's only fair we cobble together something akin to a more traditional "review" of SEGA Superstars Tennis to avoid confusion over our "editorial stance." Obviously we're going to like it and give it 10/10 due to the unstoppable combination of Ulala, Jet Set Radio and Richard Jacques.
But what do we like most about it and how are we going to justify giving it 10/10 when other media outlets, like, say Games-fucking-Master magazine, have given it scores starting with 7? Read on.
REVIEW INTRO: Finally. It has happened to us. We are, for once, in the parallel universe where it's SEGA fans that get all the crazy cool shit.
It's usually Nintendo that does this sort of thing. It's always Mario and Peach and whatever that dinosaur fuck is called starring in these sorts of crazy mash-ups, with the internet full of happy Nintendo fans digging out and jizzing over every minor franchise reference.
But now, IT IS HAPPENING TO US!
SCENE SETTING: You ARE Ulala. You ARE playing against Sonic The Hedgehog while the music from Samba De Amigo plays in the background. No wonder Nintendo fans never tire of seeing their favourite characters whored out time and time again - it's awesome.
Each time you fire off a special move, it's like the SEGA of 1999 reaching out of the TV and giving you a sexual massage.
Do a special while playing as Beat out of Jet Set Radio and the cops from JSR stomp over the enemy. Ulala changes outfits and Morolians pop up on your opponent's court to get in their way. Monkey Ball specials chuck balls in the way. It's glorious SEGA-referencing joy.
The best thing about SEGA Superstars Tennis is the way it makes Dreamcast look like it was the most successful games console of all-time. Chu Chu Rocket's in, Jet Set Radio's in and Space Channel 5 is represented by TWO playable characters, as if SC5 was one of the biggest games ever - rather than one of history's saddest and most spectacular flops.
CRITICAL COMMENT: We were concerned about the addition of "special moves," but it has pretty much turned out OK. You might not want to set them off, though, as they create confusion for both players and you often end up losing track of what's happening amidst all the madness. Apart from that, fine.
The core TENNIS ACTION is largely the same as it was in Virtua Tennis 3. It's occasionally slower and occasionally faster, with characters that vary more in both speed and skill.
NiGHTS talks with a girl's voice like in the Wii sequel. It was definitely better in the old days when everyone thought NiGHTS was a hermaphrodite or pre-op transsexual who's done a great job of taping his penis and testicles up out of view.
It's easier to do drop shots now there's a specific button combination for them, which works better than VT3's press down on the d-pad and hope system. But there's no specific lob button any more. So children and grandparents (Wii version) won't get confused by having more than two buttons to cope with.
Also, the tie-break has been included, so tight matches end in a proper tense fashion. Unlike VT3's arcade-friendly first-past-the-post system.
Another improvement over VT3 is with the "diving" of characters. People who didn't know how to play Virtua Tennis 3 moaned that their characters constantly "dived" everywhere.
They dived because you were trying to hit a tennis ball while standing 15 feet away from it, you idiots.
That's been calmed down quite a bit. There's not so much diving. There's hardly any at all, in fact, and the ones that do have had it incorporated into a move so they stay on their feet - Sonic spins, for example. Stupid people who don't bother learning how to play games properly will be well at home here!
This concludes the part of the review in which we compare SST to VT3. Sorry it was so long, but it had to be done.
Eggman/Robotnik is an annoyingly good player. It is most frustrating that he has not been made rubbish, as a fat man who usually gets around in a hovering wheelchair really ought to be.
Here, we have let him take a hit on purpose. That'll teach you, fatty.
And again. We purposefully lowered our guard and let Eggman take a BULLET TO THE FACE. That one's for frightening poor little Cream in Sonic Advance 2.
Tails is a good character as well. He's a spinner, so you can pound the ball right out of the court easily. The ball swings way more than it did in VT3, so you can really work those angles.
If you lived through the DC era you will love it.
This sort of thing happens sometimes. It's all staggeringly random and packed with SEGA stuff. It's better than we could've expected.
Ulala in NiGHTS world. It shouldn't exist.
Boss battle! The Virtua Cop missions all take place in this one area from VC1, plus the cursor sort of auto-locks onto targets making it rather easy. This is the one bit that would be best played on Wii.
Yep, that's pretty much the ultimate SEGA wank fantasy. Having two Ulalas at once, while Pudding and Gum get off with each other in plain view. Meanwhile, NiGHTS is in the kitchen making tea and toast for everyone.
Sorry this is going on a bit, only we went and took about 200 screenshots so really ought to squeeze in as many of them as possible. Even if there's not much to say about them other than "WTF?"
Failed attempt at upskirt. She just seems to have a navy blue void up there. Can't get aroused over a navy blue void, even if it is Pudding's navy blue void.
CONCLUSION: It's very good. Very SEGA. Not quite as tennisy as Virtua Tennis 3, but any SEGA fan MUST MUST MUST have this to experience the magic of the Dreamcast era once more.
And if you don't buy it, there won't be a sequel and we won't get to do SEGA Superstars Tennis Month II in 2009 or 2010 and talk to Richard Jacques again. For entirely selfish reasons regarding having something interesting to do updates about in 2009 or 2010 AND a reason to talk to Rich again, we give SST 10/10.