Telenet Japan has made role-playing games, action games, platformers, and other kinds of games, but one of the coolest games they ever published in my opinion is a game based on a popular anime and manga series from the early 70's…and it's a sports game (Tennis, to be precise)…and I don't like sports games. With that being said, Ace wo Nerae is definitely one of the best Tennis games for SNES/SFC. If the game only had a little more polish, it could have been a diamond in the rough, instead of a little rough around the edges. The in-game plot isn't anything special, but it works. You are Hiromi Oka, a 15 year old High school girl who is recognized for her dormant Tennis playing potential. Eventually, this mere hobby becomes something she grows more passionate about and she will eventually rise up in rank to become an Ace tennis player. However, she must first overcome great hardships both on and off the court, and eventually gather the skill to compete with her greatest opponent, Reika Ryuzaki (aka Madam Butterfly), whom she idolizes and recognizes as one of the schools' greatest players of the sport.
The game certainly gives off the illusion of the real sport. The game dubs itself a 3D tennis game, and it's not hard to see why. The fluid character animations, combined with the sense of speed incorporated with the sport (around 60 frames per second folks, or in other words, really fast), no background music and the blazing camera trying to keep up with your every move is a must-see. However, this brings about some issues with the game. The camera system utilized in this game was an experimental move and it shows. The camera jumps about rather awkwardly, making it a chore to effectively pinpoint the ball's position on the court. This would pose a greater threat if the hit detection wasn't off center. You don't necessarily have to HIT the ball to hit it...which is rather generous, if not unintentional, but it will irk more seasoned Tennis game fans. You also have a variety of different strokes you can dish out with your racket. You can serve the ball quickly or slowly to throw players off their guard, lob the ball, slice the ball, deliver a top spin, and other maneuvers typical to the sport. With a lot of practice, you'll live, and I say this because the CPU is quite challenging and will give you a run for your money. The game almost schools you along with Hiromi!
As far as game modes, the game has many of the modes you've come to expect. It has a versus mode, training mode, story mode, etc. The top-down versus mode isn't quite as dynamic because it's done in an overhead style (what did you expect?), which is still a bit daunting due to the perspective. You'll just have to use the shadow of the ball to try to approximate your timing. However, on the plus side, the game has an awesome four player mode! Hooray! Time to dust off the multitap once more! The training mode is a brief exercise on how to serve and swing the ball. This game didn't really need it...but it's the thought that counts. The story mode is, well, the story mode. You listen to some of your favorite Ace characters and play some intense rounds of tennis against the CPU. The summary? Decent graphics, almost nonexistant (though decent) sound, and crisp smooth gameplay, combined with unusual physics for its time makes this a game worth remembering. You don't need to be a fan of the anime or manga to enjoy this game.
- Written by Vyse the determined -