Finished Superstar mode of Sega Superstars Tennis this afternoon. Talk about a strange game. On one hand, it's a very straightforward tennis game, mechanically not very different than Virtua Tennis. Fun, and one of the best tennis games out there (though Top Spin on the original xbox is still my personal favorite), but a little ... workmanlike.
On the other hand, it's a nostalgic romp through Sega's DC-era games and characters, and that part of it strikes a chord in me, as I have very, very fond memories of the 2000-era DC lineup. Seeing Beat, from Jet Set Radio, playing tennis against Amigo, the dancing monkey from Samba de Amigo brought an irrepressible smile to my face. Yeah, it's tennis, but they managed to capture some of the iconic visuals from the games. JSR *feels* like JSR. The House of the Dead stage feels just like House of the Dead 2. Samba's stage is exceedingly bright and cheery, while the Outrun stage has a laid-back beach vibe. With Magical Sound Shower playing, the game took me back to my middle-school days, playing Outrun in the sit-down motion cabinet version of the game on some lazy Sunday afternoon at the local pay-once play-all-day arcade.
So, it's a strange game. I don't know why tennis, though I suppose tennis is as good as anything else. The Virtua Tennis-style minigame structure was perfectly suited to Puyo-Puyo, Super Monkey Ball, and House of the Dead for sure. I'm not really sure what else you could do with the Sega lineup. A lightgun/fishing/driving game? Sonic Shuffle tried the Mario Party-style game with little success, though that failure owed more to the failure in execution than anything else.
I could see a Kingdom Hearts-style Sega Superstars RPG working out really well. Maybe taking Ryo from Shenmue, and pulling him into the Fantasy Zone where he has to samba his way out of a horde of zombies...
Anyway - tennis. Fun, not the best game ever, but definitely for *me*, a nostalgia-inducing good time. B/80
Also finished the "7th and 8th" missions of Army of Two. For free content, they integrate remarkably well into the storyline. They might as well be Army of Two 1.5, given the brevity of the original campaign. The maps are more interesting than the originals, and there's even a final "boss" fight that feels strangely like an old-school videogame boss fight. I ended up playing it co-op with a friend, and it was a really good time.
For free, A/95. One major technical glitch made me have to "push" a guy who was trapped in an improper collision box - almost made me lose 15 minutes of gametime, but since I knew what I could do to potentially resolve the problem, it didn't hurt too badly.