This walkthrough was originally written for Mario Tennis
on the GBC, but the walkthrough is still applicable to the N64 version of the game.
Mario Tennis (CGB) Bowser Mini-Game FAQ
September 7, 2002
Do you own Mario Tennis for the Game Boy Color? Have you ever tried to beat the Bowser
Mini-Game? If you have, then you know that this is no easy task. I'm only going to write
FAQs for games that have very difficult tasks in them, and that have not been covered by
anyone else out there. There isn't a FAQ that goes in-depth with this Bowser Mini-Game,
and it is extremely tough to beat, so here I am writing this FAQ! You would think that
beating this mini-game would require mostly skill. It does require good gaming skills,
but there are a lot of little tricks that you can learn specifically for this mini-game
that can really help you in beating the very annoying Wario and Walugi. I'll cover these
tips and anything else that can help you in this FAQ. The reward for beating this game on
Level 3 is the Bowser Court on the N64 version! Bowser and baddies can finally have a
home-court in exhibition matches, other than the stupid N64 Bowser Mini-Game court.
ii. VERSION HISTORY
September 7, 2002 - v. 1.0 - Wrote the whole guide. Everything is complete, as far as I
see. Will only make updates if readers point out any egregious errors.
A. STARTING THE MINI-GAME
I asked if you owned Mario Tennis for the Gameboy. But to actually play the Bowser Mini-
Game, you're going to need the N64 Version of Mario Tennis and a N64 Transfer Pak. It's
not exactly a cheap set-up to play a mini-game. But, if you're like me, you'd buy the N64
version of Mario Tennis because it's a great game, and because you would obviously like
it since you already own the CGB version of it. So really, the only thing you may not
have is a Transfer Pak. You get lots of extras in both games versions of the game by
exchanging data, and you just might own N64 and CGB versions of other games that can
transfer data. If you have both the N64 and CGB of Mario Tennis, by all means, find a
Transfer Pak. The benefits are worth it.
To access the Bowser Mini-Game, you will have to tightly insert your CGB Mario Tennis
into a N64 Tranfser Pak, then insert the Transfer Pak into a N64 Memory Card slot (on the
N64 controller). You will need to have the N64 Mario Tennis in the N64 and then you turn
the power of the N64 on. Everything should be normal when you get to the main menu
screen, but there should be a new option inbetween "Continue" and "Special Games" called
"Transfer" with a N64 Transfer Pak icon. Under this option, select "Game Pak Check" and
then select "Yes." There should a screen that says "Accessing...Do Not Remove Game Pak."
There should be a new set of options. Select the option "N64 Characters" and then select
"Yes." You should now have Wario, Walugi, and Bowser available to play with on the CGB
Mario Tennis! More importantly, you can now access the Bowser Mini-Game. To start, from
the CGB Mario Tennis main menu, select "Mario Mini-Games." In the lower right corner,
there should be a picture of Bowser. Hit "A" here to start the mini-game.
Two-on-One: Level #
The rules are the same as a regular, #-set match of six games. But you have to play
against two opponents. Win # sets before your opponents do to win the match. Since you
have to win by two, a seven-point tiebreaker will be played if there is a six-game tie.
Bowser, Don't let those sly guys fool you.
Your opponents will be the Wario Brothers, or, at least, Wario and Walugi. The match
takes place on the Warehouse Court, with a Bowser tune playing in the background. You'll
start the match with the view behind you, but when you change court, you'll have the view
facing towards you. Unlike every other mode in the game, you can't change views to behind
you all the time. This can be a problem at first, but you'll have to get used to it. The
alleys will also be open - this makes it tough for you since your only one person, yet
you have to cover a lot more ground. This makes it especially tough since Bowser is so
slow. You also won't be able to save in the middle of a match; this is the factor that
makes it so much harder than any other task in the game. You have to do everything at
once except for when you pause, and you can't replay a game if you screw up. Depending on
the Level your playing the game at (1, 2, or 3), the number of sets you have to play will
change. On Level 1, you have to play a 1-set game; Level 2, 3-sets; and Level 3, you have
to gruel out a long 5-set game. That's not the only difference; the Artificial
Intelligence will be significantly enhanced for each Level as well. On Level 1, the AI is
about as slow and as stupid as a snail. However, on Level 3, it's near-impossible to beat
these two. The difficulty of Level 3 is the whole reason for me writing this FAQ...
C. GENERAL STRATEGIES
I'm assuming you know the basics of playing tennis on the Game Boy Color; if you do not,
check out some other FAQs. There are, however, specific strategies that will work against
these two imbeciles. On Level 1, you're basically only playing one opponent, as the net
player never even does anything. And the baseline-player sucks beyond imagination. No, on
Level 1, you're basically playing 1/2 of an opponent...I'm not going to provide specific
help for Level 1.
However, the difficulty certainly gets stepped up a notch on Level 2. If your skills
aren't that great, the best thing to do would to be to play a good baseline game. Just
hit the ball hard (A or B twice before you hit it; I usually use B) every time you
volley. Aim to hit the ball to the opposite side of the court of where the baseline
player is located. This usually is where the net player is located. Your just going to
have to try and hit it past the net player here. Usually after the net player returns
your volley, he'll start to go towards the center of the court. Keep hitting the ball as
sharply as you can. Approach the net some (not too much, or you can get burned) and keep
trying to hit it past the net player. Eventually he won't get to it. If you hit to the
side of the court the baseline player wasn't covering, you'll get a point. Keep using
this strategy and other strategies that you've developed as a tennis player and you
shouldn't have too many troubles beating Level 2. The biggest thing is practice...you
need to learn how the AI reacts and how to get past them. You'll get a hang of it. You
better otherwise you won't have a prayer of beating Level 3...
For attempting Level 3, let me tell you a couple of things first. You really should try
beating everything else in Mario Tennis before trying to beat Level 3 - on both the N64
and CGB versions (CGB, obviously, will be the most helpful). This mini-game really is the
most difficult task in the whole game - both on the Game Boy and 64. You're going to need
as much experience and skills as possible. Even though I had mastered the 64 version by
the time I bought the CGB version, I learned quite a bit. I originally had tried to beat
Level 3 when I was half-way through the Mario Tour - and failed miserably. I didn't think
I had gotten that much better after I had beaten everything, but I did realize that
skills such as in-game recognition of AI strategies and understanding how the AI worked
had improved some. You should also try and get used to Bowser as much as possible. He
isn't fast (and his Power isn't too impressive on the CGB version, either.) Play matches
with the Normal Cam on so that you aren't disoriented when you have to change courts and
the view isn't behind you. So, before you go on, beat everything else first. Then come
D. LEVEL 3 STRATEGIES
Ok? You ready now? Well, the two biggest things you are going to need in accomplishing
this task are practice and patience. The more you practice, the more you'll realize what
works and what doesn't. You'll also be able to anticipate how the AI acts more, as well.
You need patience because if you start to get angry and aren't as focused as possible,
you'll find the games all going to your opponents. And remember, you can't save, so you
can't go back if you screw up unless you start the whole match over.
You may also need to break some habits that you have gotten used to in other matches. I
always used to return serves up near the service line - this strategy simply won't work.
Bowser is so slow that if you're playing so up-close, you'll be lucky to return a volley
that isn't a lob, much less return it at all. You have to return serves at the baseline.
The best spot is actually right where the default spot is; it is easier to return serves
playing behind the baseline, but often times, if you're using B to return the serve, the
ball won't even make it over the net. If your using A, you'll probably lob it up. Oh, and
that brings up another point. Always use B to return serves, and use B most of the time
when volleying. Using A will often not be as strong, and it will often go too high. If
you are an experienced player, however, you'll know when the right times are to use A.
Another habit you might have to break is always anticipating in advance where the CPU is
going to hit the ball to. Often times, when I'm in a corner, after I return a volley,
I'll start running towards center court. If the opponent ends up returning the volley
where I came from, I can easily backtrack as I haven't lost much ground. If he hits it to
the opposite side of the court, then I'm already on my way running. The problem is,
though, is that with Bowser, if you use this strategy, you'll often find yourself burned.
Since the net player is so close, you don't have much time to react after he hits you a
volley. Get yourself into a mindset so that you don't make any moves until after you know
where the ball is going. If you start running towards center court and the net player
hits it back where you came from, it takes a long time for Bowser to turn around and
start going the other way. You'll probably barely make it in time, and if you do, it will
be a weak return. Just try and position yourself about 2/3 away from the center line and
about 1/3 away from the sideline after you make return volleys. Then, just wait to see
where the ball is going, then go after it. If you try anticipating too much, you won't be
able to make up for your mistakes. You often have plenty of time between volleys if you
just wait to see where the ball is going. The net player also can't hit as strong as
angles to the opposite court (or at least, he doesn't) because he is so close to you. It
just takes more time to get Bowser turned in another direction when he's running vs. when
he is just standing still.
Your going to have to throw a mix of game types at the AI. The AI seems to be adaptive,
so you have to keep throwing new things at it. A combination of a strong baseline game
and some drop shot strategies are the only things that work. You have to figure out where
to use the drop shot; you can't use it as deliberately as you can in regular matches.
There always won't be a good opportunity to use the drop shot, but you should always take
it if the good opportunity arises, though. An example of a good opportunity is when you
are closer to the net than the service line and the net player is far enough away from
you that you can hit it past the net player. Usually, if you can hit a drop shot past the
net player, it won't make it to the baseline player before it bounces twice. If you are
too far back, however, the baseline player will probably be able to make it to the ball
and return it as your drop shot will bounce farther and faster. The closer you are to the
net, the smaller the distance and the slower the ball will travel in Wario and Walugi's
side of the court. Another time the drop shot strategy works well is when you can really
get a sharp angle when you hit the drop shot. If the net player doesn't make it to the
ball, great, but even if he does, oftentimes the baseline player will have faked so far
in the direction of the drop shot so that when the net player does return it to you, you
can easily just hit the ball over to the opposite side of the court and get an easy
point. Be wary, though; with the alleys open the net player will often hit it down the
line away from you if you aren't close enough to the alley line. You are going to have to
adjust your drop shot strategy to where the alleys are open. You can't position yourself
the same way as you do when the alleys are closed. Just don't rely too much on the drop
shot, or else the AI will start adapting to it too well and start beating you.
Most of the time, playing the baseline is the way to go. A strategy that works well when
playing the baseline is all about getting yourself and the other players into position.
If you can get yourself into a position where: You are near center court around the
baseline, the net player is covering one half of the court and the baseline player is
covering the other half, but the two want to switch sides. Keep hitting the ball to the
opposite side of where the baseline player is as sharply as you can (again, use B). The
net player will return this. After he returns, though, he'll want to switch sides with
the baseline player. So both players will start running towards center court. Hit the
ball as sharply as you can towards where the net player was just at. Both players will
retreat to where they were. The net player, having to backtrack, will have a harder-than-
normal time returning your volley. He'll still head for center court after he returns
your volley. Just keep hitting the ball towards where the net player isn't wanting to go.
Start approaching the net some. Eventually, the net player will have to dive for the
ball. If your angle is good enough, it will make it past the net player. If the ball's
speed is good enough, it will then make it past the baseline player. If you do not score
a point, just try and set yourself up into a situation like this again. The key thing
about this strategy is that the net player always seems to hit the ball right at you. He
never hits it down the alley line, where you would have a harder time returning the
volley. If he does hit it down the alley line, you'll just try to have to set yourself
back up again. Perhaps a good drop shot opportunity will present itself. These two
strategies, the baseline and drop shot, are what will work consistently. You'll get
yourself a lot of points in different ways, but you can't consistently get points that
way. Try to set yourself up in these situations, and, with patience, you should be able
to get points on W & W. That's the biggest key, patience. Don't try and force things. Let
things happen. Often it will feel like nothing will happen in your volleys unless you
make some action. Don't. Just wait, an opportunity will arise for you, eventually.
So those two strategies are what you will be wanting to use in-game the most. While
making a game plan, just try to win two games where W & W are serving on each set. If you
can do this, then you should be able to win enough of the games when you are serving, and
thus you should be able to win a set. You aren't going to win every game. You aren't even
going to be able to consistently win games when you are serving. But if you can win two
games where W & W are serving, you should be able to win the set. Do this for three sets
and then you've won the match.
To win most of the games when you're serving, you're going to need some good serving
techniques. Fortunately, Bowser does have a good serve. The best strategies that I've
found for serving is to hit either an A or B shot serve - never an AB serve, and to
always serve from the farthest corner possible. Serve as close to the edge of the court
as you can, and try to hit as sharp of an angle as possible in the other direction. For
Wario, use A for serving. You have to hit a "Nice" serve, of course, but, try to let the
ball hang in the air as long as possible before hitting A and not getting a Nice serve.
If you do this, it seems Wario will usually hit this lob up to you that doesn't have a
star locating where it will land, but it will be a lob nonetheless. The best way to
approach this lob is to hit it after it first bounces in your side of the court and so
that its high enough above you so that you can hit a smash (AB) shot. Just don't be too
far back or the net player will be able to return your smash shot. If Wario doesn't lob
one up to you, just use the strategies mentioned above to try and get a point. For
Walugi, serving should be very easy. Using the A serve will produce the same effects for
Walugi, although he won't lob it up quite as much a Wario. What will work better, though,
is if you use a B serve. Walugi will return the serve in three ways, in order from most
common to least common: 1) He will lob one up to you with a star appearing where it will
land - when this happens run up to the star and get an easy smash ace; 2) he will not lob
the ball up to you, but the ball will hit the net and not go over - this does not happen
very often; and 3) he will not lob it up, it will hit the net, but it barely has enough
height to go over - it will go over though, and you probably aren't going to be able to
return this since it barely moves at all and bounces twice very quickly after it hits the
net. This last one happens very rarely and you'll be unlucky if it does. If you use these
serving strategies, winning games should come about a lot easier. And when you're not
serving, just try to return it cleanly. If you can do this, you should be able to set
yourself up into one of the strategies above.
Keep things fresh for the AI; don't keep using the same strategy over and over again - it
will start beating you soon enough. That is the other thing - you need to understand and
try to figure out what the AI is going to do next as much as possible. This only comes
about through repetition. With enough practice you should eventually be able to figure
the AI out.
You need to keep your cool, as well. Take a break after you win a set. The first time I
won a set, I lost the next three in a row because I lost focus and I probably should have
taken a break. The time I actually did beat them, I took break between sets. Even if you
start losing your cool at all, and you have a lead to protect, just hit pause and cool
yourself off for a while. Keeping a fresh approach is the biggest factor to success.
As impossible and as hard as it may seem at first, but just keep at it. Through many
failures will eventually come improvement. Eventually you should improve enough to win a
set. Then, you should be able to win the whole match. Just don't give up. At first, I
thought that beating this mini-game was too hard and that I was at a point where I
couldn't improve anymore - I felt as if I was good as I could possibly be. I didn't give
up though. I kept trying. I guess I did improve some, though, because I beat it. And
you'll get it, too. The time I finally did win, I won the match 6-3, 1-6, 6-1, 6-4. After
that, I could do it again. Practice and Patience, as rhetorical as it may sound, is
something you need to keep in your head. You can do it.
When you finally beat the third level, you'll be able to unlock the cool Bowser court in
the N64 version. Good job, you deserve it.
E. COPYRIGHT INFORMATION
© 2002 Sergeant_Slaughter
As of now (September 18, 2002), this guide may only be displayed at IGN.com;
GameFAQs.com; and at Neoseeker.com. If you found this guide anywhere else, please e-mail
me at email@example.com. You may print this guide off for your own personal use. This
guide may not be used for profit. If you wish to display this on your site, please ask me
for permission. If you use any information from this guide, you must give me full credit
and make no alterations in any way, shape, or form. If you have any questions or
comments, or notice any errors, please feel free to e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.