LAURENT KERMEL - Video Game Den : Super Famicom : ACE WO NERAE ! )
ACE WO NERAE !
game Cover
game cartridge
エースをねらえ!
©Yamamoto Sumika / Telenet Japan
Release: 1993-12-22 (¥9400)
Cartridge SHVC-EE
Tennis game

Ace Wo Nerae is a 3D tennis game by Nippon Telenet based on a popular Japanese anime from the 70s (itself based on a shōjo Japanese manga series by Sumika Yamamoto). The player takes control of Hiromi Oka, a young and cute rookie tennis player. Even if she's still studying in High School (she's supposed to be 15 years old), she aims, through determination and hard work, to become the greatest tennis player of all time - the Ace Player ! The game offers three modes - versus (up to four players), training (for first-timers) and story. As expected, the story mode gets the player to compete against a selection of premiership tennis players and cutscenes slowly unfold the story. During any of the play modes, Ace Wo Nerae uses the Super Famicom's graphics capabilities to produce a 3D representation of the tennis court (set to a fixed overhead view for the versus mode) which cleverly simulates an actual 3D moving camera. Each button of the controller pad is linked to a type of swing and players can therefore use a large selection of traditional tennis moves. Matches can be quite long and a password system is used to save the game's progress throughout the story mode.
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In japan, sport animes were highly popular in the 70s. Ace Wo Nerae is a shōjo manga by Sumika Yamamoto and was published from 1972 to 1980. Shōjo mangas are Japanese comic books usually aimed at a young female audience and are known for featuring female protagonists and pastel colors. The manga was later adapted into a TV animated series and even into a live-action television show in 2004.

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Ace Wo Nerae is surprisingly one of the best tennis game for the Super Famicom system. The quality and speed of the 3D animation is what makes this title stand out of the crowd (or at least at the time). I only wished some of the small problems had been ironed out - the camera can be a pain at times and figuring out where the ball is or will end up after performing a tricky shot can be a real challenge. As a side note, all the emulators I tried the game on had display problems and don't properly refresh the 3D tennis court... the real cartridge plays fine though. The collision detection is also rather weak and is really forgiving. Music tracks and sound effects are almost non-existent which is a shame - especially when the game's packaging mentions the DSP technology which, if I'm not mistaking, stands for Digital Signal Processor and is a specialized microprocessor designed for real-time digital sound processing. Maybe it was only used for the voice that shouts the score after each point... All in all, Ace Wo Nerae is an impressive and surprising (for the time) tennis game and you do not have to be a shōjo anime fan to enjoy it.




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