Beach Spikers is an arcade beach volleyball game for the Nintendo GameCube. Along with the classic arcade mode, it offers an in-depth World Tour mode with an upgradeable AI partner.
The gameplay in Beach Spikers is simllar to other Sega sports titles such as Virtua Tennis and Virtua Striker; the controls are easy to pick up and there is a comprehensive tutorial, but the game offers a surprising amount of tactical depth. Each step in the traditional volleyball bump-set-spike sequence influences the next. The accuracy and power of the set and spike actions are determined by hitting a swinging power meter at the right spot, as well as the player's position when reaching for the ball. There are also a couple of variations for each action, such as quick attacks (bypassing the set) and tipping the ball over the blocker's hands instead of spiking. The player character is controlled with the analog stick, with the A/B/X/Y buttons performing different actions depending on the attack phase.
In the single player World Tour mode the player creates his all-female team by customizing the hair, face and uniforms of the player's character as well as the AI partner. The team then progresses through the season by playing tournaments in each of the eight stages while gathering experience. The overall goal is to win the championship by being the number one ranked team at the end of a season. The game also contains an arcade mode and a multiplayer mode with a maximum of four players (2 on 2).
The AI partner in World Tour is one of the distinguishing aspects of the game. The partner starts at level 1 and gains experience after each match. The experience points can be allocated in different categories such as response time, power, serving and blocking. Every ten points during a match there is a break and the player can select the feedback to give to the partner - praise, encourage, reprimand or do nothing. Based on how the feedback corresponds with the actions of the partner, the teamwork percentage increases or decreases and the player gets more or less points to distribute after the match. The improvement of the AI partner is very noticeable. At level 1 she will fumble receives, give weak underhand serves and spike out of bounds most of the time. At level 99, however, she is incredibly efficient and will frequently perform better than the player.
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