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Super Mario Strikers – GameCube

Super Mario Strikers – GameCube

super mario strikers coverartPlatform: Nintendo GameCube

Developer: Next Level Games

Publisher: Nintendo

Release Date (NA): 2005

Genre: Soccer, Sports, Party

Nerd Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Super Mario Strikers is a great example of Nintendo taking Mario and spreading him all over the universe to cover every key demographic available.  It’s tough to say things like “arriving at the peak of Mario’s fame” because that’s not accurate.  Mario had been red hot for 2 decades by the time Strikers came out.  So he’s been riding at the top of the mountain for a long time now.

Super Mario Strikers offers your run-of-the-mill Mario-type sports gameplay, and with a little practice you’ll be picking up the WaveBird and begging for more as you beat down your friends in a straight up grudge match like none other.  There are great things about this game yet there is still a lot to be desired.

Super Mario Strikers offers a variety of menu options such as

  • Grudge Match (your standard “quick play” single game option for some great 4 player frantic gameplay)
  • Cup Battles (sort of a career mode where you’ll go through a series of games that get progressively harder and harder until you eventually are battling for the Bowser Cup)
  • You must win the Bowser Cup to unlock the Super Cup Battles mode (which is a game mode in the vein of Cup Battles, except considerably more difficult)
  • Custom Battles (which is a way to create a sort of tournament style bracket between you and the 15 friends you have at your house that want to play Super Mario Strikers), and
  • Strikers 101 (which is a practice mode)

No single mode is better than the other because each mode offers its own unique rules.  But EACH game mode is built around a single super mario strikers gameshotgame engine that shares the exact same rules and principles of gameplay (providing very little variety between the multiple game modes).  Every mode offers five-a-side indoor-soccer style gameplay with no referee (which means no fouls, no offsides, nothing).  The lack of a referee doesn’t detract from the game any, and actually makes it quite fun and similar to NFL Blitz in the fact that one can straight up tackle the crap out of an opponent.  But if you use your “long-tackle” to take out someone without the ball, you’ll provide the opponent with a power-up (bananas, koopa shells, etc).  So finesse and technique are also just as important as accurate passing and well-timed slide tackles.

super mario strikers team selectSoccer is soccer, no matter what you call it. But Super Mario Strikers soccer is Mario Soccer, no matter what you call it.  Included in this game are the standards for any competitive multiplayer Mario game… Throwing bananas to make your opponent slip and lose the ball, slinging koopa shells to bash your opponent so they’ll drop the ball, and so on and so on.  On the surface, Super Mario Strikers looks like a standard Mario sports game that someone can enjoy for a brief moment and then tag some friends in on the action and partake in some friendly trash talk and show off one’s competitive spirit.  But under the surface, Super Mario Strikers is a dark and gritty violent battle for ball possession, shin-protection, integrity, and one’s very own life.

Super Mario Strikers is a soccer video game that puts the players in an arena with two teams playing five-a-side soccer.  Each team has one captain (Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, etc), 3 identical characters as your teammates, and a large lizard goalie (who I believe is from the Donkey Kong Country series, correct me if I’m wrong).  Althoughss_smstrikers_pre08 technically the game takes place OUTSIDE in an arena, it plays more like indoor soccer with a tiny goal, short field, walls to bounce the ball off of, and rarely exiting the playing field (if ever! I actually have never seen it exit the arena).

For any Super Mario Strikers athlete, the game will prove difficult at the start, and can still prove difficult when you’re familiar with button configurations and how to truly excel.  The mechanics are sound and maneuvering your player is exceptionally easy.  The player controls the ball with precision and ease and the game acts almost instantly when any button is pressed.  There is a simple ground pass, a lob pass, one-touch passing, one-time shots, volley shots, volley passes, a Super Strike shot (only the team captain can perform this), 2 different ways to perform a deke move, and more.  It’s very easy to tell what is going on (unlike some Mario games where it gets chaotic and you can’t figure out exactly what is happening), and the graphics are rendered to perfection with every detail.  The camera angles are quite nice and provide some inspiring soccer play, especially when the game switches into slow-motion for an acrobatic volley shot or converts to a stylistic close up of your team captain performing a Super Strike on the goal!

super mario strikers gameplay screenshotWait, did I just mention all of the beautiful things in the game and state the simplicity of which this game is created?  So how on earth can I say that the game is “difficult” even after you learn how to play?

Super Mario Strikers is difficult in that Mario-game kinda way, where in one moment the AI is dreadful and simply put… nonexistent.  Then another moment the AI is excruciatingly intelligent, accurate, and beyond belief in just how GOOD they are.  It’s unbelievable though.  I played 3 grudge matches in a row at one point and pulled out a tie-breaking goal within the last 30 seconds of all 3 games in a row.  Maybe I’m just an incredibly clutch athlete (much like Ben Roethlisberger… bring it on haters) or maybe the AI somehow knows to back off just in time for me to pull off some crazy athletic Lionel Messi-like futbol moves.

Either way, it can sometimes be painfully easy and causes some serious boredom, or it can be unbelievably stupid hard and can cause some serious anger and frustration!  This seems to be a recurring element in most multiplayer Mario titles (I found this to be extremely evident in most Mario Party titles, Mario Kart Double Dash!!, and almost ANY Mario sports game).

super mario strikers angry

Regardless of the difficulty level and inconsistent (or planned out?) Artificial Intelligence, Super Mario Strikers provides some great soccer fun, even when playing single player mode.  I grew up playing soccer and I currently play adult soccer and coach youth soccer, so I feel like I have a decent grasp on the concept of futbol in general.  With that said, I might have some slight bias towards Super Mario Strikers, but in theory that could also make me more jaded and critical of the game, right?

Consider the fact that I actually think very highly of this game, I just can’t give it a score above 6.5.  A rating of 7 means this game is on the path towards perfect.  Super Mario Strikers is no FIFA ’14, nor is it supposed to be like a Gran Turismo game (except about soccer, of course).  But what Super Mario Strikers does provide is a unique and fun soccer experience with some of our most beloved Nintendo characters, all within the Mario Universe, of course.  The pitch varies only slightly in look (mostly the color, background, turf, etc), but the roll of the ball is exactly the same regardless.  The defense is oftentimes intelligent and can easily pick up on a give-and-go, but when you’re playing by yourself, your own teammates will NEVER quite understand a give-and-go.  So, in order to achieve optimal results, one might want to consider playing with a friend on their own team for some truly fun times racking up the score!

Overall, Super Mario Strikers is a fairly fun and enjoyable experience.  Perhaps this game is best suited for their main demographic… young kids.  But I still believe there are games out there that can be created in a way to appeal to all ages!  The game isfun but the fun is very short-lived.  The lack of variety or even possibility of doing something different in this game (Where are the mini-games??) makes the replayability of this game moderately low.  The one big plus about Strikers is how easy it is for you and a friend (or 3) to pick up some controllers and play a short soccer match, then continue with the rest of your day.  Gone is the nagging feeling that you get in deeper games when you’re not playing and you know you want to advance further in the game.  Present is the nagging feeling that each successive soccer match is going to be more challenging but STILL wildly identical to the match before.

super mario strikers screen

If you’re a sports fan, get this game. If you’re a Mario fan, get this game.  It’s not terrible and it’s not great.  Super Mario Strikers‘ STRONGEST features are the very strong game engine, solid control scheme, exceptional GameCube graphics, positive sound, and fun times!  It’s worth no more than $20 however, and even $20 is way too much. I think $10-$12 is the perfect price.  Nintendo offers up a strong sports game in Super Mario Strikers but it just slightly fails to meet the mark.  Perhaps they can revisit this title on the Wii U with some updated variety and more consistent and believable A.I.

Nerd Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Reviewed by NerdBerry

Written by Nerdberry

Nerdberry

What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

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  1. To this day I can’t figure out how the fuck to play this. All I do is get hit by the other team. I have a little bit more success with Strikers Charged for the Wii, but not much.

     

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