Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii) Reviews

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Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii)

By: Rex Inego | Jun 09, 2007 05:47 PM

Starting properly on September 14th 1999, Mario entered the sporting arena with Mario Golf for the N64. It was a pretty drab affair with not much to do, and sported a fairly generic soundtrack combined with some fairly generic fun.

However, just over a year later Marios sporting career was taken to a new level, a glorious level, a game with speed and colour. It was fun and furious with a steady rise in difficulty level for experienced players and offered quick fun for those that wanted a ten-minute blast. On November 3rd 2000, Mario tennis (N64) was released in Europe and proved all doubters wrong that a Mario sports game could work.

Nintendo took this success as an opportunity to continue and just half a decade later, on the Nintendo GameCube, a slew of Mario themed sports titles hit out screens. However, us fans (and casual gamers alike), learned that Nintendo had been hasty, they had seen the success but hadnҒt analysed why the success has happened. Mario Golf Toadstool Tour, which was hyped up to be a real sequel to the dull original, it just disappointed.

Nintendo were quick to answer the call and Mario Power Tennis was hurried to the stores, baring a few new quirky modes the game was pretty much the same as the original, it was more of an extension that a true sequel and died down after a few months. It went from bad to worse when Mario Superstar Baseball invaded our shops. A horrible idea that was actually made into a game, it only captured the niche Japanese baseball market and the PS2/Xbox favouring American market.

Nintendo had failed its fans, and then they had a revelation. They had worked out why the first Mario tennis was so good, it was because its a fast sport. Tennis compromises of technique and speed with different real-life players opting to favour power, technique or speed. The other sports titles involve lots of standing around, in Golf itҒs just once person at a time, its a slow paced sport and baseball involves standing around as well.

So Nintendo (as they are known for doing so), went to a small time, almost unknown developer and asked for a ғMario soccer game. Next Level Games responded and the original Mario Smash Football (or Super Mario Strikers everywhere that wasnԒt Europe or Australia) was a good game. However like all games, it had its faults, the first of which was the lack of variety (just seven stadiums pretty much says it all) and that it wasnt released early enough, it came out as the GameCube had started to die and was pretty much un-recognised.

Enter Mario Strikers Charged Football for the Nintendo Wii. Next Level Games had a new task, take the original and build on it, oh, and make the online mode rock as well. Taking all the original concepts, the developers have also tried to make this game a tad more exciting.

Adding the electricity makes the game more dynamic, with characters dropping to the ground when slammed into the electrified barriers that surround the appealingly small stadiums. A small playing field makes the game more compact, unlike PES or FIFA. These games offer fluid passing and realism, something that Strikers chucks completely out of the window. The name of the game is passing, and lots of it, with swift short passes the key.

Moving the ball around quickly also ғcharges the ball. When you first collect it, it has a dull purple glow to it, as itԒs moved around it soon changes to red, yellow and finally an illuminating white. With the chance of scoring increasing with each colour band, this adds a nice element to the game, if you tackle the ball whilst the opponent has it as white, you keep it as white for a few seconds and a quick, cheeky shot may just find the net. Even scoring is hard, its near impossible to score with just one character, charging the ball and laying the ball for another character increases your chance to score but its still not certain be cause the keeper (a Kritter form the DK universe) is huge, with great reflexes and the ability to punch any player with the ball who comes too close.

Another new feature is the customisation of youre sidekicks, each time being comprised of a Kritter (keeper only), your Captain (the recognisable HeroҒs or Villains of the Mario Universe) and three sidekicks. Ranging from your bog standard Toads and Koopas to Dry Bones, Boo (not as mad as it sounds) and Shy Guy. Each side kick has a different balance, some are for speed, some power, some defence etcThis gives a real energetic balance to the game and each sidekick has their own power shot that also changes the balance. Toad lets loose a fiery blast shot, that disables the next player it hits, if it hits the keeper and you can get another strike in quick enough then you are basically facing an open goal.

The Mega Strikes are also a brilliant feature, a golf-style swing meter appears, you first stop the marker to select the number of shots, and then the accuracy of them. So you could possible shoot up to six times with a level of accuracy that almost guarantees six goals, however you could miss them all and try again, get just three shots with no extra accuracy and score them all. Its just plain luck and it makes the game a bit risky. The other fact it that whilst aiming youŒre Mega Strike any opponent can tackle you, with your Captain playing Sitting DuckӔ.

The variety in stadiums is also nice, with the usual Mario wackiness ensuing. One stadium has periodical lightening strikes that zap any player in the centre circle, and the lightening then travels down paths on the pitch stunning players as it passes. Stadiums from the original game have also been thrown in to the mix.

The game also performs graphically, with some nice fluid textures, no lack of frame rate and some slick animations. The game even slows down, bullet-time style; at in-frequent periods to highlight particularly good shots. Some really attractive lighting is a bonus and characters that have been frozen will be encrusted with chunks of ice. The characters have been shielded in metal, making the game chunky and stylistic.

The expected Nintendo themed items make a cracking return, and in this iteration of a Mario Sports title they actually add to the game. You collect items by scoring power shots with a sidekick or when an opponent tackles you illegally (when you dont have the ball). Items include he usual bananas and shells, and collecting a star can almost guarantee you a Mega Strike.

The online mode, as Nintendo games goes, is fairly good. Like all games that attempt a pairing system, it can be unbalanced. My first match was against someone with over fifty wins, but the challenge was nice and the pairing system was quick. The game rarely features any lag because you can only have un-ranked matches against players from your own region. If you want to play against your American chums (when they finally get the game) then it requires the trading of friend codes, something forums have become used greatly for recently.

So there we have it, EuropeҒs first online enabled Wii game which is a surprising sleeper hit. A game that is fast and furious with plenty to do and plenty of replay value. Another bonus is the game has no mini-gamesӔ add on, something that has bugged the Wii recently.

Pros: - Fast and furious - Some brilliant lighting effects (particularly during Mega Strikes) and good graphics overall. - Online mode actually works - Lots to see and do - Customisation of youre team works well - Well put together - Music is both Mario themed, but edgy - Animation has fluidity

cons: - A tad over priced, if you can find it for less than 30, you have found a great game - If only you could customise the colour of your kit then it would have been perfect - Friend Codes are irritating - Not many items, should have included more

conclusion: A very good game that introduces Europe to online on the Wii. If you dont like simulation football games then this is youҒre only other option, its fast paced and fun, with some great lighting effects. If you can find it for under ң30 then go for it. In a Word - Enjoyable

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