Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii) Reviews

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Mario Strikers Charged Football (Wii)

By: Rex Inego | Aug 07, 2007 05:34 PM

Mario Strikers Charged Football (MSCF) is another entry into the many, many Mario sports titles. This is a follow up to the not so successful Mario Strikers for Gamecube, poor sales could be put down to one of two things the death of the Gamecube and the fact that the game lacked a certain amount of depth. The stadiums were all relatively similar and didnt have a great deal to do with the mushroom kingdom. This was because the game did not start out as a Mario game and like Starfox adventures Nintendo characters were added half way through the development process. This lead the original game to lack the charm, that other Nintendo sports titles seem to have. The sequel IҒm happy to say has managed to rectify this situation.

One of the first things that you will notice when you start playing Mario Strikers is the improvement in graphics over the Gamecube original. The graphics are some of the best seen so far on Wii. Its clear to see that time has been taken with the animations from Goal celebrations to the special moves. Both new and old stadiums have been included in this game and it makes you wish that they would have left the old ones out and just created more original content. The player can instantly tell the difference between the two sets of stadiums, the ones from the previous game are dull and bland whereas the new ones are filled with character and entertaining features. Its just such an improvement over the Gamecube game. Out goes the blocky character models and lacklustre textures and in come the best animations and graphics in a Mario sports title to date.

The main difference between MSCF and its predecessor is the online mode which makes use of the Nintendo Wifi connection. It is this mode that could have made or broken MSCF; if this mode were not included this would be an average party game lingering behind greater franchises such as Warioware and Smash Bros. but this mode is included in the package and it expands the games longevity by leaps and bounds. MSCF has two main online modes; the first makes use of Nintendos controversial friend code system and the other is whatҒs known as a ranking match. The Mode involving Friend codes allow the player to setup up a match anyway they want. The player gets to choose the stadium how long the series is and what cheats are activated. Once this is done the player can send a challenge to any Friend thats online and not in a match. The ranking mode is split in two, there is a co-op mode where two people using one Wii can play two other people using another Wii, the second option is to play one versus one over the Nintendo Wifi connection. The reason ranking mode is called ranking mode is that for every goal scored and match won the player gains points which effect the position in the giant league Nintendo have setup.

The other major difference between this and the Gamecube game is the mega strike system. The shots are no longer out of your hands as next level games have included a mini game for goalkeeping. When I first saw this in action I was a bit sceptical. I was expecting it to make the game less fluid but I have to say that its incredibly enjoyable. You can no longer blame the AI if you let six goals in, it will be down to you having the goal keeping abilities of a blind squirrel.

There are 12 main characters in MSCF and 8 sidekicks. Each team is made up of one captain and 3 sidekicks, plus the goalkeeper (who is a crocodile type creature from the donkey kong country series). Each of the captains and sidekicks have there strengths and weaknesses plus unique moves that only they can perform. This adds some depth to the gameplay experience and offers different ways to play. One person might for example go for a speedy team filled with toads and dry bones, while another might go for slow and powerful and include characters such as Birdo and Monty mole. The game is overall fairly balanced with one exception, if you see a team filled with hammer bros. whilst playing online be prepared for the most annoying gaming experience known to man.

Another part of the Mario Strikers experience is the items. They make the game even more hectic. If you have played Mario Kart or Mario Power tennis then you will have some idea of what to expect. Items didnҒt really work in Mario Power tennis and in Mario Kart they are often criticised/praised for levelling the field and allowing anyone to win. In Mario Strikers however they seem to have added depth and strategy to the game. Items are gained by either firing a potent shot at the goalkeeper or by your opponent fouling you. There are no rules and referees in MSCF but fouling players constantly is not a good idea as it gives your opponents an advantage in the form of game swaying items. Items can be used defensively and offensively they can be used to incapacitate opponents for a short amount time to open up scoring opportunities or if the attacker has left you for dead with a back flip over your tackle, nothing returns the favour than dropping a bob-omb on his head. Items can cause certain levels to become a bit confusing but overall they add to the fun.

The single player game in MSCF consists of two modes, a challenge mode and a tournament mode. The challenge mode gives the player a scenario such as Yoshi is trailing 6-1; youӒve 30 seconds to win the match. You are rewarded for completing these challenges with cheats which can be used in multiplayer games. Some of the later missions can get really difficult, frustratingly so and there are a lack of challenges in this mode (only 12). The other Solo mode is ԑThe road to the Striker cup, Now you know how I said that the Challenge mode is frustratingly difficult, well the striker cup is borderline impossible. If you were question every single person who bought this game then I could guarantee that over 90% people will not have finished the Striker cup. The whole way this mode is set out is annoying; firstly to get to the knockout stages of each tournament you need to play ten matchs against the computer. The next step is to win the semi final where your playing an opponent youҒve already beaten twice who has become incredibly difficult over the space of five minutes. Next comes the final which is just a joy, a real joy, there is nothing more enjoyable than losing a match 2-1 then realising you have to go through the entire league again.

I dont think this game can be called a football game. The reason is its impossible for nil-nil draw in this game (if itҒs a draw it will go to next goal winner). The majority of football games are boring uneventful and try to hard to be realistic. Computer games are not meant to be boring and uneventful; people play them because they are fun. Which is more fun watching Thierry Henri run past a defender and put the ball in the top corner or watching an undead turtle skip past a defender whose just been crushed by a giant Italian plumber and then lob a goal keeper whose just been electrocuted. If you prefer the second option this is probably the game for you. Mario Strikers is extreme football, you are encouraged to punch your opponent in the face, you can score six goals from one strike, and the footballers in this game have more to worry about than broken metatarsals theyve got to watch out for flying cows, tractors and an irritating monkey with red cards.

Pros: Brilliant online multiplayer especially in co-op. Its the only online multiplayer game available on Wii at the time of writing. Its one of the better mario sports titles. Its a football game where you don't have to be a fan of football to enjoy it. The items work well. Goalkeeping is great. Great graphics. Some good music. Great party game.

cons: Single player really lacks depth. I want more original stadiums and less dull and boring ones. The online modes a bit glitchy when searching for people to play. Some characters are overpowered. Unlocking characters seems pointless when they are automatically unlocked when playing online. Single player is frustrating. Some people online abuse certain game mechanics(hammer spammers, I'm looking in your direction). Too many people quit when losing online. Some not so good music.

conclusion: This game is worth getting if you can get the Wii online if not I would pass as I can't stress enough how shallow single player is. To be honest I went into this game with low expectations but I was pleasantly surprised. If a sequel is made I hope they improve single player as it really is the only reason that this game is good and not great. I also think this game could really benefit from voice chat online as I think that would solve the problem of quitters and cheats. Final thought: Good not Great

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