Mario Hoops 3-on-3
Mario Hoops 3-on-3, also known as Mario Slam Basketball in Europe and Mario Basketball 3on3 in Japan, is a Mario sports game developed by Square Enix for the Nintendo DS. It features Mario and his friends participating in basketball. This is the second time Mario has starred in a basketball game with the first being the GameCube version of NBA Street V3 along with Luigi and Peach.
In the beginning, it was meant to be an original intellectual property, but Square Enix felt that it would work well if it were a part of the Mario franchise, and so Square Enix contacted Nintendo, who then allowed it to use the Mario label. This game is the first in which Mario and Final Fantasy characters appear together as playable characters.
Mario Hoops 3-on-3 has twenty-one playable characters, five of them being from Square Enix's Final Fantasy franchise. Ten characters are playable from the start, with the other eleven being unlockable (See the Unlockables section for the methods of unlocking each character). There are five different character types, listed at the side, each character type having its own pros and cons, that can help or halt the players progress in a game. Additionally, all twenty-one characters have a special move called a Special Shot, with each character having their own unique Special Shot.
The fourth course of each tourney (excluding Rainbow Ship) is an unlockable and can only be played in Exhibition Mode. The rest of the courts are played in Tourney Mode as well.
The main mode is Tourney mode, where a team of 3 is chosen and they compete against other teams for the cup, in generally 3 matches. Exhibition mode is like quick-play, as well as customizable.
Almost all of the gameplay in the game is controlled by the Touch Screen. The only exceptions are moving a character, which is controlled by the , and a special form of passing, which uses the button. This can be switched around with the buttons controlling movement and the button for passing for left-handed players.
There are many moves for offense and defense. The player's team of three is identified with a red circle below them, a blue circle for the opponent team's players. The player's team's basket is always facing ahead of them, and the opponent's team in the back, even when switching court. Therefore, generally, stroking up on the touch screen is used for offense and stroking down is used for defense. For more on moves, see the Practice section.
The match starts at half court, with the center of each team preparing to jump for the ball that Lakitu will release at the start. Matches are played in at least two periods lasting two and a half minutes. At the end of each period, each team's coin count is reset to 0 and another jump-ball at half court is initiated. Whichever team has the most points overall when all periods are played, wins the match.
Scoring is a bit different in Mario Hoops than in a real world basketball game. Each shot made is worth 20 points. Shots made outside of what is normally the 3-point line are worth 30 points (therefore, the basic shot is multiplied by 10 in Mario Hoops). Special shots, regardless of position are worth 40 points. To compound the points, coins also come into play. Players can collect coins by dribbling over the ? Panels scattered about the court. Regular coins add 1 point each to the score, and red coins add 10 points to the score. Every time a team makes a basket, their coins are reset to zero. Getting hit, either from items or other players, will result in some of the player's coins scattering on the field, which can be picked up by anyone, including the character who lost them. The limit to the number of coins one team can have is 100 (therefore the maximum normal score for one shot is 140, and for Jr. Street, the maximum score is 420), and the more coins one has, the more are lost on a hit. If the player make a shot with a lot a coins, the player can really go from losing to winning in a matter of seconds. If the ? Panels aren't on the field, then the shot value is divided by ten, making normal shots worth two points, three-pointers worth three, and special shots worth four.
When players are on the defensive, ? Panels always produce items very similar to the Mario Kart series. A few items can also be picked up on the offensive. To use most items, players stroke in the direction the item is to be thrown.
The next four items can be collected by both the offense and defense:
The next three items are specific to one court:
Challenges contains both practice modes and then a true extra challenge-like mode after completing the main practice mode.
As Mario, players will practice basic techniques upon starting the game, then advanced techniques after winning the first tourney (Offense 2 and Defense 2). If a defensive man is needed for practice, it is always Wario.
Practice dribbling commands of players who've mastered their special shots!
Players can practice Special Shots with any player unlocked (the shots themselves don't have to be mastered, despite the in-game description). It acts like a lesson, with the objective to do the special shot 3 times from anywhere on the court, with two other characters supplied for alley-oops.
Dribble Race (Time Trial)
Get 100 coins from ? panels and head for the goal! Beat the best time!
This extra mode allows the player to pick any character and try to gather 100 coins from ? Panels and cross the finish time in as little time as possible. There are three of these mini-courses, to unlock the last one the preset records must be beaten in the first two.
Tourneys are the equivalent of tournaments in the Mario Kart series. After picking a team of three, players go on to compete in a set of matches (2 periods of 2:30 each), each on a different course. In fact, the tourney is composed of a 8-4-2-1 basis. The other 7 teams are chosen random, and are represented by the captains (center / first character picked) on the elimination screen (shown right). When the player beats the first team, the captain breaks through a classic block while the losing CPU captain comes up with a deactivated block. The gold trophy stands at the top of this screen, with a ? Block below it. The player goes through Round 1, Round 2, and the Finals. Each time the player loses a match, he or she can try it again as many times as necessary to win and move on (i.e. there's no ranking out like in Mario Kart).
When the Final Fantasy team steals the trophy after the Rainbow Cup, the ? Block reveals a tall vine, which the captain climbs up to the Rainbow Ship, initiating the Extra match.
There are four tourneys, and they nearly follow suit with the Mario Kart series in being named Mushroom, Flower, Star and Rainbow. Once all four tourneys are won, their respective hard mode versions are unlocked. Each of the eight tourneys receives a bronze, silver, or gold trophy (separate from the automatic trophy presented upon winning, this is like a grade on how well the player did). They are determined as follows:
Therefore, losing even once automatically puts gold & silver out of the question. By abusing the quit feature (which saves the player's position upon winning each match) when about to lose or win by too little, "redos" are possible.
Upon winning the tournament, the player is asked whether he or she wants to move on to the next tourney. If it is the Rainbow Tourney, the credits roll.
Players can choose a team of three, even the opponent's players if desired (each spot left blank is chosen randomly), and jump into any course played and won in Tourney Mode. There are some settings to enhance the one match as well:
*Unlocked after winning Hard Rainbow Tourney.
After the match, the player can play with the exact same settings or quit the mode (there's no way to just change the course or one character).
This is the multiplayer mode of Mario Hoops. DS Wireless Play includes three modes, while DS Download only includes two of those three.
Mario Hoops Face-off! Game results will be recorded in the player ranking. Win matches to earn points and rank up!
The single mode that is limited to local wireless, two players can choose their team of 3 and face off against each other, subject to the same settings as normal Exhibition Mode.
Dribble Race Versus Friends! Nab 100 coins from ? panels and beat everyone to the goal!
Same as Dribble Race Mode, except it's not a time trial: the first to cross the finish line with 100 coins wins, and is available with 2-4 players.
Coin Hunting with Friends! Throw items and scramble for coins! Hold on to coins until the end to win!
This is a non-basketball related mode that draws heavily on Mario Kart's battle mode. Each player (up to 4) starts with 50 coins. Players then use items to reduce the other player's coins. The single player remaining with coins wins. In a three or four-player game, players eliminated early can stick around to annoy players still in the competition (similar to Mario Kart 64). There are four courses; the last two are unlockable by winning five of these battles in a row.
Two minor unlockables, the other courses in Dribble Race and Coin Hunter modes, have already been mentioned in this article. There are many more unlockables in the game, including characters and courses previously mentioned.
From Tourney Mode
Most of the unlockables come from winning trophies in Tourney Mode, including all but one character, costume changes, and most balls. By getting silver or gold on the first try, more than one unlockable can be obtained.
The following is understood: Winning the Rainbow Tourney unlocks Hard Mode, winning the Hard Rainbow Tourney unlocks Pro difficulty in Exhibition matches.
When selecting characters by placing them in the hoop, holding the D-pad in a direction or a button at the same time causes a cosmetic change if unlocked, not affecting gameplay abilities. Yoshi and Fly Guy each have three different changes, while the others have one.
Asterisk (*) means it was only available before the wireless server was shutdown and now there's no way to unlock them.
An original soundtrack that is based on the game is released only in Japan and is published by Square Enix, the same company for the game. It has thirty-one songs from the game.
References to other games
Names in other languages