The 'Shroom:Issue XLIII/Review Corner
Welcome to another Review Corner! This month, I'll be reviewing another spinoff sequel: Mario Strikers Charged!
The game, known as Mario Strikers Charged Football in Europe, is the sequel to Super Mario Strikers. While most Mario games are released in Japan first, this game, due to soccer's popularity, was released in Europe first. This game was first released in America in late June 2007.
Once again, Nintendo did an excellent job with the controls. They utilize the motion controls a lot without overdoing it. Some Wii games seem to be entirely motion-based, but this game balances motion and button-mashing extremely well. In fact, though this is a Mario game, it's not exactly family-friendly. Through my experiences with playing this game with many people, the people who seem to be best at this game are sports fans and people who played the first game in the series, which is a bit more simple. Playing against a player who is more experienced than you can be extremely challenging, and generally overwhelming for a first-timer. However, as a fan who thinks the Wii is far too noob-friendly, I love it.
This game is very fast-paced. Gone are the Super Strikes of the original game, but Megastrikes take their place. Megastrikes allow the captain to shoot three to six balls at the goalie, who must stop them using motion controls. Sidekicks also play a bigger part in the game with skillshots. These count as just one point, though they are tough to stop. Some, if taken from the right angle, are guaranteed to go in!
Another nice addition is ratings. There are five player types: Balanced; Offensive; Defensive; Power and Technique. Their skills vary on the field, and it affects the skillshots the sidekicks take.
Captains also have their own power-ups. They generally vary by skill type, but each character has their own spin on their power. While the three Balanced characters, Mario, Luigi and Yoshi turn giant with their Super Ability, Yoshi turns into a giant Egg and rolls over as many players as he can before the time on the power-up expires.
Players also have new ways to Deke. In the original game, there were two basic dekes, a dodge-like move that looked like the player was skipping, and a spin move. In Strikers Charged, players have various moves based on their skill types. Some hide in their shell, some jump to avoid a would-be tackler, and (my favorite) some drop a giant hammer on any player in their vicinity. New stadiums are also introduced. Most of them have various quirks. Only The Vice is a straight-up soccer stadium. Some have no electric walls, and players simply fall off the edge. Other are prone to lightning attacks, which can shock players and immobilize them. My favorite stadium is Crystal Canyon. Before play starts, light reflects off the crystals and vaporizes one or two players on this team. The players rejoin the game after each goal, and one or two are zapped away each round. This can sometimes lead to an advantage for the most balanced team, though the game is generally fair in that if one captain is vaporized, the other is also vaporized. The new stadiums also have music, which can be turned off in the settings. I sometimes prefer having crowd noise as my soundtrack. One other note is that each stadium has a different horn played after a goal is scored.
Items play a major role in this game. They can be used to prevent an opposing player to reach a loose ball, steal the ball away, or prevent a shot on an open net.
Kritter is once again the goalie. His moves are generally the same, though he sometimes lazily swats the ball away. I F*CKING HATE THIS. More often than not, he either misses it or hits it to a wide-open attacker, leading to a goal. IT SUCKS.
The graphics in the prequel were mediocre. The on-field graphics were strong, but the crowd looked horrible in 2-D. Improving the crowd and making the game look generally more violent was a big plus. However, I like how the crowd jumps out of their seats and celebrates after each goal in the original game, giving it a realistic feel. In Strikers Charged, the crowd is in 3-D, though the fans jump up and down all game. The arenas that they brought over from the original Strikers were expanded far too much, though. I enjoyed how realistic the first game was.
The story mode was pretty good. The player basically goes through three cups: Fire, Crystal and Striker. In the Fire Cup, there are three opponents, and to get to the championship you must finish in the top two following the double-round robin. Then, you must defeat the other team who finished in the top two to advance to the championship against Bowser Jr., a best-of-three series. Victory results in unlocking Bowser Jr. and the Crystal Cup, as well as multiple stadiums. (If you play as Bowser Jr., you face a random opponent in the championship). The Crystal Cup is made of six teams, and the top four advance to a knockout round. The winner faces Diddy Kong. The Striker Cup is an eight-team tournament, and the winner must defeat Petey Piranha. Like the original game in the series, opponents become increasingly difficult, though if the player uses Extreme Mode, the opponents are much harder from the start, though there isn't an enormous increase in difficulty from cup to cup. The one thing I don't like about story mode is the inability to switch between different captains and sidekicks between cups.
Like in the original game, you can play single games, though the name is changed from Grudge Match to Domination Mode. A new mode, Challenge Mode, is introduced. Players have to complete a certain task to unlock new power-ups as well as player cards, which include artwork and bios. A tutorial mode is also available. However, Custom Battles are gone, so you can't create your own tournaments.
Though the combination of items, Megastrikes, skillshots and Super Abilities make this game overwhelming at first sight, it's a load of fun to play. Sometimes, those factors make the game overwhelming, though, leaving you longing to play its prequel. (Classic Mode, which disables all the features listed above, is unlockable.) The Story Mode kicks ass. In all, this game gets an 8.5/10. I certainly hope this series is continued!