The story of Mario Strikers, the crazy reinterpretation of Nintendo's soccer games

The story of Mario Strikers, the crazy reinterpretation of Nintendo's soccer games

The story of Mario Strikers

The spin-offs that are usually incorporated into the definition of "Mario Sports" over the years have been very successful. We are talking about almost sixty million copies sold. Although there are some precedents, as a category we could argue that they were officially born in the Nintendo 64 era, with Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, both developed by Camelot (and produced by Nintendo).

Not all Mariesque sports are beautiful at the the same way, but some games (not least Mario Tennis Aces) have come close to or achieved excellence. While they are very different, they all have common characteristics. First, they are not developed directly by Nintendo, which manufactures and oversees operations through dedicated teams (at present, mainly EPD 2). As we just said, Mario Tennis and Mario Golf are historically sculpted by Camelot. The baseball titles from Bandai Namco, those related to the Olympics from SEGA. Another element common to all games is the arcade vocation and the desire to caricature the key characteristics of the original sport without betraying them.

Within this framework, in 2005, at the end of the cycle vital of Nintendo GameCube, has entered Super Mario Strikers (Mario Smash Football in Europe). Its creators are the Canadians of Next Level Games, who at the time were in their third game, the first made in collaboration with Nintendo, but certainly not the last, so much so that they were recently acquired by the Japanese company. Although the name suggests football, in reality Super Mario Strikers is a five-a-side football game, or rather, futsal, five-a-side football. With some particular rules, such as the absence of fouls and throw-ins, as well as the presence - on the sidelines - of invisible electric fences.

All the features, those just listed, that you will find in Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, arriving on June 10th. But now it's time to remember its ancestor.

Super Mario Strikers

Super Mario Strikers: The first game in the series, released in 2005 Super Mario Strikers sold 1.5 million copies and was also received quite well by critics, with a Metacritic average of 76. It is the Mariesque version, as already mentioned, of five-a-side football: a goalkeeper (in this case it was Kritter, replaced on Switch by Boom Boom, definitely more consistent with the context) and four players. The latter were not all the same and we are not referring only to the different characteristics of the same. They were divided into captains (and there were eight) and supporting actors (four). So a team consisted of a goalkeeper (Kritter), a captain (Mario, for example) and three supporting actors (Koopa, Toad, Hammer Bros. and Birdo). In short, the teams were well identified by their captain. As usual, Mario was the balanced one, Wario the heavy one, and so on. Surprisingly, in this first chapter there was no Bowser, just showing up on the pitch to crack the boxes, tilt the surface, shoot fire around him.

Bowser's fire was just the icing on the cake of the violence of the game: not only were the fouls absent (a kind of Florentine football, in essence), but weapons were also included, in full mariokartesque spirit. Weapons that were obtained as "credits" for certain actions (for example, being fouled without the ball), and which could be used both to hinder the opponent's offensive transitions, and to protect oneself from rivals during the attack.

Super Mario Strikers didn't contain many modes and had a rather narrow choice of characters and stages. However, thanks to the quality of the controls and its game mechanics, he managed to be loved by many players. The games were very fun, and it was possible to score in many ways, not only through the Supertiri, which were worth two points: shots to be loaded which, not being hindered, were made by blocking at the right time - as in golf games - a line. swinging from left to right. Super Mario Strikers also introduced a key feature of the series, namely the fury of its protagonists: in the animations and attitudes, the Nintendo characters in this game were more "bad" than usual.

Mario Strikers Charged Football

Mario Strikers Charged Football: Introduced the ball and metal armor Mario Strikers Charged Football (in the US only Mario Strikers Charged), the second and, so far, final installment of the series, released on the Nintendo Wii. It was the first in-house game to have competitive online multiplayer and it was truly exceptional: not only to challenge other Parisian opponents, but also to have fun on the spot, as it was possible to venture online with a friend (two against two). Mario Strikers Charged Football, also developed by Next Level Games, marked a clear step forward both in sales (two and a half million units) and, above all, in terms of quality: its Metacritic average is 79, but the distance with its predecessor is wider than the three dots that separate them.

Before talking about the new features, it is good to point out how, in terms of identity, Mario Strikers Charged Football has further elevated what was mentioned in its predecessor: the characters are no longer only angry than in Mario's other sports, but also covered in metal armor (even skimpy, in Peach's case!). It is a typical hallmark of the series, we will see how much will be maintained in the episode for Switch: for sure the armor will return (along with the metal, in fact ...), and now they can also be customized. The same ball, in the chapter for Wii, was not leather, but iron.

Mario Strikers: Battle League Football, coming June 10, 2022 An iron balloon with a light inside it, a light which became clearer with each passage (it rewarded the maneuver, in short) and allowed to hit the ball harder. The news certainly did not end here. In addition to a notable increase in the number of stadiums, characters and supporting actors, Mario Strikers Charged Football introduced special skills for each individual player: the "charged shot" of the teammates had a less devastating effect than that of the captains, but each of them possessed them. one. The Supertiro, based on the execution, could be worth more than the two goals of the first episode and the goalkeeper (if not perfectly executed) had the possibility of parrying him through a "micro-game" in which he used the Wiimote (and its pointer).

In short, although some tend to prefer the first episode, the second chapter was better in practically every respect: we will see how the next one will be, which will surely remain faithful to the foundations of the series in at least two aspects. One, violence: no foul, no throw-ins, weapons for the pitch. Two, the aerial game: halfway between futsal and beach soccer, in Mario Strikers high-ball phrases are as important as low-level phrases. We have already seen a notable difference: the captains / supporting characters mechanic has been removed. We'll know more in a few days.

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