Nintendo Consoles

Nintendo Consoles

Thursday, April 14, 2016

Super Mario Strikers

Super Mario Strikers - Nintendo Gamecube

Lists of top-ten best Gamecube games are usually comprised of about 9 first-party Nintendo titles, and Resident Evil 4. You always have Metroid Prime and The Wind Waker in the top 3, but after that I've seen Pikmin, Pikmin 2, Wave Race, Twilight Princess, Luigi's Mansion, etc. And sometimes, every once in a blue moon, hovering at around the 9th or 10th spot is a third-party title featuring first-party characters shoving and checking each other in pursuit of a soccer ball. This title is Super Mario Strikers.

Super Mario Strikers is a soccer game with slight modifications to the traditional rules of the international sport. The goal is still to kick the ball into the net of the defending team, but this wouldn't be a Gamecube game without some re-imagining of sorts; Super Mario Strikers is the only Mario-sports game I can think of to place this much emphasis on violence. During a match, you are encouraged to switch back and forth between each of the 4 players on your team to score as many points as possible. Normally this would mean good teamwork and skilled playing, but Strikers cares much more about the instant-gratification that comes with punching and slide-tackling your opponents than it does about adhering to classic soccer techniques. It's super fun and easy to knock the members of the opposing team into the electric walls surrounding each soccer field, and combining these attacks with Perfect Passes, Super Strikes, and dekes is the best way to ensure you have an extremely exciting Mario soccer match.

The main issue with Super Mario Strikers is the dearth of variety between game-modes. There are Cup Battles, Super Cup Battles, and Grudge Matches. Cup battles are your beginner-level single player mode. Beat all the cups, with the teams (in this mode) set to Rookie difficulty, in order to unlock Super Cup Battles. Super Cup Battles are the same thing with higher difficulty, and beating each of these tourneys unlocks different "cheats", such as Field Tilt and Explosive Power-ups, to be used in Grudge Match (man, remember cheats?). Grudge Match is simply your multiplayer mode, where up to 4 people can join in on the gnarly soccer fun. This being said, your friends can actually drop in and out from game to game to play all of the single-player modes Co-op. Each Cup can last anywhere from 5 to 15 matches total, so it's really nice for a friend to be able to join in for 3 or 4 matches, then drop out without having to change modes or exit menus or anything. The point is that completing the single player modes awards nothing more than enhancements to the multiplayer experience. This makes Strikers a perfect party game, but very little more- it just doesn't have enough content to hold up as a single player experience.

The unlockables in Super Mario Strikers, not including the cheats, also leave something to be desired. There are 9 playable teams in the game, and only 1 of them has to be unlocked by playing Cup Battles. You will also unlock different stadiums by completing certain cups, and although I do have my preferences now that I've unlocked them all, each are barely more than color-swaps, and none of them change the gameplay at all.

Super Mario Strikers is sincerely addicting. Even in the single player modes, you can adjust the length of any match to be 2 - 15 minutes, making them an awesome way to kill 15 - 20 minutes. It's also a great game to liven-up a party, or just hang out with a couple of friends and some snacks on a Thursday night. Unfortunately, Strikers suffers the most when those friends leave and all you've left are the single player modes. Playing the game alone is fun for a little while, but when a title is this silly and this violent, it can have the tendency to leave you with an itch that can only be scratched by shoving your friends into electric walls. If you have friends to play this game with and you collect for the Gamecube, buy Super Mario Strikers; if not, don't.

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