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Platform

Wii

 

Genre

Sports

 

Publisher

Nintendo

 

Developer

Next Level Games

 

ESRB

E +10 (Everyone)

 

Released

July 30, 2007

 

 

- Save progress during Cup runs

- Many improvements and refinements over the original like online play, better graphics, and unique playing fields

- Wii control functionality doesn't feel forced

- Online play is good, but it won't replace a buddy or two on the couch

 

 

- Lack of voice chat during multiplayer (though this has more to do with the console than the game)

- Simulation snobs will hate this

- Sometimes it can be hard to see the ball with all the stuff happening on the field

 

 

Review: Super Mario Strikers (GC)

Review: Sega Soccer Slam (GC)

Review: Wii Play (Wii)

 

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Mario Strikers Charged

Score: 8.5 / 10

 

Call it “arcade snobbery” but I’ve always been a believer in purely fun sports games as opposed to more serious simulations.  EA’s latest FIFA doesn’t hold a candle to Mario Strikers Charged – a game that succeeds in outdoing its predecessor, Super Mario Strikers, from 2005, in practically every way (even if it does score "lower" than the original).

 

mario strikers charged          mario strikers charged

 

For starters, the action has been ramped up by including more field hazards, special moves for your minion teammates, specialized power-ups, and the powerful megastrike, which launches up to six shots on your opponents goal.  These changes to the overall gameplay of the original made me realize how short the original was with its ideas.

 

The fields (or pitches, if you prefer) require their own strategies.  One field is fringed by sand which slows down anyone that ventures into the area.  This forces players into the middle section of the field, where Thwomps regularly slam down.

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Another field keeps the ball in play but any characters that venture too close to the edge (or are accidentally pushed) tumble off the field.  The same gusts of wind that bring flying cows and flopping fish across the field bring the affected player back after a handful of seconds.  Another playing field features pools of magma that plop onto the field… The short of it is, each

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playing arena feels unique, which is an improvement over the original.

 

The functionality of the Wii controls does not feel forced.  Really, it’s only used for a couple of things: hitting players and stopping megastrikes.  The goalie is still automatic but during megastrikes the view switches to his perspective and the player has to zap the incoming balls with the Wiimote.  While on defense, to hit a player it’s a simple shake of the Wiimote.  The implementation makes learning these play mechanics easy and intuitive.

 

In the original game, teammates were essentially used to setup the team captain to score.  This time out, each teammate has their own skill stats and special moves.  Boo dekes by vanishing in one place and reappearing a short distance away; when Hammer Brother charges up his shot he leaps into the air and throws a volley of hammers.

 

mario strikers charged          mario strikers charged

 

These unique features are also extended to the team captains, with special power-ups: Mario can grow to a massive size for a short time; Wario can fart a cloud of noxious fumes that have opponents running in circles; Daisy spikes the ground to clear opponents in the immediate vicinity.  The power-ups are allocated the same way they were handled with Super Mario Strikers.  Get a solid shot on goal and you score a power-up (chain-chomps, mushrooms, stars, turtle shells, etc.), but lay out an opponent who is not in possession of the ball and your opponent score a power-up.  It was a good balance then, it’s still a good balance now.

 

Another advantage that Charged has over Strikers is online play – and you don’t even need a Friend Code to get a game started!  Just jump into the multiplayer mode and away you go.  Connecting is easy and almost all the 100 online games I have played (so far) were free of lag.  Voice chat is absent so there’s no chance to trash talk.  This increases the Couch Factor – you’ll want to play with friends on the same couch.

 

All of the above adds up to a game that is fun, with enough depth to the action and strategy to keep Mario Strikers Charged in regular rotation, particularly when I need a game to cleanse the palette during and after the 4th Quarter.

 

- Omni

(August 3, 2007)

 

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