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Another Fun Mario Sports Game - Mario Strikers Charged Review
Mario Strikers Charged on the Nintendo Wii is the follow-up to the GameCube title Super Mario Strikers. Like its predecessor, Charged features arcade soccer gameplay. While the first game was a lot closer to real soccer, though, Charged features frantic gameplay that hardly ever resembles soccer. Still, the game is not without its merits, and Wii owners who check the game out will find yet another compelling Mario sports title.
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Mario Strikers Charged features many soccer fundamentals such as passing, lobbing, shooting, and scoring, but other than that, this is far from being a traditional arcade soccer game. This is due to the fact that Nintendo and Next Level Games threw in a bunch of Mario-esque features into the game.
Power-ups can be used throughout matches, and you’ll see familiar favorites such as Koopa Shells, Chain Chomps, Mushrooms, and other such items. Each captain also has a unique special item. Yoshi, for example, turns into a large egg which can crush anyone in its path while Wario will let his intestinal gases loose and disorient anyone who dares pass through the flatulent cloud. These items add a fun twist to the game and fit right in with the Mario universe.
Stages also have certain features and hazards that directly affect gameplay. One stage features windy conditions that send tractors, cows, and other debris onto the field, and being struck by these objects will knock you right off the map. Another field that’s placed on a sea of lava has chunks of molten magma flying onto the stage, thus resulting in players having to play a bit strategically to avoid being hit and maneuvering around the molten rock.
One big change to the formula set by the game’s predecessor regards your captain’s sidekicks. Characters such as Mario, Diddy Kong, and Daisy can all be picked as team captains, but this time the sidekick characters all function differently. One example is Monty Mole, who is a pretty slow character but features a confusing deke move where he burrows underground for a second before coming back to the surface and knocking out anyone near the area. There are a variety of different sidekicks to choose from, with some focusing on defense, others on shooting ability, others on speed, and so on.
Charged includes cup and exhibition modes, with the game’s championship mode featuring unlockables and increasingly difficult opponents, and exhibition offering gamers a chance to practice or get some free play going alone or with friends. One of the game’s biggest draws, however, would have to be the game’s online multiplayer mode. Here you can play against friends or be matched up randomly with someone of similar skill level. The game’s online mode is definitely engrossing, and there are rarely ever any lag or connection issues, so the mode is as solid as they come for the most part.
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Graphics and Sound
Visually, Mario Strikers Charged is a slight step up from the first game. The color palette is more assorted, everything is slightly smoother, and lighting effects are more impressive. Still, it’s hard to shake the feeling that Nintendo and Next Level Games could have done a better job in regards to the game’s visuals. To be honest, the graphics in Charged are in no way bad, but they could have been better.
The game’s sound is fairly decent as well. You’ll hear themes for each field, none of which are especially impressive, but they get the job done. Characters have a number of groans, grunts, and catchphrases that they utter, and there’s some real Mario charm in terms of the lines they speak. You’ll hear what you’ve come to expect from characters like Donkey Kong, Luigi, and Yoshi, and the added character sounds and dialogue add to the game’s appeal.
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There’s a lot to do in Mario Strikers Charged. The game’s cup mode is lengthy, and the level of difficulty quickly rises and will keep you engaged. You’ll have to practice and keep up with the computer-controlled AI, which at times will be punishing. There are some achievement-like challenges thrown into the game, and you’ll have to meet these requirements with specific characters. These are a nice distraction, and they can be tough, so be prepared to stay busy with these challenges for a while.
The game’s unlockables also do a good job of adding to the overall package, and the same can be said about the online multiplayer mode. It’s not the deepest online mode, but it’s enough to keep you busy for a long time. You’ll want to improve more and more and increase your rank to face the toughest competitors online, and doing so will take hours upon hours of your time.
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Mario Strikers Charged Overall Rating
Mario Strikers Charged isn’t an award-worthy game. Some gamers might even miss the first game’s arcade soccer feel. Still, there’s a fairly good package here. Charged offers engaging gameplay, plenty of replay value, and an addictive online component. Wii owners looking for a good game to take online need look no further than Mario Strikers Charged.