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Video Game: Mario Strikers
The EU box art for Mario Strikers Charged.

Mario Strikers is a series of football/soccer games developed by Next Level Games, consisting of two titles - Super Mario Strikers (GCN, 2005), and Mario Strikers Charged (Wii, 2007). Often viewed as the Darker and Edgier part of the Mario franchise - partially due to their more "rough" art style and skimpier clothing - both games were nonetheless well received by critics and fans, although Mario Strikers Charged is by far the most popular in the series.

Despite being in the Sports Game genre, the games aren't exactly your typical FIFA-style football/soccer game...it's quite common to see characters doing backflips in slow-motion, items being flung everywhere, the ball becoming encased in an egg or metallic koopa shell, characters being electrocuted by an electric fence and...headbutting. Matches can be held at some stadiums with bolts of lightning casually electrocuting the players, fireballs burning them or Thwomps crushing them. Indeed, Nintendo Power's review of the games described them to be less of a soccer game and more of a soccer-themed obstacle course. Gaining points is still your priority, but so is being flashy while you do it.

As part of the Mario franchise, the series has the usual cast of characters like Mario, Luigi, Bowser, Donkey Kong ("DK") and Peach as playable captains, whereas other characters such as Birdo and Toad can be recruited as "sidekicks".

Super Mario Strikers (Mario Smash Football in Europe) brings staple Mario-themed items of varying danger, potency, and size to the playing field, with additional captain-specific items ranging from Mario and Luigi's gargantuan growth, to Peach's camera flash freeze, to DK's Ground-Shattering Landing, aptly represented by the disembodied head of your captain. Body-checking enemies into the electric fence is actively encouraged (though doing so recklessly will award enemies a retaliatory item) and captains may perform high-flying Superstrikes that, when timed right and uninterrupted, can guarantee a goal worth two points instead of one.

Mario Strikers Charged retains nearly all of the features introduced in the prequel, but ups the ante by adding skillshots for sidekicks and the new, all-powerful Megastrike for captains. For example, if Koopa charges the ball for long enough, he can release a metallic koopa shell that dazes Kritter, creating a much easier scoring opportunity. For captains, unlike the previous Superstrike, the Megastrike is a new move that fires off 3-6 balls at the opponent's goalie which, depending on how many balls are saved, can score anything between zero and six goals.

There are four main modes - Road to the Striker Cup (campaign), Domination Mode (versus), Striker Challenges (missions) and Wi-Fi. Road to the Striker Cup consists of three cups: the Fire Cup, Crystal Cup and Striker Cup, with varying difficulty. Teams are first pitted against each other in a group stage, then the best teams are promoted to a knockout stage, and finally the winning team gets a shot at winning the trophy by playing the current champion in a best of 3 matches. Domination Mode, like normal versus modes, is a customised match between any two teams of your choice. Striker Challenges consists of 12 different missions (one for each captain) where you and possibly your opponent will be handicapped in some way, and will have to win the game based on certain criteria. Wi-Fi is simply a match against another human player somewhere across the world, and has a rating system similar to Nintendo's other Wi-Fi modes.

But be warned - this game can be, and will be, Nintendo Hard. The skill of the later AI difficulty levels (4 and 5) is near-perfect, and they will pull off some of the most ridiculous shots possible to win a game however they can. The game thankfully avoids Fake Difficulty, but the skill of the AI sometimes beggars belief.


Mario Strikers contains examples of:

  • Acrofatic: Wario can do backflips. Or more specifically, Wario can backflip kick a ball in mid-air at insane speed into the back of the net.
    • He can also do the splits.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Inverted, the US boxart lacks murderous diving Bowser.
  • Armour Is Useless: Averted. The game actually states that since the first game, matches have gotten to the point where the armour is required.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: The Home and Away entrances.
    • The mega strikes have a brief pose before unleashing hell on the enemy goalie
  • Bad Boss: Some of the captains take out their frustration on their teammates if the opposing team scores too much. Examples range from Peach throwing a temper tantrum to Bowser setting his team on fire!
  • Badass Princess: Daisy and even Peach are pretty Badass when they're out on the field.
  • Camera Abuse: Donkey Kong and Waluigi do this.
    • Inverted by Peach who abuses her opponents with the cameras
  • Character Class System: There are five separate "classes" for each captain and sidekick - Playmaker, Defensive, Balanced, Offensive and Power. For example, Bowser, a power character, is incredibly slow and poor at passing, but is great at tackling and amazing at shooting. Peach, a playmaker character, is the exact opposite.
    • Generally, Playmakers are the foils of Power characters, and obviously Offensive characters are the foils of Defensive characters (poor speed and tackling but great passing and shooting, and vice versa respectively).
  • Darker and Edgier: The art style. The female captains' clothing. The male characters' constant angry scowls. Headbutting players into an electric fence. Mario Strikers Charged is the only game in the Mario franchise to receive a 7+ rating. Sure, it's still not 18+ or even 13+ but hey, this is Mario we're talking about.
    • In-series, Charged for the original game. The latter, while gimmicky, was still a rather straightforward depiction of soccer. Charged, however, took the rules and turned them on their heads so hard it can be pretty ludicrous.
  • Death Glare: Luigi does this here, combined with Twitchy Eye.
    • Daisy when a goal is scored against her.
    • DK's Mega Strike. He appears to be trying to kill the ball with eye-hatred.
  • Demoted to Extra: The robots from the first game. One appears as a janitor while the credits roll.
  • Difficulty Spike: See Nintendo Hard below.
    • On a less extreme note the matches to unlock Bowser Jr and Diddy Kong are a sudden step up from the other matches in that tournament
  • Elemental Powers: In Charged, most every Mega Strike is associated with a specific element.
  • Expressive Mask: Shy Guys have very expressive masks, rarely seen in the Mario series. It's to the point that one would think the masks were their real faces.
  • Fartillery: Wario.
  • Farts on Fire: As an Easter Egg, using Bowser's Fire Storm on Wario's Gas Mask results in this.
  • Game-Breaking Bug: There is a glitch which causes the ball to go through the opponent's goalie if a Boo charges the ball then disappears into his goalie, prompting Boo's goalie to pick the ball up and pass it normally. The other goalie will be unable to block the ball in any capacity. Some online players will opt to score goals solely through this glitch.
  • Genre Motif: Each captain has one:
  • Getting Crap Past the Radar: Waluigi's crotch chop.
    • Should Wario get scored on, one of his animations actually has him attempting suicide by Bob-omb.
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Many of the captains get these when they do a Mega Strike (Petey is an exception because he has none).
  • Gratuitous Italian: Luigi does this in the sequel.
  • Improbable Aiming Skills: Every shot taken is always on-target; the only thing stopping it from going in is Kritter. Also, some of the skillshots introduced in Mario Strikers Charged are guaranteed goals when used correctly.
  • Incredibly Lame Pun: Waluigi's signature power-up causes him to create a tangled, purple wall behind him as he moves. It's called "Wall-Luigi".
  • Leitmotif: Each playable character in Charged has one.
  • Limit Break: Captains in both games have a special move called a Super Strike in Super Mario Strikers and a Mega Strike in Mario Strikers Charged.
    • The better your opponents do the more pissed off your captains get and the more likely they are to pull out their unique powers
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Wario hums along with his theme song during his Home entrance.
  • Made of Iron: everyone involved but special mention goes to Kritter who doesn't let having his hands set on fire stop him from punching out anyone coming into the box.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Bowser Jr.'s Mega Strike and unique power
  • Mundane Made Awesome: The series takes both soccer and Mario and makes it over-the-top Darker and Edgier and awesome.
  • Musical Nod: Boo's theme is a remixed Merry-Go-Round from Super Mario 64.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both Peach and Daisy wear Stripperific sports bras in this game.
  • Nintendo Hard: In Mario Strikers Charged, just wait until you reach the striker cup. Then wait until you reach the knockout stage. Then attempt Yoshi's, Bowser Jr.'s or Diddy Kong's challenges. Most of the game is actually pretty easy, but the Difficulty Spike you have to overcome to reach 100% completion is absolutely insane.
  • Not Cheating Unless You Get Caught: There are no rules about what you can and can't do but if you attack an enemy who doesn't have the ball (launching a skill shot at them doesn't count) their team gets a power up... unless they already have two in which feel free to bash their heads in.
  • Opposing Sports Team: Any AI opponent you face on high difficulties, but special mention goes to the teams you face in the Striker Cup Knockout (Elimination) rounds and Petey Pirahna's team in the final in Charged. They play above the 5 (megastriker) skill level, at an otherwise unseen 6th level of difficulty.
  • Perfect Play A.I.: It is truly jaw-dropping to see just how skillful the AI can get, particularly in the final Stiker Cup match against Petey
  • Promoted to Playable: Bowser between games. In the first one, he just popped into the field randomly.
  • Scenery Porn: Charged has some cool-looking stadiums.
    • Scenery Gorn: It's also pretty much a post-apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom, where in the grim darkness of the future, there is only football.
  • Serious Business: The Beautiful Game is taken very seriously in the Mushroom Kingdom.
  • Shock and Awe: Every stage is surrounded by an electric fence (bar the training room and thunder island which doesn't have a fence) and Dry Bones skill shot electrifies the ball (and whoever it touches)
  • Shout-Out: Bowser imitates Mr. Burns if he scores.
  • Unblockable Attack: Again, some of the skillshots are this when used correctly.
  • Victory Pose: Obviously, this is used after characters win a match.
  • Whip It Good: Waluigi's Mega Strike.
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alternative title(s): Mario Strikers Charged; Super Mario Strikers; Mario Strikers; Mario Strikers Charged; Super Mario Strikers
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