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Video Game / Mario Strikers

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What, you thought that Mario and the gang playing soccer would be clean, family-friendly fun? THINK AGAIN!! note 

Mario Strikers is a series of Mario football/soccer games developed by Next Level Games. The series is notable for its installments (especially the first two) being Darker and Edgier in tone than the rest of the Super Mario franchise, in large part due to a rougher art style, more violent play, and characters boasting skimpier clothing.

In line with other Mario titles in the Sports Game genre, the games are far more cartoony and arcade-like than the typical FIFA affair. Expect to see characters doing backflips in slow-motion, items being flung everywhere, the ball becoming encased in an egg or metallic Koopa shell, and enough roughhousing (including shoving opponents into electric fences) that you'll be certain that "red cards" don't exist in this version of the sport. To say nothing of the various stadiums you'll find yourself playing in, with hazards ranging from 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, and Battle League outright dropped all pretenses and decided that the characters are playing a football/soccer-adjacent game called "Strike". Either way, gaining points is still your priority, but so is being flashy while you do it. Battle League is also notably the final game where Wario and Waluigi are voiced by Charles Martinet, who stepped down from the role in 2023.

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

Games in the series:

  • Super Mario Strikersnote  (GCN, 2005): The first entry, bringing staple Mario-themed items of varying danger, potency, and size to the playing field. 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 Super Strikes that, when timed right and uninterrupted, can guarantee a goal worth two points instead of one.
  • Mario Strikers Chargednote  (Wii, 2007): Retains nearly all of the features introduced in the precursor, but ups the ante by adding skillshots for sidekicks, 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, and the new, all-powerful Mega Strike 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 Super Strike, the Mega Strike 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.
  • Mario Strikers: Battle Leaguenote  (Nintendo Switch, 2022): Has the same features as Charged but adds the ability to customize characters as well as combining stadiums. It also changes the Mega Strike for the Hyper Strike, which functions similarly to the Super Strike from the original game. With the Hyper Strike, the player must grab an orb that randomly drops on the field and then charge it up. If a goal is made with a Hyper Strike active, the player scores two goals.

There are two main modes found in the trilogy - Cup Battles/Road to the Striker Cup (campaign) and Grudge Match/Domination Mode/Quick Battle (versus). The Cup modes found in the games consists of multiple cups where your teams compete in tournament brackets in order to win the trophy. Domination Mode, like normal versus modes, is a customized match between any two teams of your choice. Super Mario Strikers has a separate versus mode for custom rules, called Custom Battles, it is merged with Domination Mode in the sequels. Charged has an aditional mode called Striker Challenges, which 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. Charged and Battle League also feature online play, with the former having a ranked system while the latter has both non-ranked and ranked play via Strikers Club, which has you gather up over 20 people to form a club to compete in division rankings across seasons to gain currency in order to customize more parts of the club.

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

Mario Strikers contains examples of:

  • Acrofatic: Wario is a short overweight man who 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.
  • Adaptational Modesty: The first two games have Peach and Daisy in skin-tight sports outfits. The third game does away with that, as the female characters wear less revealing soccer attire.
  • Agony of the Feet: Bowser Jr. stubs his toe on the edge of the goal when he tries to kick it in frustration.
  • American Kirby Is Hardcore: Surprisingly inverted, the US and Korean boxart for Charged both lack the murderous diving Bowser present on the other regions' boxarts.
  • Artistic License – Sports: Certain characters freely use their hands to hold or throw the ball around despite this being based on soccer, where only the goalkeeper is allowed to do so during play. Also, there are no such things as fouls here, so characters are free to lay the hurt if they feel like it. And the use of items and electric fences goes without saying.
  • Ascended Extra: Toad, Shy Guy, and Birdo go from being sidekicks in the first two games to major playable characters in Battle League. Likewise, Bowser went from an occasional stage hazard in the first game to a major playable character in Charged onwards.
  • Ass Kicking Pose: Upon performing a Strike in all three games, the characters will strike a pose before unleashing hell on the enemy goalie.
  • Ass Kicks You:
    • Wario's deke in Charged takes the form of a Ground Pound, aptly named the Butt Smash. He also uses this in his Hyper Strike and in some shooting animations in Battle League.
    • Daisy in Battle League employs a butt bump to juggle the ball as part of her Hyper Strike.
  • Bad Boss:
    • Some of the captains take out their frustration on their teammates if the opposing team scores too much. Examples range from Peach and Diddy throwing a temper tantrum to Bowser setting his team on fire to Petey devouring another player.
    • Wario scores extra points by abusing his team while winning. One of his goal cutscenes involves his sidekicks tossing him in celebration, messing up catching him and getting crushed, only for him to start smacking them and demanding...
  • Badass Adorable: Yoshi kicks just as much ass as everyone else, but when he scores a goal, he'll sometimes playfully chase his own tail while giggling.
  • Bare Midriffs Are Feminine: In the first two games, Peach and Daisy wear midriff-baring sports outfits, whereas the male characters wear full shirts.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Daisy's official art for the original game has her making this pose.
  • Bowdlerize: As of Battle League, the female characters no longer bare their midriffs, dressing far more conservatively compared to the first two games.
  • Camera Abuse: Donkey Kong and Waluigi do this. Subverted by Bowser Jr., who tries and fails. 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, all of them based on 4 different stats (Movement, Passing, Shooting and Tackling). 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).
    • Battle League changes things around by splitting Playmakers into Speed and Technique characters, with Balanced being renamed to All-Rounder. There are now 5 stats (Speed, Technique, Passing, Shooting and Strength, the latter now including Tackling adeptness and resistance).
  • Chuck Cunningham Syndrome: Kritters don’t return as the goalies in Battle League, being replaced by Boom Booms. Petey Piranha and the Super Team also don't return as playable characters in the base roster, and with the exception of Toad, Shy Guy, and Birdo, none of the sidekick characters from the two previous games return either. Daisy, Shy Guy, Diddy Kong, Bowser Jr., and Birdo were also absent from the roster at launch, but the former two were later added via the game's first free content update, the second was announced as part of the second free update alongside Pauline, and the latter two were part of the third free update.
  • Color-Coded Characters:
    • The first two games had each character tied to a specific color. In Charged, every captain except Mario (red), Luigi (green), Wario (yellow), Waluigi (purple), and Peach (Pink) has a secondary color if their primary color has been claimed by their opponent.
    • For Battle League, players can choose two colors, with the active color being based around which side of the field the team is playing on. The left side having red, pink, orange, yellow, and green, and the right side having grey, blue, cyan, purple, and lavender.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • The gritty art style compared to other Mario titles, the female captains' clothing, the characters' constant angry scowls, the ability to headbutt players into an electric fence, and other major departures from the standard Mario formula made Charged the first game in the Mario franchise to receive an ESRB E10+ and PEGI 7+ ratingnote , as opposed to the E and 3+ rating that most of the games have. Granted, the series does so in a very tongue-in-cheek manner, as the game takes itself as seriously as any other Mario spinoff (which is to say, not at all).
    • Peach and Daisy all the way in this series. They're not that interested in trying to look pretty, happy and cute in this game and are much more interested in kicking ass and playing as brutally as the guys. Ditto Rosalina, Pauline and Birdo.
    • In-series, Charged is this for the original game which, while gimmicky, was still a rather straightforward depiction of soccer. Charged, however, took the main format of soccer and improved upon it in various ways while maintaining the original's gritty aesthetic.
  • Death Glare:
    • Luigi does this here, combined with Twitchy Eye.
    • Daisy does this to her teammates when a goal is scored against her. It's enough to make them quiver and hold each other in fear.
    • DK's Mega Strike has him doing this. He appears to be trying to kill the ball with eye hatred.
    • Rosalina has this as one of her losing animations in Battle League, coupled with Tranquil Fury.
  • Demoted to Extra: The Super Team robots from the first game are reduced to this in Charged. One appears as a janitor while the credits roll.
    • As of the December 2022 update, Boo, Dry Bones, Hammer Bro, Koopa Troopa, Monty Mole, and Petey Piranha are not playable in Battle League after having been playable (either as a captain or a sidekick) in Charged (as well as Super for Hammer Bro, and Koopa Troopa).
  • Divergent Character Evolution: In the first game and Charged, characters within a same class tended to share the same general stats, with stuff like special shots and abilities being the only things that truly discerned them during gameplay. Battle League, however, gives every character their own unique stats, meaning every character will perform differently from the rest even if they happen to belong to the same class.
  • Does This Remind You of Anything?: Wario seems a little too... pleased when he's being shocked by a fence.
  • Driven to Suicide: If Wario gets scored on, one of his animations has him blow himself up with a Bob-omb.
    Wario: "I give up..."
  • Dude, Where's My Respect?: At the beginning of the single-player campaign for Luigi in Mario Strikers Charged, the press are very disbelieving that he would actually be able to win something like the Fire Cup. They're a little less condescending in the Crystal Cup. Then in the Strikers Cup, they're rooting for him.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness: Super Mario Strikers has a few for the series.
    • Stages and Characters lacked unique themes that would become a mainstay starting with Charged, which becomes especially apparent as no background music is used in the stages.
    • Bowser is not playable, instead appearing as a stage hazard while generic robots called the Super Team take his place.
    • The Soccer Balls used in the game also differ, being more traditional ones as opposed to the series' usual electronic balls. The traditional Soccer Balls, however, are used as items in the Super Smash Bros. series.
  • Easter Egg: If both teams pick the same stadium in Battle League, unique music will play during the match.
  • Elemental Powers: In Charged and Battle League, almost every Mega and Hyper Strike is associated with a specific element.
  • Even the Girls Want Her: If you manage to score with Peach's Hyper Strike in Battle League, all the players on the opposing team will be infatuated. Even Daisy, Rosalina, Pauline, Birdo and Peach herself if she's also on the other team.
  • 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. Averted in Battle League, where the playable Shy Guy's mask now stays in its default expression.
  • Fartillery: Wario's "Gas Mask" technique.
  • 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 in Charged 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.
    • Battle League got one of its own in the July 21st, 2022 update, known as the "Death Lob" by the community, where if you perform a free lob pass above Boom Boom and then quickly dash, Boom Boom's AI won't recognize the ball and it'll go in every time. Fortunately, a patch of the game released on August 15th, 2022, fixing this glitch.
  • Genre Motif: Each captain has one in both Charged and Battle League:
  • Glowing Eyes of Doom: Most of the captains' eyes glow menacingly when they perform a Mega Strike.
  • Gratuitous Italian: Luigi does this during one of his winning animations in the first two games.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Peach and Daisy fall under this trope in the first two games, wearing skimpier outfits there than in any previous game in the franchise. The third game averts this, with the female characters having far less revealing outfits.
  • 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.
  • Interface Spoiler: In the first game, at the end of the Bowser Cup play-offs segment, one might notice that the message giving the results says, "[Player] has defeated [Opponent]" instead of, "[Player] has won the Bowser Cup". This quickly clues the player in that there is another opponent before they can take the trophy.
  • Jack of All Stats:
    • Mario and Yoshi are Balanced characters who don't excel or underperform in any role. Luigi joins their ranks in Charged.
    • Battle League initially averted this by making both Mario brothers technical players instead, while Yoshi is repurposed into an offensive player, with no actual Balanced category. However, as of the July 21, 2022 update which added him as a playable character, Shy Guy is now this.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Wario hums along with his theme song during his Home entrance in Charged.
  • Leitmotif: Each playable character in Charged has their own theme, which is heard during their intro and when some of them activate their special items. Battle League also has this feature, although all of them go for a rock sound.
  • Let's Fight Like Gentlemen: Considering that the matches can be more dangerous than say, war, Luigi still acts pretty gentlemanly on the pitch, neither growling at his opponents nor berating his teammates in any way if the other team have scored a few goals. He'll even give them credit occasionally saying "Thank you! Thank you so much! Aha!"
  • Lighter and Softer: Battle League tones down the over-the-top Darker and Edgier tone the series is so known for, which is reflected in both the art style and the character animations.
  • Limit Break: Captains in both games have a special move called a Super Strike in Super and a Mega Strike in Charged. Sidekicks in Charged also have their own special moves called skillshots.
  • Made of Iron: Everyone involved in the series is much more formidable than normal, but special mention goes to Kritter, who doesn't let having his hands set on fire stop him from punching out anyone who gets too close to the goal.
  • Make Me Wanna Shout: Bowser Jr.'s Mega Strike consists of him unleashing a bloodcurdling supersonic scream at the ball.
  • Market-Based Title: Primarily to account for the classic Football/Soccer divide, all of the games have a different title in European and Australian languages:
    • Super Mario Strikers becomes Mario Smash Football.
    • Mario Strikers Charged becomes Mario Strikers Charged Football, and similarly, Mario Strikers: Battle League is Mario Strikers: Battle League Football.
  • 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 version of the Merry-Go-Round theme from Super Mario 64.
  • Ms. Fanservice: Both Peach and Daisy wear Stripperific sports bras in the first two games, as well as each sporting a pair of hot pants that may as well be painted on for how skin-tight they are. In fact, because they're wearing sports uniforms rather than ballgowns, their legs are on full display.
    • Charged makes it a point to show off the goods too, as both princesses have goal animations where their butt is front and center the whole time. And the girls seem to love indulging the viewers.
    • Averted big time in the third game, where all of the female characters wear much more standard soccer uniforms that are far less revealing.
  • Nerf: In the first game, specials essentially meant you got a free 2 points as soon as your captain crosses half of the field as long as you were good at nailing the Action Commands. Charged made them harder to pull off with a longer wind-up time, and blockable with enough skill from the opposing player... but on the other hand they now let you score way more than 2 points. Battle League goes even further into nerfing the mechanic by triggering it only through a special item, having the Boom-Boom goalie be capable of intercepting imperfect shots through Button Mashing and the maximum score obtainable is back to only 2 points.
  • No Plot? No Problem!: On par with most Mario sports entries, there is no explanation for why and how the Mushroom Kingdom takes on a Darker and Edgier appearance in the first two games, and it's ambiguous as to whether or not the games take place in an Else World or other possible interpretations the player could have.
  • Non-Standard Character Design: One of the objects that can slap away players in Thudnder Island is a cow that is designed like a real one, looking nothing like other cows we see in the series like in Mario Kart where they look more cartoony.
  • 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.
  • Number of the Beast: In Charged, Bowser has 66 as his jersey number, while Bowser Jr. has 6.
  • Ocular Gushers: If the opposing team scores a goal in Battle League, Yoshi will cry these.
  • One-Winged Angel: Everyone in Charged adopts a powerful form in their Mega Strike, mostly with Glowing Eyes.
    • Mega Fire: Mario turns a fiery orange-black color carrying the power of fire and the sun.
    • Green Typhoon: Luigi starts glowing with green electrical energy and can wield the power of electromagnetism.
    • Princess Kiss: Peach sprouts wings and a halo-like crown.
    • Crystal Smash: Daisy turns a teal/black shade with very prominent glowing eyes, and can control crystals to cover her fist.
    • Hyper Breath: Yoshi's head turns red and he turns into Winged Yoshi, gaining the ability to vacuum tremendous amounts of air.
    • Balloon Burst: Wario can inhale so much air that his body explodes like a bomb. And he survives.
    • Purple Spike: Waluigi's body glows purple as he controls a vortex of thorny bristles behind him, and uses one such thorny vine as a whip.
    • Thunder Blast: Donkey Kong's fur turns dark blue as his hands glow with lightning.
    • Heat Cannon: Bowser's body turns dark red/black, his hair turns to fire, his eyes glow yellow-white, his metal claws extend, and his back spikes grow out.
    • Sonic Scream: Bowser Jr.'s skin turns green and his wristbands glow as his head expands as his power to scream skyrockets.
    • Solar Aura: Diddy's fur turns orange and there's a gentle sun-like glow behind him as he focuses his psychic power.
    • Plant Power: Petey Piranha controls a flower to grow immensely.
  • 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 Piranha'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 Striker Cup match against Petey in Charged.
  • Post-Stress Overeating: If the opposing team scores a goal in Battle League, Donkey Kong will angrily sit down and eat a banana, glaring and baring his teeth the whole time.
  • Pun: Waluigi's signature power-up causes him to create a tangled, purple wall behind him as he moves. It's called "Wall-Luigi".
  • Punny Name: Futbot, the guide for the tutorials in Battle League.
  • Purposely Overpowered: In the first game, the team fielder structure is a captain with good stats and a Super Stike, and three sidekicks with average stats and only standard shots. The Super Team bicycle kick this out the window and have all four fielders count as a captain, meaning any of them can launch a Super Strike and all of them have the higher stats that come from the captain designation.
  • Promoted to Playable: Bowser became playable staring with the second game. In the first one, he just popped into the field randomly to cause chaos.
  • Rump Roast: Getting hit by Mario's Hyper Strike in Battle League will cause Wario, DK and Daisy to run or in Daisy's case, frantically hop around the field, with their butts on fire. Boom Boom also suffers this, when he fails to block said Hyper Strike.
  • Say My Name: Daisy yells Wario's name in disgust if he uses his Gas Mask ability on her.
  • Scenery Gorn: Charged is pretty much set in a post-apocalyptic Mushroom Kingdom, where in the grim darkness of the future, there is only football.
  • Scenery Porn: Charged has some very cool-looking stadiums.
  • Screw the Rules, I Have Supernatural Powers!: Some of the Strikes violate usual soccer rules. Bowser's moves in both Charged and Battle League outright having him grab and throw the ball at the goal, one of the biggest and most known restricted actions in soccer. A few characters also throw the ball up into the air, but the actual Strike usually isn't hand contact. Even then, only a few characters in Charged actually kick the ball. Battle League loosens up on this, but even then, less than half of the roster kicks the ball.
  • Serious Business: Association Football (AKA Soccer) 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). Even the spectators aren't safe from the fence in the opening movie.
  • Shout-Out:
  • Slapstick: All of the characters, including Peach, Daisy, and Rosalina, are prone to huge levels of abuse, from getting tackled, to set on fire, to getting pushed into an electric fence!
  • Sore Loser:
  • Suddenly Voiced: Several characters' dialogue, specifically Wario's and Waluigi's, goes a bit beyond the typical Mario character one-liners.
  • Suspiciously Similar Substitute: The Kritter goalies from the first two games get replaced by Boom-Booms in Battle League, but otherwise there's no significant difference in functionality.
  • Tamer and Chaster: The female designs in Battle League no longer show off the characters' midriffs.
  • Teleporters and Transporters: A few characters such as Daisy and Dry Bones can teleport as their dodge move.
  • There Is No Kill Like Overkill: Bowser's dangerously sharp metal claws seem a little... unnecessary for use in a game where you can't touch the ball with your hands.
  • Toilet Humor: Wario's Gas Mask ability in Charged, which creates a cloud of stinky gas. Most of the humor comes from the other characters' reactions should they walk into the cloud.
  • Took a Level in Badass: Kritters and Boom Booms went from common mooks and minibosses, respectively, to powerful goalies who can painfully send players across the field even when they are empowered by Super Stars.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: More or less the whole cast compared to their classic depictions (even when ignoring the villains) is subjected to this in Charged. From Peach and Diddy throwing a tantrum when the opposing team scores, to Yoshi apparently growling at his opponents, to Daisy stomping over to her teammates for her to obviously take her anger out on them. The only real exceptions are Mario, who quickly regains his composure, and Luigi, whose worst act is basically a Death Glare. Even then, Yoshi only gets mad at his opponents, not his teammates, like the bros.
  • Three-Point Landing: Several characters do this doing their entrances in Charged and Battle Leaue.
  • Two Girls to a Team: Not counting the Birdos that can appear as sidekicks during matches, Peach and Daisy are the only female playable characters in the first two games. The third game was the same at launch, with Peach and Rosalina being the only two female characters in the roster, but this would later become averted when Daisy was announced as part of the first update pack. In addition, Pauline was announced as part of the second update pack while Birdo was promoted to a captain in the third update pack.
  • Unblockable Attack:
    • Hammer Bro's Skillshot unleashes a flurry of hammers at the goalie. If one of the hammer hits the goalie, it's most likely going to be a score.
    • Birdo's Skillshot encases the ball in an egg, which flies through the goalkeeper for a guaranteed goal, unless someone else gets in the way.
    • The Hyper Strikes in Battle League can ordinarily be blocked by the Boom Boom goalie. But if the player initiating the Hyper Strike can land the gauge in the blue zones on each run, then the goalie's boned. The ball will simply blow straight past them.
  • Unstoppable Rage: Daisy and DK go into this when they get scored against, with Daisy stomping angrily towards her teammates and DK sending them flying with an earthquake.
  • Victory Pose: Obviously, this is used after characters win a match or score a goal.
  • Vocal Evolution: Charged is the first game in the series to feature Samantha Kelly and Caety Sagoian as Peach and Bowser Jr. respectively. Both have remained in the roles ever since. Additionally, Kenny James makes his debut as Bowser in the original game, but wouldn't take on the role permanently until Super Mario Galaxy.
  • World of Ham: Apparently, competition makes characters from the Mario universe over the top and crazy. Special mentions go to Wario, Waluigi, and Daisy.

Alternative Title(s): Mario Strikers Charged, Super Mario Strikers, Mario Strikers Battle League