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Video Game / Mario Strikers

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The European 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.

Despite being in the Sports Game genre, the games aren't exactly your typical FIFA-style football/soccer'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, Peach, Daisy, Bowser, Donkey Kong ("DK") and Wario 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. 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 (Mario Strikers Charged Football in Europe) 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 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 customized 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.
  • 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.
  • Armour Is Useless: Averted. Charged actually states that since the first game, matches have gotten more dangerous to the point where the armor 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 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. He kicks just as much ass as everyone else but when he scores a goal, he'll sometimes playfully chase his own tail while giggling.
    • Diddy and Bowser Jr. are this to a lesser extent, judging from their victory animations.
    • Some of your sidekicks also qualify too, especially with their celebrations. Ranging from Hammer Bro's playful slide when he scores to Toad breakdancing.
  • Bare Your Midriff: Peach and Daisy's uniforms. Also Waluigi's.
  • Boobs-and-Butt Pose: Daisy's official art for the original game has her making this pose.
  • 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. 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 compared to other Mario titles. The female captains' clothing. The male characters' constant angry scowls. Headbutting players into an electric fence. Mario Strikers Charged was the first game in the Mario franchise to receive an ESRB E10+ and PEGI 7+ rating, 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 game. They're not that interested in trying to look pretty in this game and are much more interested in kicking ass and playing as brutally as everyone else.
    • 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 Super Team 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.
  • 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 campaign in Mario Strikers Charged, the press are very disbelieving that Luigi would actually be able to win something like the Fire Cup. They're a little less condescending in the second cup. Then in the Strikers Cup, they're rooting for him. Just as well.
  • 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. Sometimes they fall off.
  • 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 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:
  • 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.
  • Hotter and Sexier: Peach and Daisy, who wear skimpier outfits here than in any previous game in the franchise.
  • 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".
  • 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.
  • Leaning on the Fourth Wall: Wario hums along with his theme song during his Home entrance.
  • Leitmotif: Each playable character in Charged has one.
  • 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!"
  • 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. Sidekicks in Charged have their own special moves called skillshots.
  • 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, 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 long, shapely and flexible legs are on full display.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Number of the Beast: In Charged, Bowser has 66 as his jersey number, while Bowser Jr. has 6.
  • 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.
  • Promoted to Playable: Bowser between games. In the first one, he just popped into the field randomly.
  • Say My Name: Daisy does this when Wario uses his Gas Mask ability on her.
  • Scenery Gorn: Charged is pretty much 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.
  • 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: A few:
  • Slapstick Knows No Gender: All of the characters, including the princess are prone to levels of abuse, from getting tackled, to set on fire, to getting pushed into an electric fence!
  • Sore Loser:
  • Spoiled Brat: Bowser Jr., of course. Peach debatably has shades of this too, going from her losing animations.
  • Suddenly Voiced: Wario's and Waluigi's dialogue goes a bit beyond the typical Mario character one-liners.
  • 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.
  • Took a Level in Jerkass: More or less the whole cast compared to their classic depictions (even when ignoring the villains). From Peach and Diddy throwing a tantrum when the opposing team scores, Yoshi apparently growling at his opponents, to Daisy stomping over to her teammates for her to obviously take her anger out on them...
  • Unblockable Attack: Again, some of the skillshots are this when used correctly.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Whip It Good: Waluigi's Mega Strike.
  • 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