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access_time June 13, 2021 at 6:19 PM in Features by David Poole

Bring it Back | Mario Strikers

It’s time for another Bring it Back feature, and this one couldn’t have come at a better time. With Mario Golf: Super Rush on the horizon, fans can look forward to seeing Mario hit the links on an HD console for the first time. Of course, while it’s been a long wait, there’s another Mario sports title that hasn’t seen a release for quite some time. With Mario Tennis and Golf getting fairly regular releases, it’s unfortunate that we haven’t seen a new Mario Strikers game. Nintendo and Next Level Games provide plenty of fun in these titles, and we think it’s about time that fun continues on the Nintendo Switch.

The Mario Strikers series started on the Nintendo GameCube with Super Mario Strikers in 2005. As a late GameCube title, it was a surprise to come out of nowhere and garner tons of fans. Originally, the game was going to be a more realistic game, but Nintendo worked with Next Level Games to make it a more arcade style affair. Taking inspiration from games like NHL Hitz Pro (which they developed), Super Mario Strikers delivered a hard-hitting game of soccer. Mario has definitely participated in several different sports, but something about Strikers gave it an identity all its own.

Super Mario Strikers would have players pick a team captain amongst the many iconic characters of the Mario franchise. This would include Mario himself, his brother Luigi, princesses Peach and Daisy, Yoshi, Donkey Kong, Wario, Waluigi, and even an unlockable super robot. Teams would consist of side characters like Toad, Birdo, Koopa Troopa, Hammer Bros., and Donkey Kong’s Kremling Kritters. Each team would have five members, including the captain and goalie (which is always a Kritter). Matches would be short, focusing on the exciting elements of the sport to keep things engaging. It would simply come down to the shots, the spectacle, and of course, the showboating. Super Mario Strikers did incredibly well with showboating.

While the game of soccer itself can often have rough moments, Super Mario Strikers amplifies it to the next level. Adding a tackle mechanic, players would be able to attack opposing teams to take control of the ball. There is no penalty system, but instead, items would be rewarded to players that get tackled while not controlling the ball. You’ll also receive items when making strong goal attempts. These power-ups would work similar to Mario Kart, offering items like banana peels, Koopa shells, mushrooms, and more. While power-ups add quite a bit to the formula, the real impact comes in the form of Super Strikes.

Team captains have the ability to perform Super Strikes, each unique to the captain. Upon charging up the shot, a small reaction timer will appear, allowing the chance to make a powerful goal attempt that is worth two goals. This helps to keep the competition fierce while also adding some Mario style pizazz. Another element that keeps things interesting is Bowser’s role. Instead of being a playable character, Bowser makes appearances by dropping onto the field to wreak havoc for the players. Get in his way and you’re likely to get burned. He only appears for few seconds, but it’s just enough to make things more chaotic. Of course, things would change up a bit when the sequel would come out.

In 2007, the Nintendo Wii was thriving quite a bit, bringing more people to gaming than ever before. Games like Wii Sports were fine for the casual crowds, but the sports audience was getting hungrier for more. Next Level Games answered the call with Mario Strikers Charged, their adrenaline pumped sequel that amps the energy up to 11. Character designs were updated to have a meaner look and the game would add all new gimmicks to the stadiums. Of course, to make the fans happy, all the previous stadiums return for the sequel too. Captains also have new super abilities that they can access when using items. Sidekicks also have new skillshots to make their shots matter too.

One of the major changes for Mario Strikers Charged was the addition of the Mega Strike. This special shot is even more powerful than the Super Strike, allowing captains to potentially make three to six goals. A meter appears to help determine both the amount of balls and the speed at which they come. This leaves the defending goalie to use the Wii Remote to aim and defend the incoming shots. It definitely takes advantage of the Wii’s new gameplay options, but it was still an incredibly fun feature. We even got new captains to work with, including Bowser and Bowser Jr., Diddy Kong, and Petey Piranha. Sidekicks would also get additional support with mixed teams adding Boos, Dry Bones, Monty Mole, and Shy Guy.

The new stadiums really helped to make Mario Strikers Charged a true Mario sports experience. Now that Bowser is playable, he would no longer drop into the game to cause mayhem. Now the game adds environmental elements like tornado storms, lava splashes, mud, and more. If you prefer a more traditional match, you can use stadiums without gimmicks and even turn off the Mega Strike. Either way, Mario Strikers Charged was a huge jump in content with just a couple years time. Many Wii owners remember it fondly, especially with it being one of the earliest online Wii games. However you might feel about the Nintendo Wi-Fi Connection, Strikers Charged ran pretty smoothly.

Mario Strikers has been out of the spotlight for 14 years now, and while Mario has still participated in more traditional versions of the game, fans still clamor for a new Strikers game. With the Nintendo Switch being one of the best selling platforms on the market, it only makes sense to deliver. Fans desire the intense action and the ability to see Mario and friends compete in a game of no rules soccer. This is why we think they need to Bring it Back!

While Next Level Games has been quiet after Luigi’s Mansion 3, we can only assume they’re working on a new title. Earlier this year, Nintendo officially purchased the developer, which likely means gears are turning. With the E3 Nintendo Direct coming up this Tuesday, there’s a good chance we’ll see what the developer is up to. It’s unlikely that we’ll see a new Luigi’s Mansion, and while I want to see a new Punch Out!!, we’re overdue for a Mario Strikers game. No need to remaster the old ones, though if they put the old stadiums in like before, that would be a huge plus. Ideally, we should get a new game with high definition graphics, additional characters like Rosalina, and of course, more Waluigi. The day Nintendo announces a new Mario Strikers game is the day I preorder, and I hope it happens soon.

What do you think? Would you love to see a new Mario Strikers title after all these years? Do you think Mario is better suited to tennis or golf? Let us know in the comments below. Also feel free to stay tuned next week for another edition of Bring it Back. We’ll be taking a retrospective look at yet another Capcom classic. Be there!

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