Strikers delivers everything you can expect from a Mario spin off
The Good: Pick up and play gameplay - Fantastic multiplayer - Arcade football at it's best
The Bad: Boring Single player - Not enough characters - Things get a little too hectic at times
Mario sports games have always been excellent, ever since the N64 days with Mario Golf and Mario Tennis. And the original Mario Strikers is not an exception, taking the world's most famous sport to the Mario universe with extremely good results.
Taking cues from previous Mario Sports games like Mario Baseball and Mario Power Tennis developer Next Level Games gave this one a classic Mario twist. The objective still is beating your opponent by scoring goals, but you'll be using several items (bananas, red shells, etc) to do so and of course many special skills trademark of each character.
Unlike real football Mario Strikers is a five-on-five game. The first thing to do before starting a match is choosing a team, which consist of a captain, a goalkeeper and three sidekids. Captains can do super strikes, which are a more powerful version of the normal shots and are unstoppable, these give you two goals instead of one. That's pretty much all you'll see in the game, the gameplay is pretty basic.
Game modes are lacking, you get Cup, Super cup (which is a harder version of the normal cup), Grudge Match and Strikers 101. The single player game is nothing worth mention, it's really boring to play this game by yourself since you don't get to do stuff you could in normal football games like upgrade your team and such. The real fun comes in the multiplayer but more on that later.
The stadiums don't affect gameplay and only feature different surfaces. There's an electric fence that prevents the ball from leaving the field, so there are no outs. There aren't any fouls either, so you can smash your opponent as many times as you like.
The multiplayer component of the game is by far it's best feature, playing with your friends really make it worthy of buying. The matches can get hectic at times, since you and your opponent will be smashing and throwing items at each other while trying to score a goal. Sometimes Bowser comes out of nowhere and starts creating havoc, making the game even more hectic. You can also create tournaments for up to eight people, making the multiplayer experience even better.
The visuals in Mario strikers are far from impressive, they are not as colorful as, say, Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour, everything is more grey and the characters don't have their classic clothes, but at least they get the job done. The audio is quite good too, though the music can get repetitive I really enjoyed some of the tunes.
As you've probably figured by now the game is far from being a sim and that makes it a disappointment if you're expecting a Fifa Street – like experience, what this game does however is bringing the sport to an arcade style that makes it a really fast paced game, which is fun to play with friends and that in my opinion is better than it's sequel and one of the best multiplayer experiences on the Gamecube