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Volume 71, Issue 77, Friday, January 27, 2006

Life & Arts

'Strikers' offers scores of fun

Game entertains the most when difficulty level is increased

The Daily Cougar

If there is one thing every gamer can never get enough of, it's little, cute cartoons beating the tar out of each other; and in the latest Nintendo sports game, Super Mario Strikers, there is plenty of cutesy carnage to go around.

Anyone who has played a ‘Mario game' knows what to expect. For those who haven't, Strikers is pretty much all your favorite Super Mario characters annihilating each other while playing soccer. Really, at its core, Super Mario Strikers is a simplified soccer game with a few unrealistic elements thrown into the pot for good measure. However, simple is not a bad thing in this game. 

If you've never played a soccer game before, the mechanics work like this: One button changes the character and passes the ball; one shoots and steals the ball. Nintendo takes that formula and adds its own flavor into the mix. Now, your normal soccer players can destroy each other with exploding turtle shells, bombs and giant chain-and-ball monsters, all wreaking havoc while the players are trying to score a goal. And it feels so good body-checking Princess Peach into an electrified fence. Yes, the sidelines are electrified, and Peach can be a real you-know-what in this game. Bowser randomly decides to attack the field for no apparent reason other than to annoy you.

Also, the team captains are usually familiar characters from the Mushroom Kingdom, and all team captains have the uncanny power to light the ball on fire with their feet in the form of a super strike kick; hence, the name of the game. They also all have different strengths and weaknesses, and when coupled with different teammates, gamers can make all sorts of interesting teams.

There are many game modes to play through and several unlockables. It wouldn't have hurt to have a few more features to unlock, however. The secret content consists mainly of some new fields and an unlockable team. As far as the single-player mode is concerned, the player wants to unlock everything in the game, so Nintendo could have thrown in some more to see. Once you unlock everything, this game becomes a party game only, as no one will be picking it up just to play a couple of matches.

Speaking of party games, this is a great one when you have two or three friends over. You will find yourself yelling at the TV more than you do when watching real sports. In fact, the multiplayer mode totally redeems the lacking single player. If you have hands, you will probably enjoy the multiplayer with friends. Crank up the difficulty level and you will find that you have plugged the Gamecube into the oven out of anger. The game is ridiculously easy on its easiest setting but ungodly and amazingly difficult on any other setting. This is the first Mario game that could make a grown man cry -- it's that hard on the right settings.

Graphics are good but a little low quality for a Mario game; usually they are a lot crisper, but some of the textures look muddled. Weather effects would have been nice, but that's just getting picky. Sound is good, as it adds just the right amount of suspense to the game when needed.

It seems like this one could have used a little more development; it is a little rushed. However, Nintendo lucked out, as this game is entertaining and fun. The sequel will probably be what the first one should have been, but if you're looking for a quick way to entertain your friends or kids, pick this one up.

Super Mario Strikers

Rated: Not yet rated, but Princess Peach shakes her booty 
if she scores three goals in a row.


Verdict: Gooooooooooooooooaaal!!!

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