|System: Wii||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: Next Level Games||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: Nintendo||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 30, 2007||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1-4||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Amanda L. Kondolojy
May 30, 2007 - A long, long time ago, back in the last generation of gaming, there was a well received but largely forgotten game that involved two of the gaming worlds' favorite things: Sports and Mario. The original Mario Strikers game for the GameCube was like a combination of Super Smash Bros. and Soccer. In fact, I always thought it should have been called Super Smash Soccer, but that was just me. Well this old favorite is finally receiving a Wii update, and since it is already available in the UK, we've got all the information you need before Mario Strikers: Charged is released in the US at the end of July.
The game will largely resemble its GameCube predecessor, and will still have you assembling a team of four characters: one captain and three others. And, of course, the characters will all be from the Mario universe with all your favorites from Boo to Wario. Some will be designated as team captains, but whomever you choose, you'll be able to pick whomever you want for your team.
From there you'll be able to head right into a powered up version of Mario soccer. In addition to running the ball around over ten uniquely themed arenas, your individual characters will have special abilities unique to them to help your team defeat the competition. And, of course, turtle shells are equal opportunity weaponry. What would a Mario game be if you couldn't chuck a turtle shell at someone?
So, in addition to having the usual suspects in this game and some all new power ups and arenas, what else is new for Mario Strikers: Charged? Well, of course because it's on a different system, and on one as different as the Wii, the controls will be different. But amazingly, the controls aren't as different as you might expect. You'll be using the Wii-mote and Nunchuk combo for this game. The Nunchuk joystick will be used for you to move around, the A button on your Wii-mote will be used to execute passes, and the B button will be used for shooting. You'll be able to use the d-pad to perform special moves, and the motion sensing capabilities to execute takedowns or guard against goals if you're playing goalkeeper. Now did you notice something? There's no gimmicky motion controls here. They're simplistic. Which makes me really happy because, like in Super Paper Mario, the game is not relying on the Wii's control as a selling point. It's included, but it won't hinder the game's simplistic, arcade style gameplay.
One feature of Mario Strikers: Charged that is completely all-new, and completely awesome, is its online capacity. So far, the Wii has been really lacking in online support for its games. But this summer will see Nintendo's first two games with online support, with Pokemon Battle Revolution leading the way in late June, and this one following a month later. You'll be able to play friends who you've swapped code with, as well as complete strangers from all four corners of the world. And in addition to playing by yourself with others online, you can also play someone sitting next to you with other online opponents. The online interface, at least in the UK and Japanese versions, has not had any major problems, so it's pretty safe to say that, even though Nintendo has been keeping the online ability feature to a minimum, now it will be coming full circle.
In addition to the online upgrade, the graphics will be getting a major overhaul. Although many feel that Wii games don't look good, I would challenge them to watch the trailer for Mario Strikers: Charged. It looks absolutely great, and I have to say that I am greatly impressed by the graphical content. Of course, it's still not up there with some games from the other next-gen systems, but it's making leaps and bounds in the right direction. This game will also have support for widescreen resolutions, so that those of you with your widescreen HDTVs will be getting the improved graphics from the Wii that you've been waiting for!
So all in all, Mario Strikers: Charged seems to be creating enough buzz to get some of us really excited! There have always been sports games. And it seems like there have always been Mario games. So when the two combine, it should lead to something great. And I am happy to report that Mario Strikers: Charged looks like its going to be a great game. The vastly improved graphics and online support make this game look like a good representation of what the Nintendo Wii can really do. Nintendo is really starting to up its game once again, and one can only hope that this upward trend does not go down anytime soon.
Amanda L. Kondolojy
CCC Freelance Writer