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Super Mario Strikers, known as Mario Smash Football in Europe and Australia, is a five-on-five football (soccer) game developed by Next Level Games for the GameCube. The game was released in Europe and North America in late 2005, and in Japan and Australia in 2006. The game’s next two entries, Mario Strikers Charged and Mario Strikers: Battle League, were also developed by Next Level Games. The former is available for the Wii and the latter will be available for the Nintendo Switch on June 10, 2022. The game’s developers had worked on NHL Hitz Pro before development of Strikers, which served as an influence for the fast-paced and physical nature of the game.[1] This was also the last Mario game to be released on the GameCube in Japan and North America.

Strikers is a sports game incorporating characters and themes from the Mario franchise. The game features the basic aspects and objectives of a football game, although no referees are present and characters can legitimately shove others out of possession of the ball. As in other games such as Mario Power Tennis, the player can use Mario-themed items such as bananas and red shells to hinder the opposition and gain the advantage.[2] Each team’s captain can use “Super Strikes” that, if timed accurately, will result in two points scored for the striker’s team. Each team comprises a goal keeper, a main Mario character (captain), and three of the same secondary Mario characters known as “sidekicks”.[3]

The game received “generally favorable reviews” according to video game review aggregator Metacritic.[4] In general, reviewers lauded Strikers’ accessibility and multiplayer gameplay, but criticised the lack of gameplay modes and single-player offerings

Super Mario Strikers is a five-a-side football console video game comprising characters and themes from the Mario series. Each team consists of a captain character from the Mario series and three secondary Mario characters known as “sidekicks”.[3] Kritter is the goalkeeper for all sides except the “Super Team”, which consists of four captain robots and a Robo-Kritter. Both sidekicks and captains have varying gameplay attributes with “balanced” and “defensive” play types available.[7] Strikers follows the basic gameplay featured in most football video games, including the ability to dash, tackle players, and lob the ball. Despite this, characters not in possession can legitimately hit opponents with or without the ball (“Big Hit”),[8] resulting in a more arcade-like style of gameplay. The game also features “Perfect” passes and shots, which trigger in sequence if both a pass and shot are applied close to the opponent’s goal.[9] The most powerful shot possible is the “Super Strike”, which only the captain can make and will account for two points if successful. Once charged, the player must time button presses accurately on a visible gauge to trigger a successful shot at a goal, resulting in a character-specific animation.[10]

As in other Mario sports titles such as Mario Power Tennis, the player can use items—bananas, red shells, etc.—to impede the opponent.[2] Some “power ups” can aid the user by granting temporary invincibility while others immobilize or hinder the opponent. The player can also push opponents into electric barriers, which can electrocute them. The central antagonist of the Mario universe, Bowser, will also appear occasionally as a non-player character to obstruct the players from each side.[5] Strikers includes six stadia, each having barriers to prevent the ball from going out of play. These stadia only vary aesthetically and do not affect gameplay, featuring different surfaces such as grass and wood.[10] The player can adjust the match settings to limit or expand the match time and select whether features such as the Super Strike will be included. As the player advances through the game, further adjustments can be made called “cheats”, that can render goalkeepers weaker and grant an infinite number of items.[11]

Strikers includes multiple gameplay modes such as the “Grudge Match”, which is the standard single and multiplayer match mode of the game. Training sessions come in the form of “Strikers 101”, where the player can practice individual aspects such as shooting and dashing. “Cup Battles” allows up to four players to compete in tournaments against artificial intelligence opponents to advance through more difficult cups for rewards, with “Super” denoting the higher-ranked tournaments.[12]