Welcome to the first Wii game to star Nintendo’s widely recognised moustachioed mascot, Mario. It’s only taken you 6 months Nintendo … you should be ashamed of yourselves!



Remember Mario 64? Or maybe Super Mario Sunshine? Well don’t go expecting any similar platforming action in Strikers. Mario’s strapped on a new pair of shin pads, and he’s ready to kick some ass out on the football field.

Technically a sequel to the Gamecube’s Mario Smash Football, this Wii version’s big selling point is its online capabilities. Yep, with this title you can still embarrass your fellow footballing friends even when it’s a bit nippy outside. No chance of getting a wet ball slapping you in the back of the thigh here.

It’s football, Jose, but not quite as we know it. Remember the old Amiga sporting hit, Speedball? Well, think of this as a modern update of that cracking multiplayer title.

Mario Strikers doesn’t fuss itself with too many worries about formation and strategy. Right here it’s all about fast, frantic, and sometimes brutal action. Pro Evo this certainly isn’t.

With each five on five match up, you’ll have to contend with power ups, electric fences and even the odd flying cow trying to stop you popping one into the back of the net. Not quite what you get at Old Trafford.

Choosing a team captain – including the likes of Mario, Luigi, Peach and Koopa – is your first task. Each packs their own set of stats and it’s no surprise that Mario’s involves a mushroom and growing to some kind of hefty size. There’s some kind of drug reference hidden away there we’re sure...

After that, you get to choose the rest of your fantastic fivesome from some of the classic characters from Mario games of old. Our favourite is Birdo, his special shot which boosts the ball to a hefty size is absolutely unstoppable for an easy goal.

Once out on the field all hell breaks loose. Players bash each other around, power ups are let loose and during all this you’re expected to pass and move up the pitch.

Controlling all this hectic action is the tricky part. You use the Nunchuk’s analogue stick to manoeuvre around and the Remote to control your passing and shooting. That’s just the basics, there’s a lengthy tutorial in game to teach you the rest.

Scoring’s a completely different matter. Bog standard shots into the top corner might beat Petr Cech, but here you need something extra special to keep the scoreboard ticking over. Simply passing the ball between your team charges the ball and once it’s shining a dazzling white, you’ll find scoring much easier.

Your whole team’s packing some hefty skills. While your team mates can let loose a super powered up special shot that’s almost certain to beat the keeper, your team captain possess something called a MegaStrike. Cue excited "oooo".

Manage to charge up a MegaStrike in your opponent's half of the pitch – which is just a case of holding the shoot button for a few seconds – and a gauge will appear on screen. Stop this at the right points and you can score a maximum of six separate goals, giving you a healthy lead. It’d certainly liven the Premiership up.

Verdict

We’d be satisfied with that, but then there’s online players to contend with. You can enjoy a so-called "friendly" with a mate or a ranked match with some random online individual – hopefully not Ian Wright as in the ads.



You play a set of three games, the first to win two being the overall winner. There’s nothing better than getting a last second MegaStrike to turn a disastrous defeat into a last gasp victory. If only the Wii came with a webcam so you could see your opponent punching the wall in frustration.

Ignore the naysayers. Strikers takes football to the ultimate extreme and offers up the kind of fast and frantic thrills we only wish real footie could provide.