Mario Smash Football
After about 25 years, you would think that Mario has been doing everything you could do with him. And right you are, now he even plays soccer and looks a bit serious this time (yes indeed, you wouldn’t expect that!). Moreover, he seems to be quite trendy. The outfits looks like they are sponsored by Bikkembergs!
It was clear from the first match, the game has many similarities with “World Cup”. This was a very addictive game for the Nintendo 8 bit console (NES), released in 1990. The rules were simple: score as many goals as you can (duh) and tackle as many opponents as you can. Offside didn’t exist and there was no referee on the field. So you didn’t had to worry about any red or yellow cards. Not to mention there were the following legendary words on the box cover: “Realistic soccer with an international flavor”.
If you would except that Mario Smash Football is a realistic soccer game… you’re wrong. The only thing that matters is to play as dirty as you can and win the match doing so. Although, in “World Cup”, you could smash your opponents until they were knocked out, they’ve done some modification in Mario Smash Football. You can’t hit the goalkeeper, the opponents always get up and continue playing, … Furthermore, you can smash down a player in two different ways: with an ordinary push or with an very aggressive tackle. A push never hurts, but the best time to do a tackle is when the opponent has the ball on his feet. If not, the opponents will get a special item they can use during the game. There are, for example, shields that turn you into an ice cube, banana peals that makes you slip, bob-omb’s to blow you away, … But the good news is: you can use them too!
The super shot from “World Cup” is also available in this game, with only one small difference though; now they call it a Super Strike. When you push the shoot button long enough, there appears a small indicator on the screen. On both sides is a green zone and to perform a Super Strike, you’ll have to push again in these two green zones. In that way, you’ll charge your powers and you’ll be able to make a Super Strike. If your timing is perfect, the ball is unstoppable for the goalkeeper. And as a bonus, that goal counts double. It can be very frustrating when you’re near the end of the match, winning with one point ahead and the opponent scores with a Super Strike!
But boys and girls, pay attention! (“Yes, dad?”) Only your main character is able to perform a Super Strike. For that character, you can choose from a few famous friends of Mario, with all of them having their own style (offensive, defensive, tactical). Your main character has got some assistance of a crocodile (as goalkeeper) and three toads, koopa troopa’s, birdo’s or hammer brothers. Of course, they also have their own qualities, so it’s important to choose a good and balanced team.
In Mario Smash Football are several game types: Grudge Match, Cup Battles, Super Cup Battles, Custom Battles and Strikers 101. With a Grudge Match you can compose a team, choose a field to play on and you’re ready to play against some friends or the CPU. You can try a tournament, with Cup Battles or Super Cup Battles. You’ll have to compete with all opponents in your division and depending on which tournament you play, you’ll have to win the additional brackets. Within the Cup Battles you have four different events: Mushroom Cup, Flower Cup, Star Cup and Bowser Cup. Once you win the Bowser Cup, you’ll unlock the Super Cup Battles.
The Custom Battles game type lets you create your own tournaments. You can, for example, change the settings so that the losers fall out and only the winners will go on to the next round. If you’re having any troubles with the controls or a certain move, you can do as much practise as you need with Strikers 101. During the Cup-matches, the game keeps statistics like the number of games you’ve won, how many goals you’ve scored, the number of Super Strikes, … For every category there’s a certain milestone. If you reach a milestone, you’ll get a reward (bronze, silver, gold). But don’t expect this to be a great challenge. When you complete the Cup Battles and Super Cup Battles, you’ll have played enough to get a gold medal at all these milestones…
Although the multiplayer mode is great fun, the singleplayer mode is rather short and dull after some matches. Within a few hours, you’ll have played through the whole game. Of course, you can increase the level of the CPU, but that doesn’t change it’s replay value. The graphics aren’t comparable with these of a XBox360 game, but it looks good though. Nintendo has made the game a little darker than they are used to do and the character all look a bit more serious. This isn’t a thing that keeps a gamer awake at night, but it sure was a good move from Nintendo to do so for this soccer game. You would tackle an overly cheerful Mario with rainbow colours on the background for less!