Super Mario Strikers (JP) (known as Mario Smash Football in Europe and Australia) is a soccer video game that was released exclusively for the Nintendo GameCube. The game was created in the vein of other Mario sports games such as Mario Golf: Toadstool Tour and Mario Power Tennis, and is loosely based on Sega Soccer Slam, another soccer video game. In terms of U.S. releases, it is the last Mario game to be released for the GameCube. The sequel for this game called Mario Strikers Charged was released for the Wii in 2007.
In comparison to actual soccer, the game features a smaller version of the soccer pitch, and each team has only five members, instead of the usual eleven-a-side rule. The match time can be manually set from 2 to 15 minutes, but is defined as 5 minutes by default. If necessary, a Sudden Death follows the regular game time. With this rule, no game ends as a draw.
Each team consists of a team captain and three sidekicks of the same type, as well as a goalkeeper. Every match of the game can be played in multiplayer. Up to four players can control a single team. If there are less than four players, they can switch their characters on the field, and the game switches control automatically to the next player when the ball is passed. Players can only control the goalie for a short time when he has the ball in hand. Because of this, the goalies are immune to all attacks by enemies or power-ups, and save most goals easily. The soccer fields are surrounded by an electric fence which electrocutes anybody who gets kicked against it by another player or by a power-up. The fence is placed right on the touchlines, preventing the ball and players from leaving the pitch. Thus, there are no throw-ins, goal kicks, or corner kicks, as seen in actual soccer.
One of the most notable changes is the non-existence of a referee. As such, there is no offside position and fouls are not punished. Players are given a variety of commands to kick or hit each other, which is a major part of the gameplay. Items (also called Power-Ups) exist as a help to the player to score a goal. They serve a function similar to the items in the Mario Kart series. To obtain an item, the player has to shoot the ball fiercely towards the goalposts. A player also gets an item each time a team member not currently holding the ball is tackled.
The Super Strike is a special ability of the team's captain. By performing it, the player can take a high-powered shot at the goal; if they score with a Super Strike, it counts as two goals instead of one.
Pre-release and unused content
In concept artwork, Mario is shown wearing several different outfits, which were abandoned in favor of the design used in-game. Peach is also shown as wearing a different outfit. Early screenshots of the game showed different textures and outfits for characters. Super Strikes were also given to teammates and Team Captains were given different Super Strikes, which resemble the Mega Strikes used in the next game, Mario Strikers Charged.
The game didn't fair as well as the other Mario sports titles such as Mario Tennis and Mario Golf, though did receive moderate review scores within the 70's range. Critics argued about the scarcity of options which were present in the aforementioned titles.
- This is the only Mario Nintendo GameCube game to support 16:9 widescreen as well as 480p.
- Concept art shows that Mario's team number was ten (10). When the game was released, the number 10 was assigned as Peach's team number, while the number 1 (usually reserved for goalkeepers) was assigned as Mario's team number.
- This is the first game to feature Kenneth W. James, who temporarily replaces Scott Burns, as the voice of Bowser, a role that would become permanent starting with Super Mario Galaxy.
- An unused promotional poster for this game was created but ultimately rejected due to it resembling a scrotum. In the image, two soccer balls dangle from a net bag, with the quote "You're gonna need a pair".
- A promotional browser game was released in 2005 called Super Mario Strikers -- Heads Up.
- Sickr. (November 17, 2014). Here’s A Controversial Canned Promotional Poster For The First Mario Strikers Game. My Nintendo News. Retrieved December 16, 2017.