N64 Review: Mario Party
Review by: Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Game Info

 System: N64
 ESRB: Everyone
 Genre: Board Game
 # of Players: 1-4
 Size: 256 Megabits
 Developer: Hudson Soft
 Publisher: Nintendo

 Controller Pak: No
 Rumble Pak: Yes
 Transfer Pak: No

 Release Date:
 US: Feb 8, 1999
 EU: Sep 3, 1999
 JP: Dec 18, 1998

Screenshots:

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Final Score:
9.0/10

Mario Party was long-awaited when people in North America heard that this game was released in Japan. According to reports Mario Party was one of the best sold games in Japan, well until Super Smash Bros. was released.

Mario Party is so popular it managed to sell out everywhere in the Greater Toronto Area. When new supplies came they virtually sold out really quickly. It's been selling as fast as Pokemon. I just managed to get my hands on Mario Party just when new supplies came in.

Mario Party's graphics are pretty good. The 3D rendered game board looks really, really cool. But some mini-games have really good 3D graphics and some do not. Sometimes not everything is perfect. The mini-game races tend to have average graphics while the non-racing mini-games usually have better graphics. It depends on what game you are playing.

The sound effects are really interesting. Once again it's mixed tunes from previous Mario games. And overall it's basically classic Mario sounds.

The music is really nice. The happy Mario music really fits the mood of the game. Sometimes the happy music will start to get annoying during the game. And the music is sometimes fast and sometimes slow to fit with the gameplay.

The point of Mario Party is to be the superstar, which probably means the best person. To become the superstar you must collect stars by going around the game board and seeing Toad and giving him 20 coins and you get a star. Sometimes you will bump into Bowser and you won't get a star. There are also ways to steal stars from people such as getting the Chance Game, or Big Boo in which you can give him 50 coins and you can steal someone's star, you can also steal coins for free with Big Boo.

Mario Party features the favourite Nintendo characters including Mario, Luigi, Toad, Peach, DK, Wario, Yoshi, Koopa Troopa, and Bowser. Koopa and Bowser are just on the spaces on the board. The rest of the characters are selectable for playing. Each on the characters are the same and they all have the same abilities.

On the game board there are 7 different spaces. The spaces are Blue, Red, Blue Mini-game, Question Mark, Blue Mushroom, Blue Exclamation Mark, and Bowser. When you step on a Blue space you will get 3 coins added. When you step on a Red space you will lose 3 coins. When you step on a Blue Mini-game space you will be in a one player mini-game. The Question Mark space will make the board go weird. The Blue Mushroom space gives you a 50-50 chance of getting another turn. The Blue Exclamation Mark opens the Chance Game which someone can lose or win coins or stars.

In the board game there are 6 different boards. The boards are Mario's Rainbow Castle, DK's Jungle Adventure, Peach's Birthday Cake, Yoshi's Tropical Island, Wario's Battle Canyon, and Luigi's Engine Room. Each of the boards is different. But there are not specific mini-games for each board so they are just for looks and making the game look larger.

There are 56 mini-games for you to play. The way to get these games is by playing the board game. If you want to replay games you have to buy the games from the store using the coins you collected. There are many types of mini-games, there are Free for All (4 player) games, 2 vs. 2 games, 1 player games, and 1 vs. 3 games. Free for All (4 player) games are basically a race to see who's the best and all 4 competitors compete. 2 vs. 2 games are usually races in which both players have to co-operate to complete certain tasks. In the 1 vs. 3 games, the 1 player has the greatest benefit. During the board game you don't get to choose which games you want to play. The game is chosen by the computer by a roulette. With all these mini-games it'll be a lot of fun for a long time.

The game's best feature is the multi-player mode. Up to 4 people can play the board game at the same time. I think this is the best multi-player game for the N64 because there are many different games not just the same old thing again and again. But don't worry if you don't have 4 controllers or 4 friends. You can always make the players computer-controlled. One good thing about Mario Party is that the computer doesn't really cheat which is really noticeable in some games (ie. Mario Kart 64).

When playing the 1 player game it could get a bit boring because when you play each player has to have at least 20 turns. This could get really, really boring. It generally takes about 45 minutes to play a game with 20 turns. But depending on what spaces are stepped on it could be longer or shorter.

Overall, the game is another fun addition to the Nintendo 64 game library. Nintendo could have delayed the game a bit to fix up the graphics. Some of the mini-games are very simple and don't really show what the N64 can do. Also in some mini-games you have to have to know how to do some of the things in Super Mario 64. Mario Party is one of those games you will never want to sell.

-- Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: Nintendo just seems to find ways to sell Mario. First was Mario Kart and now it's a board game. Where do they get all these ideas?