N64 Review: Mario Party 2
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: Jan 24, 2000
 EU: Oct 13, 2000
 JP: Dec 17, 1999





Final Score:

After huge success with Mario Party, Mario and his pals (enemies?) decide to throw another party. Mario Party 2 has new mini-games, new adventure boards, improved graphics, and the same amount of fun the first Mario Party brought us. What a great way to start off Year 2000 with a great party.

In Mario Party 2 there are a total of 64 mini-games to play. Some of the mini-games are remakes from the first Mario Party. There are about 40 totally new mini-games. But this time around you don't need to spin the analog control stick mad. The mini-games play differently, and there's less crazy spinning. Most of the mini-games concentrate more on strategy instead of luck. But when playing on the game board anything can happen.

Mario Party 2 starts off with a corny storyline. The 6 characters in the game Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Peach, Wario and Donkey Kong, are debating what "Mario Land" should be called. Wario says that the land should be named after the Super Star instead. All the characters started debating and debating over what the land should be called. Then suddenly Bowser came along and he invaded Mario Land. After that Toad said that the land should be named after the Super Star that defeats Bowser. Then our heroes head off for adventure...

The crazy board game adventure starts off by choosing the game board you want to play on. After that you select the number of players and computers, and what characters you want playing. Up to 4 human-controlled players can play at a time. If there aren't 4 human players, computers can take their place. Next is the number of turns you want to play, you can select 20, 35 or 50 turns. What is deemed a turn is when all 4 characters have hit the dice block and moved around the board and a mini-game between the 4 characters has been played. All 6 characters in Mario Party 2 are equal, they all have the same power, same skills, etc. Which character you choose will be a personal preference. And when you lose a mini-game, don't blame the game, it's just you that isn't good enough!

The point of the game is to become the Super Star. The Super Star is the player who collects the most stars at the end of the game. If the top players have a tie in the number of stars the coins will be counted toward the ranking as well. One way to get a star is to find Toad on the game board you can buy a star from him for 20 coins. After buying a star from Toad he will move to a new random location and Baby Bowser will take over the area that Toad vacates. Every time you bump into Baby Bowser you will have to pay him 5 coins. Another way to get is to find Boo (the ghost) on the map. You can pay Boo 50 coins and he will steal a star for you from one of the other players, if they have stars. The final way to get a star is by luck, if you land on a space that has a Hidden Block it might contain a star.

There are various different spaces on the game board. When you step on the blue spaces on the game board you will be given 3 coins. And when you step on the red spaces you lose 3 coins. There are also green spaces, they are special spaces and special events happen on different spaces. There is the "!" space which a Chance Game and some characters will gain or lose their stars and/or coins. There is the "?" where different events happen depending on what game board you are on. There is the Item Space where you can win items in the Item mini-game. There is the Koopa Bank where you deposit 5 coins every time you pass the space, but when you step on the space you get to take all the coins in the bank! The last type of green space is the Battle Space where each player puts coins in to start a 4 Player Battle Game. The top 2 winners in the Battle Game will get a large reward. The last type of space is the Bowser Space, and when you step on it Bowser will appear and cause some trouble. The Bowser Space counts as a red space.

In addition to the regular spaces there are "bypasses". They are spaces on the board but you only pass them and they do not count as spaces. When you are at the Toad space you can give him 20 coins for a star, after you get the star from him he will move to a different space on the board and Baby Bowser will take his place. And speaking of Baby Bowser he also has a space on the board, every time you bypass Baby Bowser he will steal 5 coins from you. There is also the Boo space where you can get Boo to steal coins or stars for you at a price. The last "bypass" left is the Item Shop. When you pass the Item Shop you can purchase items for coins. Hey, you can't rely on the mini-game to get you items.

After everyone has had their turn with the dice block and moved on the game board a mini-game will start. There are 3 types of mini-games to be played. They are 4 player battle mini-games, 2 vs. 2 mini-games and 1 vs. 3 mini-games. The type of game that will be played is determined by what spaces the players landed on the board. For example if all 4 players landed on blue or red spaces only, a 4 player mini-game will be played. If 2 players landed on red and 2 landed on blue a 2 vs. 2 mini-game will be played. If one player lands on a red space and the other 3 players land on a blue space or vice versa a 1 vs. 3 mini-game will be played. When a player lands on any type of green space, the computer will randomly select red or blue for that player, and the mini-game will be selected.

Most of the mini-games have simple controls, and easy tasks. The mini-games are easy, yet fun to play and it gets really addicting. Most of the games are just races or timed events, nothing that will take a lot of thinking. You don't need great game skills to master Mario Party 2, as they say, it's child's play.

Enough ranting about how to play the game, let's talk about something else now. There are 5 different game boards you can play on in Mario Party 2. Each game board has it's own unique theme and the character's dress accordingly to it. For example in the first game board, Pirate Land, the characters all dress up as pirates. Each board has it's own ups and downs, and there are different surprises that will be good or bad for you.

By playing the Adventure mode you collect coins that are stored in a bank. You can use these coins to buy mini-games so you can play them on Mini-Game Island. When you buy all the mini-games there's something special for you. So you will have to wait and see.

The graphics in Mario Party 2 are much more improved from the Mario Party we got last year. The game uses the same engine as Mario Party did. When you play the game it looks exactly the same just new boards and such. The game makes no use of the N64 Expansion Pak. To say it in a nutshell, the graphics are the same as the first Mario Party.

The music in Mario Party 2 is just as good as the original game. There are new music scores for the new game boards, but it seems like the same music that we had last year. Those guys at Hudson didn't make any new sound effects. The sound effects and voices were exactly the same as the original Mario Party. Although you can't have much new, it would've been nice to have more sayings by the characters, not the same old stuff.

Replay value in Mario Party 2 is excellent. It's great fun playing the boards all over again. A great thing is the multiplayer value, you can have up to 4 people playing at the same time. This game is much more fun when more people are involved. How else can you be Nintendo mascots in a board game?

Overall, Mario Party 2 is basically the same game as the Mario Party we got last year. The game is better than the original, a must buy who didn't get the first Mario Party. If you have the 1st Mario Party you may want to rent the game first to see if it suits your taste. Same great fun, new mini-games, party on with Mario!

-- Hairball (hairball@sm128c.com)

Bottom Line: Eat, drink, and be Mario, again.