Result, Mario Party 4 is anything but butter
Nintendo recently released its fourth installment of the Mario Party series—this time for GameCube—and although the result is true to the Mario Party tradition, it brings almost nothing new to the game despite having the technological edge of GameCube at the designer's expense. In short—same game, new system.
For those not familiar with the Mario Party series, the games essentially mix the best of two worlds of video games and board games. With a minimum of four characters (computer-controlled characters automatically fill spots not taken by players), the game takes players through a virtual board game that provides numerous opportunities to squish, bump, and switch places with each other. As characters roam the board the goal is to have the most stars by the time the game ends. The length of the game is decided prior to the start (games last usually about an hour). Stars are bought with coins won through winning different types of minigames that will have you deflating giant thwomps with butt-stomps, scoring in soccer shootouts, evading avalanches and partnering-up to row past flames to safety. It's great fun for multiple players under the age of twelve.
However, despite the designer's ability to kick each Mario Party game up a notch relative to prior versions, Nintendo has had no such luck with MP4. Even with a limited improvement in graphic design such as with water representation, the game's few changes have been for the worse. Most notable is Nintendo's move towards significantly less minigames, which is what arguably makes the game fun. In MP4, items are limited to two types of mushrooms, and new obstacles are put in place to make it harder to get stars. Consequentially, the lack of items makes the boardplay more monotonous, and the hurdles can be discouraging, to say the least, as whole games can go without any player getting a star. Designers didn't give gamers much to look at boardwise, but it is really...um...bright. Music is confined to the same tooth-ache-inducing, sugary-sweet tracks as before.
All frustrations aside, the game can still be fun because the foundation of the Mario Party series can still be found in MP4. There's still exciting board play and competitive minigames, so if you haven't played any of the Mario Partys before, or if you just want to be able to play it on the GameCube, go for it. Otherwise I'd recommend dusting off the old N64 and not wasting your money.
Alex Piazza. Alex Piazza is a junior page editor for Silver Chips, one of the better newspapers of the world. While participating in the CAP program, he also plays for the varsity soccer team and plays in an out-of-school band, playing an eclectic mix of styles. Alex … More »