Review by Omniscientless

"Bowser really did steal my Toy Dream after I tried this game"

Please, don't get me wrong. I'm a Nintendo fanboy, I'm a Mario fanboy, and I'm a sick Mario Party fanboy. I'd like to clear that before anything. I'm NOT a hater. Now that we're done with that, let's get into the serious business. I've been playing Mario Party since... ever. I sadly didn't get the chance to try Mario Party 1, but I played Mario Party 2 (finished it, and got to play extra), Mario Party 3 (Loved it and own it), Mario Party 4 (A friend lent it to me), and now Mario Party 5. I'm well aware of the existence of Mario Party 6 and Mario Party 7, but I don't have as much money as before, and my local Blockbuster doesn't rent cool games. So we're stuck with Mario Party 5, which a friend kindly gave me for my birthday. I enjoyed it... at first.

Story
Bowser is all mean and has stolen people's dreams, or something along those lines. So now, a character of your choice (Mario, Luigi, Peach, Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, Yoshi... I think) have to rescue those dreams, featuring the extra cheesy Toy Dream and Rainbow-Filled Dream. Wow, Bowser, you're so mean! Why would you want people to have Nightmares?! Why don't just... stick to kidnapping Princesses? This fails. And wait. Bowser is a lazy turtle, so he sends THE KOOPA KIDS to do the job for him. Green, Blue and Red, the Koopa Kids, are super evil and stuff, so be careful... No, not really. Anyway, by what you have heard, you might have figured this story SUCKS. Great, that's what I wanted.
Score: 3/10 ~ Compared to Mario Party 3's epic storyline, this fails hard. It's a Mario Party game, though.

Graphics
Hoo, boy, beautiful. They are bright, colorful, lively... what else could you want? The movement flows neatly, the character models are perfect, cartoonish and Mario-styled. The problem is with the relatively kiddie turn this Mario Party took. You can say old Mario Parties were kiddie as well, but this one is terrible. The opening is a real pain in the ass (I invited a friend to come over, and we had to go through rainbows and flowers). Even the title screen is undoubtedly... eh. Don't get me wrong, please, I don't really care about this. I can buy Super Princess Peach without any issues. But this is ridiculous. Nintendo is usually criticized for being kid-only, and this game does contribute to that fame Nintendo has won. While I really shouldn't complain about such things, I still like to point it out. Otherwise, this game looks excellent. Bowser looks ugly, but that's okay. The models are exactly the same used in Mario Party 4, and everything looks BLAND and BORING, if not extremely KIDDIE. Still, Nintendo did a good job, I can't deny it.
Score: 5/10 ~ Same models, boring designs and horribly kiddie as a whole.

Music/Sounds
Mostly all music is horribly cheesy. I memorized the whole Mario Party 3 soundtrack, but this game's music is uninteresting, cheesy, and meh overall. It's not BAD, but I can't recall anything good. Oh, wait, I remember Bowser's Theme. :D (Nanana.... NANA na.... Nanana...) Erm... Anyway... While not half-bad, I simply didn't enjoy it, partly because of it sounding so cheesy, as already mentioned. The Minigames' themes are still good, though. On the other hand, sounds are very nice, add personality to the game, and I can't really recall any annoying or badly made sound effect. Between effects, you can find a ton in the minigames. But we will get to that in the Gameplay section. Additionally, there's some voice acting, but it's nothing out of this World. It's good, but that's it.
Score: 6/10 ~ Good sounds and voice acting, but bad music. Whatever happened to the catchy Mario Party board and event themes? The world may never know.

Gameplay
Gameplay. This, ladies and gentleman, is usually the longest section in a review. No exception this time. Let's start off with the basics. Mario Party is, as strange as it sounds, a BOARD GAME inside a VIDEOGAME cartridge. The pros include the fact you don't have to fight for cheating, not having to count your money, and most importantly, additional features. These include, and are not limited to, special board events, being able to have more than 400 coins without a collapsed calculator, using coins for a lot of things, background music, capsules that make stuff happen, and MINIGAMES, of course. Minigames are what made the Mario Party franchise BIG. Now that I have told you WHAT is a Mario Party game, I'll go more specifically...

BOARD SYSTEM: How does it work?
The board system might look complicated at first(like in most real game boards...), but it's actually pretty simple. See, you and three friends/computer players are placed in a board, in which your main goal is to collect coins, and with those coins, reach a certain area in the board to buy a star. By the end of the game, the player with THE MOST stars wins. Sounds easy enough, right? There are around 6 game boards in the game, each with different features. Each board has a fair number of spaces, and if you land on any of those, you are affected by whatever they do. So, to start off, you hit a dice block. You get a number randomly chosen by the game, and get to advance that number of spaces. If you land in a Blue Space, you earn three coins. If you land in a Red Space, you LOSE three coins. If you land in a Happening Space, you are affected by one of the board's events, depending on your location. (Events include running from enormous stuff, riding dolphins, etc.) The Bowser space will take you to a special meeting with Bowser, who will cast a terrible spell (when did he learn to do that?) to make your game crap (or help you, unintentionally), or maybe start a Bowser minigame. But, wait! Stuff can happen! This Mario Party introduced a new system known as the Capsule System, which replaces the shop and item system. Each time you pass by (yes, pass by, not land on) a Capsule Machine Space, some Capsule Machine which looks like a robotic ice cream guy will give you a capsule for FREE. He's nice as that. And he never runs out of capsules! (You can hold up to3 capsules, though, so don't get all excited) Anyhoo, with these capsules, you can affect certain spaces in the board. So, whoever lands on this space will get a coin loss, or even a coin boost. Or something better. There are several types of capsules, and some don't really affect spaces. For example, some capsules may change your location, others will steal coins from someone, and so on.

As you might have already heard, the goal of the game is to obtain the most stars. Simply collect 20 coins and head to the Star Space (pass by, not land on), pay twenty coins, and gather your well-deserved (or not) star. That's the whole point of the game. That's what you live for. That's... the source of life. That's what you will dream of-- Oh, wait. Your dreams are gone. Too bad. Also, in the game's last 5 turns, a special event will strike. It could be from all spaces are red to all red spaces are Bowser spaces. Don't worry, they are not ALL bad. Anyway, once all four players do whatever in their turns (use or not use capsule + move + event), a minigame roulette will show up. The board system is pretty nice in the game, I don't see many errors. Some events were disappointing, the boards were boring overall, and the fact Donkey Kong was transfered from PLAYABLE CHARACTER to random, stupid, useless space are some of the few flaws in this game.

MINIGAMES: What's this supposed to be?
Minigames are short, fun and sweet games which you play to collect coins. If you win a minigame, you get to collect ten coins. Nice. Minigames are from intellectual to very, very wacky. There are several types of minigames: 4-Player Minigames, 3 vs. 1 Minigames, 2 vs. 2 Minigames, Duel Minigames, Donkey kong Minigames (sucky), Bowser Mini Games (happen after landing in Bowser Spaces) and Battle Mini Games (coins are taken from all players and the winner gets the jackpot). Sure, minigames are fun, but lemme tell you; these minigames, or most of these, are a HUGE disappointment. You should be wondering why. I'll answer your question ine three word: LUCK_BASED_MINIGAMES. Nintendo got the bright idea of creating around 20 minigames in which all you do is press A and wait for the best. And then we have button-mashing minigames. I think there are around 5 minigames in which you do the exact same thing: Button mash A, or maybe B. Various buttons if lucky. And then, we have our conventional, actually worth-while minigames. Which are few. Considering minigames are the most important thing in a Mario Party game (the engine is already perfect), then the programmers seriously screwed up this time. I'm not kidding. Also, there are around 6-7 minigames that are displayed in Yellow, which are benefiting for all players. In these minigames, you collect coins, so there's no real "loser" (unless you collect zero coins, which would be pathetic). All in all, minigames aren't as enjoyable as before. Very few are awesome and memorable.

Now that you understand how this game works, let's get into even more specific stuff. The game divides in three: Story Mode, Party Mode and Minigame Mode.

STORY MODE
Story Modes have been present ever since Mario Party 3, and add a special something into the game. They make the game lengthy for people who don't have friends to play with. Sadly, this game screwed up by introducting the worst Story Mode ever. In this game, instead of collecting stars in a huge board, you have to go through 3 (or four) of the game's boards (part of them, actually, or else you would never see each other) and play Duel Minigames (60% are luck-based), use capsules, and pray for three Koopa Kids, who start off with 20 coins, to lose all their coins. Indeed, it is not fun. It's boring, in fact. I only played this crap once because of how little fun I had. "Oh, look, I'm going in circles in extremely small maps to find some loser Koopa Kid and take his coins! LOloL!" Pfft. This fails hard.

PARTY MODE
Your conventional mode, in which you collect stars and all that. The typical one. Not much to say, really. You can play with up to three friends, and may play as any character avaible in the game (that means you can play as Toad, Boo and Koopa Kid).

MINIGAME MODE
In Minigame Mode, you don't go through a board, but just mindlessly play minigames. If the Minigame collection was cooler, this mode would kick some butt. They actually went creative with this one. You now can freely play games, or play Minigame Tower (First to win 3, 5 or 7 Minigames wins), Minigame Circuit (By winning minigames, you can hit a block and advance in a straight line. The first to get to the finish line wins.), Minigame Decathlon (Play certain sporty Minigames), etc. This is actually pretty cool.

Extras:
+ Sound Room, in which you listen to Music and sounds, and can change from Mono to Stereo.
+ Extra Minigames not avaible in boards, including a Volleyball Minigame, Hockey Minigame and a... very, very weird Minigame. Are usually longer and pretty cool.
SCORE: 5/10 ~ Boring minigames, crappy, cheese boards, DK is now crap.
+ Super Duel Mode: This is actually pretty interesting. You first build a vehicle with... vehicle parts. I think you needed to clear Battle Minigames to get whatever currency you needed. So, once you build your vehicle (you have tons of parts to choose), you duke it out against CPUs in tournaments. Pretty cool, but I didn't find it spectacular or anything.
Score: 4510 ~ Nice extras, some minigames are good; mostly boring minigames, boring boards and boring events. Absolutely cheesy.

Replayability
Well, you can unlock one game board. And you can try buying every single thing in the Super Duel Mode. You also have to unlock all Minigames by playing them in Party/Story Mode to play them in Minigame Mode, and yadda yadda. Not bad, I say. The best thing of the game. Too bad nothing makes me want to replay this game so much.
Score: 9/10 ~ Lots to unlock and do, especially in the beginning.

Rent or Buy?
Definitely rent. I might have been too rude to this game. So rent it, and see if you like it. You're not losing much. But don't immediately buy. Really.

Overall
Story - 3/10
Music/Sounds/Voice Acting - 5/10
Graphics - 5/10
Gameplay - 5/10
Replayability - 9/10
Total: 5,4 -> 5.

Closing Comment: This is NOT a bad game. It's by no means terrible, abysmal, or anything similar, even if I made it sound like that. It's actually GOOD, might keep you busy for a while, and offers tons of new things, plus wide replayability. I don't think you should bother if you don't have anyone willing to play it with you, though. Excellent for playing with friends, actually. Give it a try, okay? Even if it looks kiddie, get some personality and stand before society. Don't think you are too manly for this game, as you are more manly if you TRY it and don't fear to be different.


Reviewer's Score: 5/10 | Originally Posted: 01/02/07


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