Review by Mageknight
"If Mario asks you to come to a party, TURN THE OTHER WAY AND RUN!"
Mario has partied since 1999 and shows no signs of slowing down. With all the time he spends racing, golfing, and saving Peach, it's a wonder how the plumber has the time to throw a party. With all the flaws Mario had in his last 6 parties, will #7 be his lucky number? Keep dreaming.
The Mario Party series has always been the same; get more stars than your friends on the game boards. You hit a dice block to move, something happens when you land on a space or pass something, everyone else goes, a mini-game is played, then rinse and repeat. Every space makes things happen. Blue spaces nets you a few coins while red spaces make you lose them. Dueling spaces lets you fight someone for their stars or coins. Happening spaces make things happen, depending on the board. DK spaces lets you play DK's mini-games for coins. Bowser spaces makes Bowser appear and he'll swipe your goods if you fail to win at his mini-games. Two new spaces have been added to Mario Party 7. Koopa Kid spaces makes him screw things around, such as equalizing everyone's coins or swapping player positions. The Mic space lets you double the coins you bet if you win at a memorization mic game.
Each board has a unique way of obtaining stars. Grand Canal is traditional; find the star, pay 20 coins, and the star moves. Other boards have a weird way of obtaining a star. Neon Heights, for example, has 3 boxes and a star is in one them. Pay 10 coins to open the box and see what's inside! While some of these methods can be fun, others can be downright frustrating.
The item orbs are back. Pick up an orb on the board or buy on at the shops. An orb can be used either on the board or yourself. If you use an orb on the board, you'll create a space for it. If an enemy lands on it, they'll be affected by that orb's effect. Some orb effects only occur if an enemy passes it instead of landing on it.
Mini-games come in several types. 4-player is the good old free-for-all. 1 vs. 3 games puts a lone player against 3 others. The mini-games in 1 vs. 3 either have the single player with the advantage or the 3 players with the advantage. 2 vs. 2 has 2 players teaming up against another team of 2. Battle mini-games is a free-for-all, but everyone receives coins based on their results. Dueling mini-games has a player fight against another. When a player wins a duel, their prize is randomized by the roulette. This can be very frustrating since you could wind up with a cheap prize or win nothing at all. I really wished this game let me bet what I wanted like in the last games. There are more mic mini-games than the last party. Mic mini-games has players shout commands into the mic in order to play. It seems that this time, the game understands your commands more clearly than in Mario Party 6.
Solo Mode is the single-player game. Play against a lone CPU player or a friend and beat them in the boards. Each board has a condition that needs to be met in order to win. For example, in Grand Canal, you must get 2 stars before your enemy does to win.
One thing that stands out is that 8 players can play this game! Two players share a controller. One uses the L button and control stick while the other handles the R button and C-stick. There's several 8-player mini-games that can be played and they're pretty fun.
One thing that really irks me is the Bowser Time feature on the boards. At every turn, a Bowser meter fills up. When it gets full, Bowser appears and screws EVERYONE, such as stealing coins or breaking bridges. There's no way you can avoid his events. If there was something that could delay Bowser's appearance, then this wouldn't be a big deal.
Aside from Bowser Time, the randomness factor really hurts tne game, that is if you're a really skilled player. Between the random events on the boards that affect your status and the randomness factor in some of the mini-games, you'll easily be frustrated by how things just "randomly" happen. You could be doing well from the start, and then lose everything at the last minute because of a random event. The Cruise Mileage point system is useless. You gain points whenever you play some mini-games, but not enough is given out and some of the items are expensive to buy. Most of the items you can purchase is pretty useless and don't do much.
The graphics in the Mario Party series hasn't changed that much. Although it looks nice, it feels recycled. If the Gamecube is that powerful, then show it off!
The music also hasn't changed that much. Although each board has their own theme, the music most of the time is pretty happy and bouncy. Pretty typical for Mario. Not that it's a bad thing.
Why did I give this game such a low score? With 7 parties, you would think Nintendo and Hudson would do something to make the games more fresh. A good bunch of the mini-games seem like remakes from the previous parties with different names. Events and other things happening randomly makes playing frustrating. I can handle some randomness every now and then, but to have it happen at every turn is just plain awful. Although there are more mic mini-games, I wish they'd make more and make a separate game section for the mic like Mario Party 6 did with Speak Up! The Bowser Time feature is also another killer. Getting screwed over every few turns and being unable to avoid it is not fun. Although you'll have more fun playing with friends, you'll still be ticked off by the game's many flaws.
Reviewer's Score: 4/10 | Originally Posted: 11/21/05
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