"Trades some of the fun from the previous games for some extras."

Way back in 1999, Nintendo and Hudson Soft released Mario Party to the United States. It was one of the best party games of the 20th century. It encouraged them to release Mario Party 2 a year later. I often called this game the best party game for the Nintendo 64. That game encouraged the two companies to make Mario Party 3. Is third time's the charm really the charm for this game? Not really.

Mario and his friends discover a star lying on the lawn of the castle. They now fight for ownership, but someone decides to host several boards to determine the ownership of the star. Of course Bowser has to appear, attempting to do what whatever he's trying to do!

By 2001 standards, the graphics didn't change much. The characters all look the same and the board probably took a turn for the worse in design. No matter what board you go to, the graphics for them are slightly worse than the previous Mario Party games. The minigame areas, except for a few of them, look okay, I think. I think Mario Party 3 is heading to a different direction already.

The music, except for one soundtrack, isn't that good, either. It sounds so generic that I think there's little creativity to what could be the tunes.

The voice acting is as nice as the previous Mario Party titles. I could only find a couple of voice-overs to be poorly-rendered. Once again, Luigi and Yoshi sound the best of all of them.

Seriously, the controls are a mixture of good and bad. The boards and menu selections are perfect, the minigames are good, by average. The best controls for these minigames that are the best are the ones that don't really rely on luck and the button-mashing ones. The worst controls have to be the select few I think were completely broken.

The whole point of this game is that you run around a board, saving up coins, playing minigames and collecting stars. The person who collects the most wins. While the boards are really nice after they suffered a slight graphical decline, the minigames actually dragged down the whole game's overall score with them. They really suffered from "Bad Idea Syndrome." (A whole collection of really bad ideas, along with a select few that were great based on good ideas.) Really, the majority of the minigames are either boring, luck-based, or both. Though most of the minigames are either boring, luck-based, or both, a select few were really nice and deserve to be played more than once.

Besides the regular board-play, there's also the all-original Duel Mode. You pair off against another player and partner to see who can knock out each other first. There's also uel minigames you can play for coins. This is by far the best thing to do in this game, because it feels so lively and it doesn't go with luck as much as the regular boards do.

The minigame mode is back, but it's not as good as it used to be. What I mean is this: the majority of the minigames aren't so good, especially luck-based. Except for a select few, this is by far the worst thing you can do in this game.

The newest addition to this game is Story Mode, which you play boards to advance the story. I enjoyed the story a lot because it somehow feels much nicer than the regular mode I was stuck with in the previous Mario Party titles.

One run-through of story mode will take you about 3 hours to complete. The whole game (just by doing about everything once) will take you about 30-35 hours to complete. With this impressive playability time for an N64 game, it could encourage you to play this game again. But except for the duel maps and Story Mode, I can't find a single reason to play this again.

I think this Mario Party title is the worst of the first three Mario Party titles because of its reliability on luck , a bad assortment of minigames and slightly worse graphics. However, this game has some gameplay mechanics that do work for this title. And for that reason alone, this game is better off rented than bought.


Reviewer's Score: 6/10 | Originally Posted: 02/17/10

Game Release: Mario Party 3 (US, 05/06/01)


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