Review by WainioTheMaster

"As a single player, it dies shortly after it starts, but as a multiplayer, it lives on boldly"

Back a few years ago a craze was started on the Nintendo 64 that spread to the PSX, Dreamcast, and even GBA. It all started with a single game that led to a busload of sequels and clones. That game was Mario Party. It shined with the concept of having Monopoly-style board game play mixed with a slew of mini-games of all kinds for a 4-player bash. There was never anything quite like it. It was called one of the best multiplayer games ever and many other developers caught on to the craze. Before long, Sonic Shuffle, Crash Bash, Rugrats, and finally the sequel Mario Party 2 were all released within a short amount of time with each other. Though, like most things of the sort do, the craze started dying down. But in the midst of defeat, Nintendo tried a last attempt to keep it alive. Did it work? Well, you decide. Shortly after the release of Mario Party 2, Mario Party 3 was announced and on it’s way. This time around it promised a grand-total of 70 mini-games, new boards, new challenges, and even a new mode. Now, the mini-games varied much more than any other party game before it. With games including a Tetris Attack inspired theme, the ever-popular survival theme, and even one that should remind you somewhat of the Star Fox 64 multiplayer, Nintendo hoped to bring Mario Party back. One of the most interesting concepts of the sequel is the Duel Mode. The mode takes two players, puts them on board game, gives them allies capable of destroying anything in their path, and lets nature take its course. The concept actually works out quite well. You take turns moving around the board with a certain number of coins and pay a fee for one of several allies that can do your dirty work. When you encounter your friend (or enemy) you engage in a Paper Mario inspired battle. And from there, everything goes much more deeper, detailed, and strategic than I can write (well I could but I’m kind of tired now). With the addition of the Duel Mode (which is a blast to play) and the huge amount of original mini-games, the Mario Party series may still live on.

GRAPHICS: 6/10
The category I’m most disappointed in has got to be the graphics. THEY’RE EXACTLY THE SAME AS IT WAS TWO YEARS AGO. Not even a small upgrade. The characters look like the same lifeless creatures with lack of detail. But other than that, the game looks colorful and shouldn’t hurt the eyes if stared at for long periods at a time.

SOUND: 7/10
Exactly what you’d expect from a Mario game. The same music track will probably get very annoying in a 50-turn game, but that’s why there are CD players. As for sound effects, same old same old. Maybe it’s the satisfying sound of the coins “clinking” that made me give mercy to this topic, but always remember that sound isn’t everything and gameplay plays the biggest role.

CONTROL: 8/10
You’d think that it would be hard to memorize 70 different button configurations, but you play the mini-game once, it’s in your head. I’m very thankful that they ditched the “rotate the control stick as fast as you can” idea. That saved me a lot of grief (and Neosporin).

GAMEPLAY/ REPLAY VALUE: 8/10
This game, like the previous Mario Party games, dies after a while in the One-Player while it will live on as a multiplayer. The single player mode puts you up against three computer-controlled characters of the difficulty of your choice. It’s fun when you just start the game for all of the new mini-games, but eventually you may find it plain out boring. You may also find yourself screaming at the TV set, full of rage with the idea that the CPUs are cheating. But when playing multiplayer it doesn’t seem to matter whether you win or lose since all of you have fun. The replay value could have been better in the one player, since you can unlock everything in a little while (only if you have enough determination and can stand it). One thing bugs me though. The first Mario Party had a ton of secrets that took forever to beat while MP2 and MP3 (whoa didn’t notice that before) lacked the replay value of its predecessor. And even the multiplayer slows down after a while, but so do all games and this is just another.

OVERALL (not an average): 7/10
If you haven’t yet experienced a party game yet, you should go with this one for your introduction, but unless you’re a huge Mario Party fan, anything more than a rental or two probably won’t work.


Reviewer's Score: 7/10 | Originally Posted: 07/17/01, Updated 07/17/01


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