Review by SuperSmashBro13

Reviewed: 09/15/08

Good game. Good additions. And if you collect Mario Party games, don't miss this one.

I've said in my reviews of the earlier Mario Parties that Mario Party 3 was the second best out of the first three (with Mario Party 2 being the worst). The best was the original, partly due to nostalgia and being a classic, and partly because the innocent, simple gameplay that appeals to players who like simple games. Mario Party 3 is still simple, but not nearly as much as the original. So there. It is still a great game, however.

PLOT: 6/10. With the inclusion of an all-new Story Mode, there is finally a valid plot to be found. Of course, being a simple, mainly meant-for-multiple-players game, not much thought has been placed into the story. Basically, Princess Peach's castle and everyone inside and around it has been placed inside a toy box, so now everything is, uh, plastic. To return the castle to its original state, the player sets out to clear goals and earn Star Stamps from the Millennium Star--the one who placed them all inside the toy box for being greedy over who should keep the Star--to prove his or her worth. The story after that is very basic; clear a Board Map, and just when you think you're about to get the Star Stamp, one of the other characters challenges you to a duel. The pattern repeats until the end. (There is, however, a surprise ending to make you happy.) The plot is predictable after awhile and loses all its innocent charm to make it feel somewhat...kiddy. Like it was aimed at a younger audience. Of course, games back then generally were. If it was rated E, its target audience was for the younger generation.

GRAPHICS: 8/10. Little to no graphical change for any of the characters or simple images like coins. Seeing a brightly-colored, plastic world is oodles of fun, however, especially when you're afraid you might sneeze and destroy the castle. The colors are bright, like Mario Party games should be. It doesn't feel as bright and cheery as the original, but there is still a lot of color to be seen. The plastic-ness of the castle inside the toy box is very appealing, watching the paper-thin trees bounce back and forth, threatening to topple over. The inclusion of two new characters gives you two new images to look at an analyze, but there's not much to look at.

SOUND AND MUSIC: 8/10. Voices have changed! Yayness! That means that Luigi's and Peach's voices have changed--for the better. Luigi doesn't sound like he's got some cotton balls lodged in his throat, and Peach a woman. Finally. Even Wario's voice has changed some. Toad's got some new voice-work...voices have finally entered into the "nice to listen to" zone instead of the "destroy the TV's speakers" zone. Tumble, who is a dice block come to life, has a ridiculously high-pitched voice that oughta amuse the younger audience but make the older audience stare at their TV screen, thinking, "What did I just hear?" Sounds...again, sounds have changed very little. Getting coins and sacks sounds the same. Jumping and landing sounds the same. Even "hip dropping" hasn't changed. As for the music of the game, it also seems to match the setting. The simple, peaceful tune in the castle meadow, which is where you make decisions, like playing mini-games or changing options, sounds like the sort of tune you'd want to lay down in a field as you listen to it. The Chilly Waters Board Map sounds like a snowy, Christmas-y tune, sleigh bells and all. And a certain hidden Board Map has an appropriately-sounding mischievous theme to it.

All this is fine and dandy if you can ignore the fact that you're dealing with some tyrants-in-training here. Each time a character wins a mini-game, they shout, "I'm the best!" which can really peeve some players.

GAMEPLAY: 10/10. Gameplay hasn't changed all that much from the original. (If you honestly haven't a clue about what the board game-like style is, check out my review for the first Mario Party.) Items remain and have spread out a lot. For instance, you can use the Bowser Phone to call Bowser up and pretend like you're somebody else to possibly get them in trouble. You can use the Boo Repellent to make sure Boo can't steal coins or Stars from you. Also nice are four special items that aren't gotten by standard means, like the Barter Box, which lets you swap all your items for another person's. To top it all off, you can carry up to three items at once. Getting items can be done in one of many ways: The most practical way is to buy them from a shop, where either Toad or Baby Bowser will appear; depending on who does, you can buy different items. You can get special items from event blocks. Finally, there's the item space. If you land on this, one of two things can happen. You'll either play an item mini-game for a chance to win an item, or you'll be asked a question by Toad or Baby Bowser (like "Do you keep your room clean?"). Based on your answer, you will get items. For instance: If Toad says, "Do you keep your room clean?" and you say no, Toad will give you a tawdry item or sometimes nothing at all for being greedy, whereas if you say you don't keep your room clean to Baby Bowser, he'll reward you. There is a chance to get rare items, like the coveted Magic Lamp (which teleports you to the Star on the start of your turn), in such events. Choose your answer wisely.

More importantly, there are two new characters: Princess Daisy and Waluigi. These characters, like most others, are primarily eye candy and are best picked to reflect the player's personality; second-banana siblings with minds that invent are best suited to Luigi, while young, tomboyish girls are best suited with Daisy.

Okay, Toad fans, please don't cry. Toad no longer gives out Stars. He has passed that job onto the Millennium Star. Toad, meanwhile, sells items and hosts item games along with Baby Bowser. Toad is not gone, but he has retired his old job of selling Stars.

Board Maps are even kookier and crazier. In Woody Woods, the direction you go at junctions is changed each turn, and if you pass a tree, you can get rewarded or picked on. A good tree may give you money or extra spaces to move, while a bad tree may make you lose money or go backwards. In Spiny Desert, there are two Millennium Stars, with one being merely a mirage and a waste of time. You may also be sucked from one sand pit to another, thrown completely off track.

Duel mini-games are more fun than ever. Some favorites are Vine With Me, where players swing on randomly-lengthened vines to the finish and hope to get there first, and Fowl Play, where both players run around trying to catch a runaway chicken first. The winner gets bet money and the right to do a victory dance of choice.

There are other duels, too. Far more advanced than duel mini-games. In fact, these duels are actually completely separate Board Maps that can be played as an alternative to Board Maps. You use partners who can attack, and your goal is to attack the other player until they lose all their health and lose the match. The partners vary widely; depending on what character you are, you start with a certain partner, but others can be obtained, even ones that nobody starts with. You can have two partners at once. Partners have attack, which determines how much damage they do, defense, which determines how much damage they can suffer (if they are attacked instead of you), and a salary. Yup. You have to pay them the required amount of money each turn to stay active; if you can't pay up, they disappear. To attack your opponent, walk into them; depending on if they've placed their partner in the front or the back, you'll attack whoever's right in front of you. Of course, you need a partner to attack, so without a partner, you just stroll on by. The Duel Maps themselves are very interesting, like Gate Guy, which allows you to take detours and shortcuts by paying money, and Blowhard, which can alter your path when you pass by a giant fans...with eyes.

Game Guy! Friend or foe? Who is Game Guy? A strange, gambling Shy Guy who makes you play his own mini-games, which are often based on luck. In Board Maps and Duel Maps, if you step on his space, you are automatically teleported to Game Guy's place to bet all of your money. If you win, you earn lots of money! ...If you lose, you're, uh, broke. Game Guy's got his own room in the Mini-Game Room, which must be unlocked. You start with ten coins and work your way up to a thousand, which is when you earn a prize. Game Guy games are selected at random, and you can bet as much money as you like (so long as it doesn't exceed the money you have).

The mini-games in this game are very fun. Not very simple, but so darn fun! Storm Chasers involves watering your piranha plant by chasing down a constantly-moving storm cloud to catch the rain--but watch out for those pesky Monty Moles who pop up to try and trip you! And let's not forget 2 vs. 2 favorites, like Eatsa Pizza, where two teams try and eat as much of their half of the pizza as they can before the time limit and try to eat more than the other team. Cosmic Coaster has two teams speeding to the finish while avoiding the annoying Bowser signs to keep up maximum speed.

Finally...there's the Story Mode. It's a simple, 1-player mode that has you playing on a Board Map to win, then playing on a Duel Map with a character to rightfully earn a Star Stamp. There's the Courage Star Stamp (won by beating Mario), the Kindness Star Stamp (won by beating Yoshi), and many others. When all have been collected...what happens? I'm not telling you. It's a surprise.

That...was long. Very long. Let's move on.

CONTROL EASE: 10/10. Like with all Mario Party games, Mario Party 3's controls are exceedingly simple and easy to master. You press the A button to hit the dice block and move. You make decisions on occasion. When it comes to mini-games, anything goes. You could be pressing A to jump and pick to try and pick up the fleeing chicken or simply moving the control stick to collect coins and avoid obstacles while riding on a Koopa shell behind a speeding water boat. The controls are simple, as always. Kudos to that.

TOTAL SCORE: 42/50. Very good. Very good indeed.

FLAWS: There's the annoying, ever-present flaw that the computers can press a button about eight times faster than the average human being, as is evident in the Bowser Toss duel mini-game. It takes a few seconds for you to start picking up steam when tossing the Bowser figure, while the computer has it up and whirling at an inhuman speed within the first second. All the more reason to play with more than one player. In case you haven't heard, by the way, you should only play Mario Party 3 with more than one person. Have at least one other person playing with you. Mario Party 3 can be pretty fun on its own, sure, but it gets old and boring quickly with no buddies to play with. You should especially play the two-player Duel Mode with a buddy.

CONCLUSION: Mario Party 3 is a must for Mario Party collectors. If you're in the mood to party till you drop, buy it, definitely. If you're looking for a brief thrill, rent it--of course. If you're unfamiliar with the Mario Party series or are leery about it, you might rent it first just as a little trial course. But otherwise, Mario Party 3 is an awesome game to play. Just remember to bring a pal along.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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

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