Review by Megaman1981

"Let's still keep the party going like its 1999!"

As we all know, Mario is Nintendo's Mr. everything. Besides having to save the Mushroom Kingdom from Bowser, Mario has also shown the ability to party, race, be an RPG master, and also become an All Mushroom Kingdom star athlete. The Mario Party series has become an instant hit since the N64 days. I have played all of the games except for the first one (was never able to find it). My first experience with a Mario Party was the second one on the N64. While a little primitive by today's standards, Mario Party 2 at the time was a blast to play. About a year later Mario Party 3 arrived. It was the same old fun first experience in Mario Party 2. In all, Mario Party 3 is a terrific game.

The basic premise for all of the Mario Party games follows a very simple pattern. You pick the character that you want (Mario is my favorite), and then you pick which board you want to try. These boards are all different but they all have the same premise. Instead of trying to reach the end like with a game like Candy Land, you instead collect stars and coins. The coins are used to buy the stars for 20 coins each. The stars are what truly matters if you want to win the game. At the end of the game, which can range from 10-50 turns, whoever has the most stars wins. Four players are always on each board, and the computer controlled A.I. characters can be adjusted to fit your comfort level. Beware, easy mode computer characters are pathetic and don't offer any challenge at all.

But how do you get the coins to buy the stars? Well, first of all every time you roll the dice block at the beginning of each turn you move forward on the game board. If you land on a blue square you'll get 3 coins but landing on a red one will take 3 coins away. You can also land on other game spots which can effect what happens on the game board at that moment such as moving you back to the starting point or swapping your coins with someone else. That's it! Pretty boring huh? Well, the true enjoyment to this game comes in the form of minigames. After every turn (or sometimes in the middle), all of the characters will take part in a minigame. These minigames can be a 1 vs. 4, 2 vs. 2, or 1 vs. 3 minigame. Landing on different colored spots on the game board will determine which you'll play. These games are very simple. Sometimes you'll have to push the A button to accomplish your goal, or you'll have to do something else. One game involves you hitting a golf ball. Whoever is closest to the hole wins. Another game is called Awful Tower, a game where you need to ascend the blocks to reach the top of the tower just like in the original Super Mario Bros. games. Another game is called Snowball Summit. The object to this game is to roll your snowballs to make them bigger and then roll them at the other players.

As I mentioned before, the graphics decent but nothing to ride home about. The traditional N64 blurry character and background designs are here, although they were fine when the game first came out (yes, the Gamecube has spoiled us). The music is your same goofy Mario Party style music heard from every Mario Party game. In all, the graphics and sound are a bit more refined in Mario Party 3.

Of course this game has tons of replay value. There are 60 minigames to play threw this time. With that many games the fun never stops. Also playing with a friend is the best way to go. The story of Mario Party 3 is a bit better than the first two Mario Party games. After you pick which character you want, your goal is to become the Millennium Star. Story Mode acts the same way as Party Mode, but after you conquer a character on the game board, you also have to defeat them in a Duel Mode as well to truly conquer them.

In all, Mario Party 3 symbolizes exactly what a Mario Party game is all about. Nothing but pure fun. Mario Party 3 is a clear upgrade over the first two Mario Party games since the minigames are better all around. Plus it's a blast to play. That should be enough incentive to buy this game.

Reviewer's Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

Originally Posted: 02/15/06

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