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Mario Party 4 Package Art
 GENRE
  Party
 DEVELOPER
  Hudson
 PUBLISHER
  Nintendo
 NUMBER OF PLAYERS
  1-4
 CONNECTIVITY
  no
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Mario Party 4

Nintendo, at least lately, has been infamous for waiting years between sequels to hit franchises. Mario Sunshine came out almost six years after Mario 64. We are just now receiving the first new Metroid games since 1994, and a sequel to Earthbound has never gotten off the ground. The Mario Party series is a pleasant exception to this rule, now coming out with its fourth game since 1999. As always, Mario and his friends (and foes) venture onto boards and play mini-games for coins and stars to find out who is the "Party Star". The game is based on a good balance of skill and luck and many twists and turns will happen to make you either praise or curse the situation at hand. If you are into party games, there's a good chance you'll be into this game.

visuals

In a word, meh. Average. Possibly below average. This is not a graphic-intensive game—nor does it try to be. It does look much better than the N64 versions, and you can easily see the next generation leap to a new platform, but the graphics, as a whole, could be much better. Everything in the game is pretty low poly. There aren't really any special effects or mind-numbing physics or AI that would take away from the processing either. Hudson could have done a much better job here. In all due fairness, however, this isn't really the type of game that requires breakneck excitement and blow-you-away graphics to keep you entertained. There are some pretty FMVs, and the framerate never, ever drops.

audio

The music in this game is pretty good. When you play the game and hear it, you might have the sensation of deja vu. You’ll be sure you've heard it somewhere before. I thought it sounded exactly like Mario Party 3, but I didn't have the proper cart to check that possibility with. It works, however, and I didn't really mind that the music sounded extremely familiar. The different songs fit the mini-games they are set to and add to the overall experience. Sound effects are not as good. The voices of the characters in this game are annoying, and each character only has a few voice samples to work with. I don't think Hudson realized they were working with 1.5 gigs of storage space. Overall, the sound is nothing to write home about.

gameplay

The gameplay is an improvement over the previous Mario Party incarnations in that almost all of the mini-games are actually fun this time around. Game Boards now have more interactivity than ever before, and a great new "Mini-Mega" system. You will run into Mega and Poison mushrooms much more often now, and they can be used to strategically take shortcuts or avoid some of the more perilous event spaces. It makes gameplay more complex, but not detrimentally. Many of my friends who hated the original Mario Party games loved this game. It should be said, however, that the single player didn't really offer anything that would make you want to play for extended periods of time. You will probably find yourself only playing through once to unlock the secret board.

multiplayer

Of course, Mario Party is all about the multi-player. As mentioned before, almost all the mini-games are fun this time around and almost all of them are completely new. The more people you play with, the more fun you will have. The games can sometimes take a few minutes to set up, though, which can annoy impatient gamers from even bothering. It is a shame that none of the classic favorites from other Mario Parties were included, like "Shy Guy Says" or "Rail Racers". I don't know if it's a marketing thing so they can claim, "All New Game!" or simply to make the game feel less repetitive, but I felt it was the wrong move. But though the old games are missed, the current multi-player is still awesome. Let's hope that its games are here to stay.

overall

While some mistakes were made in the making of this game, not enough were made to make it bad. This game is good fun that can be enjoyed by almost anyone, and is at least worth a weekend rental. “I'm a Wario, I'm a gonna win!”

final score 7.0/10





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Staff Avatar Paul Pace
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