Mario Party: A 15 Year Celebration

Take a trip through each of the Mario Party games in this anniversary jamboree!

By Kyle England. Posted 02/10/2014 09:00 3 Comments     ShareThis

Mario Party 4

GameCube (2002)
Boards: 6
Minigames: 62 (17 of these are story games and extra games)

Are you tired from partying yet? We aren’t even halfway there! The party wasted no time in debuting on Nintendo GameCube in 2002 with Mario Party 4. Sadly, by this point, it seemed like Hudson was running out of ideas after putting so much content into the third game. MP4 features a new gimmick to use in the boards: the Mini/Mega system. Players can grow or shrink to move across boards and activate certain events (however, the usage of these isn’t as cool as the game would have you believe).

Everything seems a lot tamer in Mario Party 4. Boards are built on square paths, everything is clean, and items and minigames have been cut back. There are only 43 minigames that you will encounter during Party mode, which is quite disappointing when compared to the numbers of past titles. Luckily, the story mode this time has more content like special games and customizable rooms for your characters, but again, playing alone isn’t much of a thrill.

Mario Party 4 seems like more a warm up for the later ‘Cube parties, but that doesn’t mean that some of the minigames and boards can’t be fun. In addition, this was the last Mario Party game to use traditional items, so if that’s important to you, Mario Party 4 can be real shindig.

Until Nintendo starts releasing GameCube games on Virtual Console, you can only pick up the fourth Mario Party in the old disc form. It costs around $20 on the secondhand market– not too shabby when compared to the other games.

The Good:

  • Fun variety of party hosts
  • Story mode is improved with special minigames
  • Introduced the ability to play in teams in Party Mode

The Bad:

  • Decrease in items and special spaces
  • Mini/Mega system is a bit bland
  • Less variety of Party minigames

Stand-out Minigames: Booksquirm, Stamp Out!, Dungeon Duos, Chain Chomp Fever

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3 Responses to “Mario Party: A 15 Year Celebration”

  • 111 points
    roykoopa64 says...

    Wow, excellent job stepping through the whole (console) history of the series! I remember hearing you mention you would be working on this feature when I listened to a recent episode (10, I think) of the podcast (oops, I’ve missed some of the newer episodes). My experience with the Mario Party series is rather limited, so I found it interesting to read about the changes made along the way.

    So DK is not a playable character starting with Mario Party 5? I was wondering why he showed up on the box covers in some of the later games. Looking it up online now, I see he becomes a non-playable character you interact with on certain boards. I wonder why they did that? Even Mario Kart 7 still has features the burly ape as a playable character.

    • 819 points
      Toadlord says...

      Removing DK as a playable character always bummed me out, too. Especially when they go to great lengths to make you hate the guy, like when he gives a free star to someone who doesn’t need it. I know when I was playing the GameCube Mario Party titles, I viewed him on-par with Bowser in terms of annoyance.

      Truth be told, there’s not much that could get me to buy a new Mario Party nowadays. I’m just not in the position to play with many people for local multiplayer, and online would have to be done really well for me to consider it.

      • 285 points
        Kyle England says...

        Glad you guys liked the feature! I was never a huge DK fan in Mario Party, but it was odd that he became an event guy from 5 onwards. His minigames were always tough to unlock if you wanted 100% as well.

        80% of the fun in Mario Party does come from being with your friends. I can’t see that level of energy being replicated through online play any time soon. The fact that I can still play Mario Party 15 years later and have fun with it now that I’m older really speaks to that.

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