Mario Party is a game that managed to survive the decades fighting on through the changes in the market. It’s about time the original 1998 game was looked over and was held to today’s standards.
Game play is fairly straightforward. It is more or less like a board game. You pick your character and map, and then you move to the beginning square. Each player rolls to see who gets to go first. From there, players roll to see how many spaces they can move. Some spaces are traps that take away coins, while others trigger events or mini games. At the end of each round, a four person mini game is triggered. In this mini game, players compete to win coins. In some cases, the mini game takes coins from the players who lose and gives them to their opponent. As you move around the map, coins become important. They allow you to buy stars, a key for winning. The person with the most stars wins.
The four-player mini games can get rather intense as people battle to gain and/or keep their coins, desperate to save enough to buy a star. A lot more strategy is used in these mini game battles than one would think. You are sometimes better off not running head-first into whatever mini game, but taking your time and waiting for the other players to mess up.
Bonus stars add a complex element to the game. The game records how many coins you earn throughout the match and tallies them up. The person with the most total coins wins the coin star. There is also a mini game star for the person who gets the most coins from mini games, and a happening star for the person who triggered the most events. This bonus star component makes it harder to predict who will win.
It is perhaps one of the funnest and most intense four-person games out there. You become so immersed within your character that it becomes hard not to scream at the top of your lungs when something bad happens to them. The mini games are fun and quick, leaving no doubt as to who the winner is in the end.
Since this review is based on current-day standards, the graphics are horrible and come out stretched and pixelated on most TVs. You can adjust it on most TVs, but not enough to make that much of a difference. Every time you fail to have enough money to buy a star, Toad makes the single most annoying sound in the world. By the end of the game, Toad and his family are in risk of being destroyed just because he can’t stop making that whining noise. The game’s music is horrible and cheesy, hardly comparing to today’s games. Controls with the Nintendo 64 are clunky and painful for the games that use the joystick portion.
Even with all of its flaws, compared to current games, it is still among the most amusing and challenging games to play, though all of that depends on who you play with. It might not have the flair or the style of modern games, but there is just something about that nostalgic feel of watching 64-bit characters beating the crap out of each. Other than that it is just, well, amazing.