RELEASED: December 1998
AVAILABLE ON: N64
DEVELOPER(S): Hudson Soft
The Mario Party series has never exactly been a critics' favourite, but it has such a solid fanbase that a total of ten games have seen release in the last 13 years, and an 11th game is on the way for the Wii. The first video board game crossed with a compilation of Mario-themed minigames was released in Japan in late 1998, and became an instant hit. Even though Mario Party has a lot of troublesome issues related to controls and the total occasional absence of fair play, it still manages to entertain single players and small groups of people alike. Let's party.
Superstars in the making
Mario, Luigi, Wario, Peach, Yoshi and Donkey Kong are engaged in an argument over which one of them is a true superstar. Toad comes up with the idea of having the six embark on an adventure to search for stars and claim superstardom.
|Beating Mario Bandstand as the conductor has |
NOTHING to do with skill.
The game sports some of the nicest graphics we ever saw on the Nintendo 64, even though some character models look a bit odd, and not in the most flattering way either. The game features 53 completely different minigames with totally different, good looks. The framerate is smooth throughout the line, and the boards (or "maps", as they're called in-game) are amazingly detailed, colourful and neat. The music really isn't too good. There are some heavily remixed, vintage Mario tunes - which form the better half of the soundtrack - and some very generic island jive. I seriously gasped when I heard that Yasunori Mitsuda of Chrono Trigger fame single-handedly composed the music for this game. I never would've guessed. The voice samples are quite horrible, especially those of Peach (Toadstool.).
|Pound the cloud to make Piranha bigger and |
faster, and able to catch and eat your opponent.
Good friendly family fun.
|The boards look extremely pleasant.|
|It's like Hot Potato, only the potato is a live bomb.|
|Perhaps the easiest memory match game ever.|
Mario Party has quite an ongoing legacy, and the first game itself has its highly entertaining moments. Some of the minigames are highly difficult or even downright impossible to beat, at least by playing alone, some of them are plain stupid, some of them are hard to understand by just reading Toad's explanations of them, the crappy jumping dynamics kill all games in which they're essential, and the games in which you have to rotate the analog stick at hundred rounds per second to succeed are infamously nasty, both mentally and physically. It still has its moments, it's addictive and with a great deal of luck on your side, you can play through one Adventure without ever having to deal with any crappy minigames. The best thing about Mario Party is that it's one game that's definitely suitable for all ages. That narrows down the search for potential human opponents, which you will want to have sooner or later.
GRAPHICS : 9.1
SOUND : 6.5
PLAYABILITY : 7.1
LIFESPAN : 8.0
CONCLUSION : 7.3
a.k.a. Mario Party 64, Mario Party 1
Nintendo Power ranks Mario Party #98 on their list of the Top 200 Nintendo Games of All Time.
A group of parents sued Nintendo of America for the few minigames which require the player to rotate the analog stick at an extremely rapid pace, because doing this didn't just potentially damage the expensive controller, but caused visible hand injuries to their children. Nintendo was found guilty and was forced to pay fines to the plaintiffs, as well as give out free gloves to anyone who hurt their hands playing Mario Party.