torstai 4. elokuuta 2011

REVIEW - Mario Party 3 (2000)

GENRE(S): Party / Compilation
RELEASED: December 2000
DEVELOPER(S): Hudson Soft
PUBLISHER(S): Nintendo

As tradition went, Mario Party 3 was released just a few days shy of a year after its predecessor. It included 70 all-new minigames, while the very basic gameplay remained untouched. As much as I'd like to look at it gratefully due to its awaited departure from the last two games and its usually effective basic formula, the truth is that the final Mario Party game for the Nintendo 64 is pretty much a miserable failure. Over a half of the new minigames are not much to look at, and extremely good luck is nothing less of a mandatory trait if you want to beat Mario Party 3 - or even one round of it.

This game is not for sore losers

There are plenty of new item games, not just
one per board. It's not much of a positive,
since the Story Mode sucks.
A Millennium Star falls down to Mushroom Kingdom, and immediately catches the attention of Mario, Luigi, Peach, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Wario, Waluigi and Daisy. Legend has it that whoever has possession of a Millennium Star is a true superstar. The eight characters begin a Mario Party contest for possession of the star. The star itself is eager to see who of the eight has got what it takes to possess him, and watches the characters every step of the way.

The graphics are still exactly the same, there's no change whatsoever. The music has gone through some changes since the composer's different (Ichiro Shimakura), but the feel of it is still the same and it's not too bad. The new voice samples are a bit more tolerable than those in the previous games.

The game has two different modes: the Party Mode and the Story Mode. For all intents and purposes, the Party Mode is the better mode of the two. It gives you access to all vintage Mario Party content: a minigame room, all the maps, and a whole new Duel Mode, whatever you can scoop up from the earlier games. Like I said, the minigames are not really that good. There's a fair deal of entertaining games among the 71 whole new ones, but I guess that at some point, somewhere at or after the halfway mark, the developers ran out of good ideas, because some of them just simply suck; whether they're once again wholly luck-based games of assrape, or just dumb ideas, rejected during the development of the previous titles. Did it ever occur to Hudson that if they were to make a completely new and fresh Mario Party title, maybe they should not have hurried so much? It's not like every Christmas wouldn't be complete without a new Mario Party game.

Ridiculous Relay sure is ridiculous.
The Story Mode has you embark on a single-player exclusive journey across every map in the game, plus a final "boss fight" - in other words, it has you eat your ass from a plate. Remember how hard it was to win one single round against the CPU in the earlier games? Well, get a load of this. Once again, this is a single-player game and there's nothing you can do about it. You must WIN once on every single map. For your information: yes, you can still go from sure winner to sure loser in a heartbeat, the opponents show no mercy or any small glint of artificial kindness. The A.I. is extremely dumb when it comes to some certain aspects of gameplay; for example, it keeps buying items it has no use for, and using those items at the most awkward moments possible, and often on opponents the item has no practical effect on. Still, somewhat magically, the A.I. always finds the best route to Millennium Star (who now sells the stars to the players instead of Toad), and always seems to have the best items and right numbers of the dice block for every situation. Luckily the Story Mode's rounds are automatically set to 15 turns, but one round still takes something like 45 minutes to complete. It is quite disheartening to be in the lead for 30 minutes, and then drop down the ranks like a bomb during the last five turns.

I like many new innovations in Mario Party 3 and I'm not saying the game is all bad, but after two such solid efforts by Hudson and Nintendo, it is a disappointment. First of all, the maps aren't nearly as straightforward, there are many choices of route. No longer will you have to just watch as the star space moves right in front of your opponents while you have just passed that point, you can often try to find an alternate route and hope that the dice block is on your side for once. The happenings can be avoided in a sequence called Action Time. For example, if someone triggers a giant snowball to roll across the field, you can jump over it with good timing. However, the oh, so clever CPU usually uses this particular happening for his/her own benefit, since being chased down the board by the giant snowball often takes them closer to the star space. You'd do well to remember that, as well. There are two different shops that look identical from the outside; once you stop at a shop, either Baby Bowser or Toad appears at random. Baby Bowser sells tools for mischief (like those extremely annoying Boo Bells), while Toad sells stuff that also helps, but leaves the opposition be (such as Mushrooms). There are many different Duels - this time, they're not just simple, brief bonus games, but fully loaded one-on-one minigames in the vein of the rest, that are essential to the Duel Mode.

Now this is one good minigame. I like games
that test your memory.
The Story Mode is not hard, it's extremely unfair. An optimist might say it's all up to your skill of deducing the opponent's next move, and good management and effective use of your items, but a realist downright knows none of that's the case. Losing a round three times in a row, with the decisive punch to the face thrown during the last three turns every single time is not my idea of a fun, fair game. Especially since the rounds take so damn long to finish. The Story Mode is a waste of time. If you're a fan of Mario Party, you will want this game for the Party Mode only. Alas, the minigames are not that good. Like I said, there are good ones, but there are also a lot of bad ones, and I miss some classics from the previous games. Also, as you already might have guessed, the same games repeat. Constantly. Once again, after five rounds, you're lucky to have seen one third of the games.

Mario Party 3 is the worst whole experience in this sub-franchise I've had thus far. It has so much to go on, but it lacks so much more. The Story Mode's cool and addictive at first, but once you realize good luck's the one and only thing on your side, and that you have to win seven rounds on different maps to get to the end, that addiction wears out very quickly.

SOUND : 7.3


GameRankings: 73.64%

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