This party’s a dud. Review

Mario Party 5 Info

genre

  • Puzzle

players

  • 1 - 4

Publisher

  • Nintendo

Developer

  • Nintendo

Release Date

  • 12/31/1969
  • Out Now

Platform

  • GameCube

rating

This party’s a dud.

Hey gaming buddies! Guess-a who!



It’s-a me again! Maaaario!

Guess-a what! That’s right

– it’s a party time, excellent!

Huh? Whazzat? You tired of-a

my parties? Maybe you come to my after-parties! And den

after the after-party and the after-after party, we alla go down to the

hotel lobby for even-a more party!

Come on! I’m-a sure you’ll

have-a fun. We’ll take-a that no good monkey to the cleaners (he smelled-a

like a wet bananna!) and bring in-a some new friends. We alla watch that

Peach dance a sexy numbah!

Huh? Whazzat? You still no

wanna come?

Oh, okay. If you don’t-a mind,

I’m-a just gonna cry-a my eyes out. It’s-a MY party after all! I don’t-

a need you! You leave-a Mario alone or I’m-a gonna throw a fireball at

you!

Love,

Maaaario

Mario Party has been a surprising staple for Nintendo since

the first bash came out in 1999. When

you have the right mix of willing players, the game can certainly be fun. The

mini-games have been quirky and charming and little tweaks have steadily been

added since its N64 inception.

But unfortunately, the party has come to something of an end with Mario

Party 5
, a by-the-numbers regressive and somewhat uninspired sequel.

Right

off the bat, there aren’t any huge visual or audio improvements from Mario

Party 4
. It carries over the fairly standard, efficient cartoon look and

gloss. The sounds are classic cheeky, sugary Nintendo. More noticeable are the

change-ups in the character lineup, with Ghost, Baby Bowser, and Toad giving

the big boot to Donkey Kong. As annoying as Toad is, I miss his gravelly voice

in his former role as ringmaster of the game boards.

The new game boards are large, but lack the frenetic energy found in earlier

versions. Sometimes it feels like they are just big for the sake of being big. Even

though the characters move around the board quickly, they seem to drag themselves

from spot to spot. It can be annoying waiting for the CPU players to take their

turn.

A new single-player mode tries to alleviate the painful waiting by pitting

you against three Baby Bowsers that move at the same time.  If one crosses your

path, then it’s onto a duel.  This is a step in the right direction, but in

a world of instant gratification, it’s not enough to cut the mustard. Irritatingly,

you must also play through the game boards to unlock the mini-games. I just

want to be let loose on a large sampling of games from the get-go.

The new power-up system is here as well, but winds up making the game more

obtuse. A power-up is earned when you pass one of the vending dispenser machines

on the game board.  There are many random items and the effect of each is not

immediately clear. These items can then be dropped on any spot on the board

to attempt to nail a random passerby.

In

Mario Party 4, the key to the basic mushroom power-up was that

you could grow big and stomp away 10 coins from any opponent you happen to cross. There

was a certain strategy involved; do you trigger the mushroom now or wait until

you’re sure to squash a guy in front of you? The drop-and-pray items in Mario

Party 5
lack that edge.

The mini-games are mostly rehashed concepts, with far too many games that

just revolve around mashing a button as fast as you can.  Twists on that formula

include mashing TWO buttons as fast as you can. There are a few bright spots,

but this time, there really aren’t any standouts. Why not revisit previous Mario

Parties
and pick and choose the best of the bunch?

Besides the Group game, normal single player, and the single player against

Bowsers, there’s a mode that lets you play the game like a traditional board

game without any mini-games. There are also some extra mini-games – volleyball,

ice hockey, a card hopping game – that aren’t as fun to play as the full-scale

equivalents.

Rather than just add longer mini-games, Nintendo should have taken a cue from

the excellent GBA game Wario Ware.  Now there’s a guy who knows

how to party!  Wario Ware‘s pick-up-and-play value is brilliant,

yet at the same time throwing you all kinds of creative situations. From picking

your nose to duplicating the best of classic 8-bit Nintendo games, those were

truly inspired mini-games. There was never a dull moment.

Conversely, Mario’s parties have become haggard and tired. Mario Party

5
is a step backward for the series with its needless vending machine

set up and bland mini-games. Fans of the formula will still like it, but newcomers

are better off with last year’s bash. Nintendo should ditch or rebuild the game

board, reinvigorate the mini-games, and pump some new life into this series. At

least we can look forward to the upcoming Wario Ware for the

Gamecube. I think its time to ask for a Wario Party.





REVOLUTION REPORT CARD

Rating4
Sticks to a proven formula
Big boards, lots of mini-games
That are strictly by the books
Awkward new vending machine set up
Not enough innovation for a series this old