Mario Party 4


posted 11/11/2002 by Charlie Sinhaseni
other articles by Charlie Sinhaseni
One Page Platforms: GC
Oh boy, how do I even begin to describe the latest iteration of Mario Party? It’s obvious that someone at Nintendo decided that the game could sell solely on the basis of name value because Mario Party 4 is perhaps one of the most disappointing games of 2002. Much was expected from this game, especially after the repeated success of the series. Mario Party would finally make an appearance on a next generation console but apparently someone forgot that the game succeeds on its simplicity and addictiveness as opposed to cutting edge technology and eye-popping graphics. So here we have it, the newest entry into the highly successful franchise is undoubtedly the worse in the series, proving once and for all that substance will always outweigh flash and style.

Mario Party is best described as Nintendo meets Parker Bros. The game is essentially a virtual board game where the tokens are represented by recognizable Nintendo properties. Players traveling around the board via a die that is rolled on the onset of each turn. The main aim of the game is to collect coins that can be used to purchase items and of course stars. Players can set the amount of turns that a game last, ranging from 10 to 50. The player who owns the most stars at the end of the game is deemed the winner. There are five unique boards that are laid out in a manner that is consistent with a Mario villain or character. Toad’s board for instance in a theme park, while Boo’s is a haunted house. Each of them feature different aesthetics and layouts, providing some replay value and a great change of scenery. There are a multitude of mini-games that populate the game and if you’ve ever played a Mario Party game, you’ll know that these are the meat and bones of the title.

There are tons of mini-games to partake in: fishing, block stomping, butterfly catching, maze running, drag racing, you name it. Chances are, if you can think of it it’ll more than likely be represented in this game. The variety is nice but the problem comes in their execution. Some of them are entertaining but the honest truth is that the majority of them are just plain boring. Throughout my time with the game I found my mind wandering and my attention wavering. I had a hard time concentrating on the majority of the games. Other Nintendo games such as Animal Crossing showed that even the most mundane of activities can prove to be fun and entertaining. Natsume has absolutely no excuse to unleash such a boring brand of gaming upon the public. I thought that playing them with my buddies would lend a better experience and while I admit that the funfactor skyrocketed, the game still failed to hold our attention for less than an hour. This is a rather stark contrast to the previous entries in the series where we’d lose ourselves in the game for 2-3 hours at a time.
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