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Mario Party 3
Are you ready to PAR-TAY!?
Mario, Nintendoís own resident party animal, has sent out the
invitations to join him and his partying friends in the latest (and likely
last on the Nintendo 64)
installment of the Mario Party series, Mario Party 3.
The first two Mario Party games, which are essentially home console
board games, have proven to be big hits for Nintendo, so it was inevitable
we would see another sequel.
If you have never played a Mario Party game, up to four players set out by
rolling dice and moving their selected player around the board, collecting coins,
buying objects and collecting, buying or stealing (from other players) the
ultimate goal: stars.
After each player rolls to complete a turn, there is a mini-game battle
amongst the four players in 4-player free-for-all, 1-on-3 or 2-on-2 modes,
depending on which space each player landed on.
The third installment improves on the first two in many areas. From the 70
new mini-games, to the crisper graphics, Nintendo has given its party fans
reason to yet again plunk down their money.
First off, we have the new mini-games, which are the life of the Mario
Some of the best new mini-games are:
Fowl Play: Catch a runaway chicken before your opponent. Snowball Summit: Roll the biggest snowball to knock your opponents
from the mountain. Chip Shot Challenge: Similar in design to Mario Golf,
you must hit the golf ball closest to the pin (hole-in-ones are the
ultimate goal). Marioís Puzzle Party: Essentially Mario Tetris. Rockiní
Raceway: Ride a
hobbyhorse to victory quicker than your opponents. Hey, Batter,
Batter!: Which hopefully is a harbinger of a future Mario baseball
game. Boulder Ball: Roll over your opponents with boulders before they
reach the top.
Many of the mini-games copy closely previous mini-games from the first two
titles, but are improved and upgraded for the most part.
The overall increased difficulty of the mini-games could turn off some
previous Mario Party players. It isnít as easy to just pick up the game
and win at the mini-games. You need to practice this time out in order to
party hearty with Mario and his crew.
Much of the graphics resemble the recently released Paper Mario, which
isnít a bad thing. Nintendo never skimps on the eye candy when it comes
to their flagship characterís games, and MP3 is no exception. With a
combination of 2D Paper Mario and 3D Mario Party/Mario Tennis elements,
Mario Party 3 gives gamers some of the best graphics to ever grace a N64
The MP3 control setup wisely follows the second installment, smartly
eliminating the need to quickly twirl the N64 controller joystick to
perform mini-game functions. This was done by placing the joystick in the
middle of your palm and turning repeatedly in a fast circle. This caused
enough minor carpal tunnel hand injuries to MP1 gamers that Nintendo
actually offered (free of charge) to supply players with a gaming glove to
alleviate the pain.
The biggest change over the first two games is that instead of buying
mini-games, they are earned by playing them during the board game play.
Coins donít serve the same function. In MP 1 & 2, you collected them
to secure enough change to buy the various mini-games, making them
available to play in Battle Mode.
In MP3, coins really serve no purpose outside of the board game play, when
you can use them to buy in-game items such as the Warp Block, Boo Bell,
Skeleton Key, or Bowser Phone, which can help you turn the balance of the
game to your character if they are used strategically.
You still have the Battle Mode, which, as in the previous Mario Party
games, is the best way to get your party groove on. This is the quickest
and best way to get a good four-player battle going and a good way to bone
up on the mini-games skills necessary to win on the board game.
The single-player Story Mode follows some ďbeen-there-done-thatĒ plot
line involving a quest for the Millennium Star. Itís not bad, but simply
cannot match the fun
factor involved when three other players join in for Party Mode. As usual,
itís the multi-player action that makes Mario Party an enjoyable gaming
experience. Gather three of your friends or family around the N64 and
youíre ready for a party, Mario-style.
There are two new characters available from the Mario universe, Daisy and
Waluigi. They join the usual cast of returning characters: Mario, Luigi,
Donkey Kong, Peach, Wario, and Yoshi.
Everything comes together to give the gamer a very enjoyable ride. But let
me make this clear: although this is a very good title, this game isnít
for everybody. If you donít like games like Monopoly, Bust-a-Move, or
the recently released Dr. Mario 64, you should stay clear of the
party. Any of those who would rather prefer sports, racing, fighting or
shooting games will quickly tire of MP3.
But if you like the board or puzzle game genre, you should look no farther
than MP3. This is one of the best games in this particular category. Even
if you have already bought one or both of the previous Mario Party
titles, this game is worth the money simply for all the new mini-games.
It looks like the N64 Party is over after this version, but you can bet
the invitations will go out again once the GameCube is released.