GAMECUBE REVIEW: MARIO PARTY 6

Another year another Mario Party. Too bad Super Mario or Zelda can't show up with this kind of frequency, but you'd have to settle for a slightly improved version of the previous installment, just like sports titles. Mario Party 6 is simply more of the same except with one small difference: MP6 comes with a microphone which gamers can use in the Mic-Mode, which is, come on, pretty hit and miss. Mostly miss.

The story if you want to get into semantics, involves the sun and the moon feuding over who is more important, so the inhabitants of the Mushroom Kingdom set out to harness the power of the stars to settle the argument once and for all. Works for me. These stories aren't even close to making sense anymore, so ignore them. Just play the game and forget about why. The only real reason you are playing Mario Party 6 is because Nintendo released it and you feel a need to buy it or your kid will be "missing out" on life.

The biggest change to the gameplay comes in the way of being able to alter the game in many different forms before you start playing. Players can select the types of mini-games that you'll encounter, turn off bonus stars, decide how players will team up and of course set the length of the game between 10 - 50 rounds. 50 rounds of Mario Party is the world's cheapest alternative for a frontal lobotomy. Trust me, after going through a couple of these painfully long rounds with my kids, who were so super impressed to be playing Mario Party 6 before it was "released" that I now need to wear a drool cup because it's involuntary.

Once you head out onto the open "board" you'll be pleasantly surprised that the game boards seem to be teeming with activity and the gameplay seems a tad faster as promised. Locales and inhabitants are all based on various Mushroom Kingdom adventures that will be familiar to any Nintendophile aged 5 and up. Playable characters include Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Wario, Daisy, Waluigi, Toad, Boo, Koopa Kid and the all new Toadette. Will we ever see a Prince Peach? Hmmm....or Bowserette? Maybe next time.

Mercifully players can jump right into Mini-Game mode right off the hop if that's what your little heart desires. With over 70 new mini-games in MP6, there will be a lot of playtime doled out over the next few months.

A microphone included with the game at no extra cost, plugs into the Memory Card slot and is used in Mic Mode, which involves speaking into the mic and issuing simple commands like "Run" to the onscreen player. This is one of those peripherals that instantly looks like pure "cheese" to the parent but the kids can't get enough of, even when it doesn't recognize what they say until it's too late causing them to lose. Considering all kids want to do is boss people around, it's no surprise that they'll dig this. If someone invented a game where kids could boss parents around with a microphone ("Clean your room! Walk the dog!"), it would sell a million.

The problem with trying to "review" a game made entirely for children of a certain age who will love this product no matter what, is that whatever I say is completely beside the point. Who cares about my opinion? Mario Party 6 isn't for me and it's not for you....it's for the children. Are they deriving any sense of pleasure or entertainment from it? Of course. Are they downstairs having a good time playing it and not annoying you constantly? Yes. So it's win win. Does an 8 year old care whether the moron on CCC or IGN or Gamespot or Gamepro says that Mario Party 6 is like all of the other ones and that this one is only slightly different because of the new minigames and microphone? No. And anyway, to them those ARE the reasons they want it. That and it has a pretty new picture of Mario on the box.

Why are you reading this review in the first place? Do you really need to do some extensive research on Mario Party 6? (Insert fatherly voice) "Now, Billy and Sally, you know that we don't make a purchase decision in this household without checking what the professionals have to say about it....hmmm...it says here that there it's a lot like the last game....that's not very good...BUT it does have more minigames....and more minigames means more fun, right kids?.....the gaming professional on CCC says that the graphics or "visuals" are on par with last years effort....that doesn't sound good....BUT it does say that there is a new picture of Mario on the box...and I know how you kids love Mario! Alright, we'll get it!"

What else do you need to know? Anything between reading this review and buying Mario Party 6 for your kid is just useless busy work. Kids are smart. They don't care about reviews, they just want to play the damn thing. That's why it got all 5's...because it just doesn't matter.

Preview By Chris

Nintendo has a knack for recycling games and somehow convincing gamers that it's fresh. No- I am not knocking Nintendo. It's just the simple truth! Take Mario Party, this is the 6th game in the series and the game is still a popular title. While last year's version was not much different than the year before, this one seems to have some new things.

In case you never have played any of these games or have just crawled out of a cave. Mario Party is made up of mini-games that up to four players can compete against each other. Its familiar characters and bright graphics appeal to the younger players. Of course older, die-hard fans enjoy the series as well. This year it seems Nintendo and Hudson Soft are going to add a new feature. Voice recognition games and a microphone will be included that will use one of the memory card slots to connect. Also new this year is the built in game clock. Games change based on if it's played during the day or night.

Gamers can expect some familiar games as well as some brand new games and features. It looks like Nintendo and Hudson have worked hard to make this one the most packed version to date. They even included a brand new solo mode for those who want to play the games alone. While the thought of playing a party game alone may sound a little boring, this may be a great option. Of course the old modes will be included along with plenty of things to collect and unlock. Perhaps the charm of the Mario Party series is the fact there are so many of the Nintendo characters in the game. They are well-known and that is an advantage over other party games out there. It's nice to see that Nintendo is adding some new features and games to the format this year. Taking a look at the screen shots you can see that the game is bursting with great graphics and those familiar characters. For GC owners this one will certainly be on many of their Christmas wish lists.

Features:

  • Clash with your friends in party-rockin' mini-games like Mowtown, Catch You Letter, Astaroad Rage and ashapult.
  • New day and night system gives game boards and mini-games a split personality! Boards transform, characters emerge from hiding, and mini-games change dramatically depending on the time of day.
  • The game comes with a Nintendo GameCube Microphone. Now you can control the furiously fun mini-game action with the sound of your voice. Microphone connects with GCN in slot B - not necessary to play Mario Party 6; can be played with the Controller.
  • Faster movement speed around the board! Now there's less down time between turns and mini-games!
Preview By Vaughn

There ain't no party like a Mario Party! Yo! Yo! If anyone would have told me that I'd be alive to see Mario Party 6 I would have said "Thank god. I don't want to die" but I guess that stands to reason. I'm sure most of you would have exclaimed the same thing years ago.

Anyway the point is, the party shows no signs of stopping. Nintendo knows how to exploit its characters and once again Mario and his hapless crew return for more mini-game infested board game hijinks.

Ah, mini-games. Where would Mario Party be without them? MP6 promises over 75 new mini-games while many favorites will be returning. New this year will be a day and night system which will drastically change the board and mini-games depending on the time of day you encounter it. New characters will appear as well as some cool new surprises that you won't be expecting. We wouldn't possibly dare spoil them for you, which really means we don't know anything, otherwise of course we'd spoil them for you. Like we give a crap!

As you all know Nintendo likes inventing bizarre gizmos which they tend to use once and the ignore and this time around they'll be including a Mario Party microphone which can be used in certain games (but it won't be mandatory). We're pretty sure it will feature the same technology used in Hey You Pikachu but at this time we're unsure exactly how it will work in the mini-games.

Having played numerous games of MP4 and MP5 with my kids I can tell honestly tell you that the speed of the game drives me crazy; it's just too slow as the characters meander around the board like ADD afflicted children. Nintendo is addressing this issue and has increased the speed at which the gang zooms around the board, which is good news for anyone who watches their life pass before their eyes as they're held captive during a 50 round game of MP.

MP6 is already on my boys Christmas list and chances are he'll get it. Hey, I didn't say I didn't like playing it....

Click For Media
System: GameCube
Dev: Intelligent Syst.
Pub: Nintendo
Release: Dec 2004
Players: 1 - 4
Review By Vaughn
RATING (OUT OF 5)
OVERALL
5.0
GRAPHICS
5.0
CONTROL
5.0
MUSIC/FX
5.0
VALUE
5.0