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Mario Party 4

by Michael Cole - May 22, 2002, 4:56 pm EDT
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You all knew it was coming, but how is it? Find out what the Mario Bros. fanatic thought of the next title in Hudson’s series!

What sorts of crazy new things are Nintendo and Hudson doing with Nintendo’s new hardware? Not much, sadly. In fact, if you can think of the pros and cons with Mario Party 2 or 3, you probably don’t need to read this. Mario Party 4 is more of the same, with new games that are pretty much variations or hybrids of older ones. Once again, the game is designed as a board game, with players hitting a die and moving X spaces. The two maps featured various little features, but its pretty much déjà vu. I only saw a dozen or so games on the E3 burn (I focused on the mini-game menu), but what I played could usually be categorized into the standard groups: button mashers, timing, guessing/memory, following the example and evasion. As expected, some games were more entertaining than others. No games I played compared to the likes of Bumper Balls, but there were some decent games. Hudson may need to rethink the design on a few games such as the Basketball game, where player placement creates an advantage, but Mario Party still retains its charm.

The visuals are nothing to rave about either. It seems Hudson just doesn’t want to put in the extra effort, despite the powerful hardware and optical media. Character models are decent and resemble others found on the GameCube, but the textures are still under whelming, which really is a shame. Backgrounds and mini-game demo screens are often horribly pixilated, something I can find no justification for. Mario Party 3 looked just like Mario Party (1), so I wouldn’t be surprised if Mario Party 4 contains mostly old coding from the N64. Hudson and Nintendo really disappointed me with the graphics.

Mario Party 4 is the perfect example of the mindless sequel, but at least the game is great with four players. The development team members don’t seem to be putting their all into the title, and Nintendo isn’t pushing them. It could turn out to be a great game, but I wouldn’t count on it. Only big fans of the series should be excited this time around.

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Genre Puzzle
Developer Hudson Soft
Players1 - 4

Worldwide Releases

na: Mario Party 4
Release Oct 21, 2002
jpn: Mario Party 4
Release Nov 08, 2002
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