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Mario Party 4

by Mike Orlando - May 24, 2002, 11:25 am EDT

The multiplayer insanity of Mario Party 4 is back, but are the games more reminiscent of Bumper Balls or that crappy Box Smash one in the original? Click here for detailed impressions of every single playable game that was available.

Mario Party 4, the latest instalment of what is arguably Nintendo’s most milk series, was playable. Unfortunately I did not get the chance to play on the board game, but honestly, does that really matter? Everyone knows it’s all about the games, so here is a breakdown of every playable Mario Party 4 mini game that was shown.

Slip and Slide Banana. Slip and Slide is a very cool 3 vs. 1 game where 3 players are in large, wooden robots of sorts, who are trying to run over the lone player who is on the ground. The wooden robots are slow and lumbering, and difficult to turn (speed wise), whereas the lone player is as quick as usual. Pressing A is how you move, and I’m fairly sure there’s a quick 180 turn around, not unlike that in the Resident Evil series. This game becomes a piece of teamwork, as getting stuck behind another slow player can often cost you the game. Very fun.

Jump and Blow. This game is a 2 on 2 team game where players must jump and butt stomp on a watery block, to decrease its size until it’s eventually gone. Very similar to a block breaking game in a previous Mario Party, this game isn’t much special.

Wacky Bomb Challenge. This game is another 2 on 2 game, where the concept is not getting blown up. The two teams are opposite each other, where they’re separated between a table that has 6 lanes of bob-ombs pacing towards the teams. All the players have to do is go up to a lane, which has a bomb walking towards them, and hit a button to get him to change direction and walk towards the opposing team. This allows for a frantic game, and is quite well paced and fun.

Toad’s Orders. Toad’s Orders is one of the multiple memory games new to the series. In this, players compete on teams of 2 on 2, surrounding two large tables littered with various food products placed around the perimeter. You’re allowed a few seconds to memorize what food is where, as boxes fall on top of the each plate, and the table spins around to confuse you more. Toad then requests each side find one specific plate of food, which then allows the players to move around their tables, picking up boxes to try to get the right food. A fairly fun game.

Fruity Memory. This game is similar in concept to Toad’s Orders, in that you must memorize orders. In Fruity Memory, Bowser demands that all four players bring him the exact food that he wants, one by one, as he quickly spouts off a long list (ie Banana, Peach, Strawberry, Banana, Apple, etc.). Player 1 then chooses the first fruit on the list, Player 2 the second, until someone finally screws up. A funny concept, but it takes very long for the game to end.

Magma Panic. This was easily a show (and personal) favourite, and will likely become one of the classics regarding the game selection. In Panic, it’s everyone for themselves, as all four players are situated on a round island, surrounded by lava. The object is to not get hit off of the island, but a giant barking ball thing flings itself across the screen, and if you get hit, you’re toast. There are also two walls of fire that appear in random places, and should you touch it, there’s a good chance you’ll bounce off the island. The game is great fun.

Rapid Decision. This was also one of the show favourites, and like most Mario Party games, it relishes in its simplicity and excellent concept. It’s every man for themselves, as all four players are placed in the middle of a giant book, which constantly has pages falling down on top of you. There are 6 possible places on a falling page where a hole (which varies in shapes) can appear, and your objective is to stand in the place where the hole will be as the page falls, so you don’t get squished. The speed of the pages falling, and the available holes decrease as time goes on, making the ending very frantic. Very fun.

Run and Draw. Run and Draw was shown during Nintendo’s press conference, and it is a ton of fun. In this, all four players must walk horizontally across the screen on a pad of paper, attempting to accurately trace a line with a giant crayon. Though I’m unsure if players are rewarded for finishing quickly, this game is simplistic but very fun.

Fast Domino. Fast domino is similar to the Shy Guy mini game in Mario Party 1, in that it’s all about hitting the A button as many times as humanly possible within 10 seconds. Once all four players are done hammering the button within the time limit, 1 domino enemy pops up for every button press you accomplished. The camera then zooms down the track until the final domino falls. A fun game, but very simplistic of course.

Crazy Free Throw. This game was pretty fun, as all four players have to shoot basketballs at 6 sections of moving baskets. In this, you press A to jump, and then B to shoot. Depending when you press B, you will shoot at a different level of baskets, so if you press it at the height of your jump, you’ll go for the top row, and if you just release it before you hit the ground, you’ll go for the bottom row. You cannot score on baskets that already have balls in them, so concentration is key. It seems that the players on the far left and the far right have an advantage in this game, but never the less, it’s very fun.

Snowball Hitter. This one also takes place in a circular arena, not unlike Magma Panic, except this time you’re on a sheet of ice surrounded by snowmen. The snowmen throw snowballs at you and the other players, and the goal is to simply not get hit by one. As time progresses, more snowmen appear, making action all the more hectic, especially considering the lack of traction you have when trying to dodge. Very, very fun game.

Hop, Skip, Stamp. By tapping the A button, player hop across a giant page, leaving a square imprint of colored ink from the object they’re jumping on. The object is to have the most (of your colored) ink on the page when time expires. Holding down A for a long amount of time allows you to jump further, and you can also cover up other player’s ink with your own. Fairly fun game.

Cannon Hide n Seek. This game is a 3 vs. 1 contest, which has 3 players go into 3 of 4 different cannons (by pressing a button when the camera is off screen, so the other player can’t see). The 1 player not going into a cannon must then fire off cannons one by one to try and shoot the players out. This is partially a game of memorization, and partially a game of luck. Average game.

The available playable characters were Mario, Luigi, Donkey Kong, Yoshi, Princess Peach, Waluigi, Wario, and Daisy. As usual, there are no differences in characteristics and movement within the characters, just cosmetic differences. The graphics in Mario Party 4 are very well done, as the characters models are nicely polished, textures are great, and there are many cool effects. I found myself uninterested in the series by the time Mario Party 3 hit stores, but Mario Party 4 has quickly caught my interest again. The games look to be winners, so definitely check this one out.

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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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