Title: Mario Party 4
Platform: Nintendo Gamecube
Developer: Hudson Soft
Release Date: 21st October 2002
so what type of game is this then?
Well - it's a PaRtY gAmE! This is the kind of mood you should probably be in if you are going to play Mario Party 4 (or any of the others, for that matter). It's much like playing a board game - you roll a die and your little character (whether it be the eponymous Mario, Donkey Kong, my personal favourite, Waluigi, or any of the others (there are 8 in total)) moves that many spaces. There are choices about which way to go occasionally, and there are special squares to land on (the shop, for example), but when it comes down to it, it's a board game on a next generation console.
that makes it sound inexcusably tedious, what makes it worth playing?
The fact that it's a party game means that Mario Party 4 can be played at a party with all of your friends (if you happen to have only three friends - or don't mind playing in teams)! In fact the game is only worth playing with friends, and the one player game is almost unbelievably tedious, as you have to sit through all of the little CPUs characters taking their turns (there always have to be four players, so three of the bastards will be computer controlled). I'd love to compare the multiplayer aspect of this to all the other multiplayer-only games that have come out recently, but the comparison is not really fair (when was the last time you saw four people crowded round a monitor playing Unreal Tournament 2003?). The single player version does have special modes and sub-games to unlock, but it really isn't worth it.
The multiplayer aspect of this title is its saving grace. After each round, all four players play a mini-game - either a free-for-all, or in teams. There are a wide selection of games (60+, I believe) and while some are obviously rehashed versions of others, most are fairly distinct. These games are the meat and potatoes of Mario Party 4 and are incredibly fun - they range from running down a track as fast as you can by hammering the A button to stealing coins directly from the other players by hitting them with a large hammer. Obviously the latter types are more fun as they involve actually picking on one of your 'friends'. The revenge-fuelled nature of the games can become quite brutal late on in the game, expecially when it starts to become clear who is going to win and everyone tries to sabotage them.
that sounds kinda fun, but how do I know if I'll like it?
If you've played and enjoyed any of Mario Party 1, 2 or 3 on the Nintendo 64, then you're probably going to like this (in fact, some would argue that 3 is technically the better game). If you're a fan of the Mario titles in general then you're definitely going to enjoy the multitude of characters that make an appearance (Shy Guy is in there, as is Bowser, Koopa and both the princesses, as well as many others). To be honest, it's probably going to help if you like board games already, as that's all this is, when it comes down to it.
does it have super flashy graphics?
do you know any cheats?
This game is not for you. Move along.
any last words on this game?
Overall, I would recommend Mario Party 4 to anyone with friends (oh, and a Gamecube). It really is a blast and, if you feel like it, adding alcohol into the mix can make for some great Mario moments. It can become boring after many plays (there are a grand total of 5 boards to play, but there is certainly no reason why you can't repeat them), and the single player game is a joke, but don't let this put you off - it's clearly worth it.