Mario Party 3 and Mario Party 4 Retrospective

In anticipation of the release of Mario Party 10 on March 20, Mario Party Legacy is taking a look back at the Mario Party series to recount all the good and bad that has come in the last 16 years. You can see our schedule and vote in our polls here.

Mario Party 3. What an amazing Mario Party title. Many consider Mario Party 3 to be the peak of the series, and the content in the game really help support this claim. Mario Party 2 improved on so many of the problems of the original Mario Party, and Mario Party 3 took what Mario Party 2 did so well and made it even better. Mario Party 3 was certainly the peak of the N64 titles to say the least.

Deep Blooper Sea. Woody Woods. Waluigi’s Island. All of the boards in Mario Party 3 retained a unique and creative feel while staying true to what makes a Mario Party board so well designed. More importantly, brand new items like the Lucky Lamp, Reverse Mushroom, Cellular Shopper, and many more changed the dynamic and strategic element of the series. Now able to hold up to three items at once, those who held the right items at the right time could change the game in their favor in a number of ways.

As always, the new minigames in Mario Party 3 were an integral part in making Mario Party 3 the great game that it was. Duel minigames were introduced and brought us classics like Vine with Me, End of the Line, and Fowl Play. And of course, you also got incredible standard minigames like Snowball Summit, Toadstool Titan, Eatsa Pizza, and many more. We also got a boss battle with Stardust Battle, a first for the series.

What about the new modes? Mario Party 3 introduced the Duel Mode, a new type of game where two players run around a board trying to deplete the health of the other player by using partners like Toad, Koopa, Boo, and more. Partners can be used as both an attacking force and as defense, and each partner came with its own stats that differed in terms of usefulness. Unfortunately, this mode never returned in a future installment in the series, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a blast to play!

But of course, no game is perfect. Game Guy, why oh why do you exist?

Mario Party 4 was the first Mario Party game to leap to another generation of consoles. The game gave a very fresh and new look for the series, thanks to the power of the little game system known as the GameCube. Mario Party 4 looked and ran much better, and because of this it was able to add features that weren’t possible in the series before.

Boards were now rendered in full 3D, and each board featured various areas that allowed for new interactive events on the board itself. It may seem like nothing big, but at the time it was quite the update. Mario Party 4 introduced the Mega and Mini system to the standard board gameplay. It was a neat concept, but it was made an essential part of the game and this lead to problems. The Mini Mushroom is used to access parts of the board that you would otherwise not be able to reach, making it troublesome when this involves reaching a Star. The restriction of not being able to get a Star while using a Mega Mushroom, the equivalent to a standard Mushroom in Mario Party 2 and Mario Party 3, was also an unfortunate addition. But we did get the Lottery, an area you can visit on each board the gives you a chance to win big bucks!

And like every other Mario Party, this entry in the series gave us another round of great minigames. Bowser minigmaes made their introduction in this game, but you also had several Extra minigames like Mushroom Medic and Beach Volley Folley that helped give the game a few extra things to do outside the main mode. Other minigames that stood out include Stamp Out!, The Great Deflate, Dungeon Duos, Butterfly Blitz, and plenty more.

Outside of that, Mario Party 4 brought with it several smaller additions that fans of the game will surely remember. Presents were earned when playing the Story Mode that would help fill up the Present Room with character themed items and knick-knacks. The Extra Room included Mega Board Mayhem and Mini Board Mad-Dash, two smaller boards that centered around the use of the Mega Mushroom and the Mini Mushroom.

Both games were great additions to the series, and they were also ones to shape what would come in the next entry to the series. Mario Party 3 and Mario Party 4 were also the first games to include Daisy and Waluigi as playable characters, so what’s to complain about!

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