Mario Party Item Highlight #2 – Skeleton Key

As part of the Month of Mario Party Items, this new series will focus on individual items and their evolution throughout the series.

“Nice! Toad is going to give me three free items! TWO SKELETON KEYS?? Are you kidding me!?”

Does that sound familiar? How about this one?

“Look, there’s a Golden Mushroom and a Magic Lamp in this minigame! I got the SKELETON KEY, you cannot be serious!”

That’s the fate of the Skeleton Key, forever thrown to the wayside but needed in few and specific situations. This item was among the first items introduced in the series back in Mario Party 2. Having a Skeleton Key in your possession would allow you to pass through special doors placed around the board map that would act as shortcuts to different areas. Sounds like a great item, right? It was indeed a great item, but the fact that chances of actually making use of the item were so low made it very undesirable.

With typically only one special door on the map, the Skeleton Key was an item you did not want taking up your only item space in Mario Party 2. The item returned in Mario Party 3 where you were now able to carry three items at once, but the problem of its limited use remained. Answering one of Toad’s questions wrong when you land on an Item Space might get you all Skeleton Keys. It was a punishment!

The item never returned after Mario Party 3, but it did live on through the Mini Mushroom in Mario Party 4. It worked better here because the Mini Mushroom and the Mini Pipes you use them on appear a lot more often in this game, but the issue overall stayed the same.

The item or an item like it hasn’t returned since then. But what if it did? Here are some ideas of how it would have been implemented:

  • If that Whomp on Faire Square was actually a door for the Skeleton Key, this would change the star circling strategy of that board!
  • Use a Skeleton Key to get through the Freezies that keep you in the dangerous outside path during nighttime in Snowflake Lake.
  • Boards like Pagoda Peak and Goomba’s Booty Boardwalk would benefit a lot from shortcuts with the Skeleton Key!
  • King Boo’s Haunted Hideaway. Enter random rooms, but if you see a locked door, you know that DK is inside! It’d make having a Skeleton Key handy useful!

Got any other ideas for how the Skeleton Key could have been implemented in future titles? Or how its problems could be fixed in the games it appeared it? Sound off in the comments below!

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