Mario Party 2 Review

For Nintendo 64

Rating: Average
   Mario Party 2's slogan is "Get The Place Jumping!"  Due to space 
constraints, Nintendo couldn't fit the entire slogan: "Get The Place 
Jumping... Out Of The Window To Avoid The Horror Of Playing Mario Party 2!"  
Mario Party 2 isn't as bad as the original, but it's still an embarrassment 
to the entire video game industry.
   First of all, there's the absolutely ridiculous story line.  Once you 
get used to the idea that Mario and friends are going to save the world 
from Bowser by playing a freakin' a board game, you'll find that the rest 
of the story is absurd as well.  The intro begins, "One day, Mario and his 
friends created a new world."  What?  Since when does Mario have God-like 
abilities?  According to the intro, the whole purpose of the game is to 
determine who gets to name the new world (although it's always called Mario 
World in the game regardless of who wins).  Whoever defeats Bowser first 
gets to name the new world and become the true "Super Star," whatever the 
hell that is.
   The fact that the characters treat it as a given that all of them can 
easily defeat Bowser doesn't help to make Bowser feel like an imposing 
enemy.  Imagine what Resident Evil would have been like if Barry said to 
Jill, "Now Jill, of course we can all easily defeat the Tyrant, but whoever 
does it first will be the true Master of Unlocking!"
   Enough about the crazy story line.  Everything else in the game reeks of 
low production values and half-assed effort.  Like all too many N64 games, 
the graphics in Mario Party 2 are very plain and generic.  The sound 
effects are pathetic, particularly the ones for Toad.  I think the Toad 
sound effects may be the worst sound effects ever recorded in the history 
of mankind.
   The gameplay revolves around randomly-generated outcomes and dumb luck.  
It's completely out of your control whether you land on spaces that give 
you big bonuses, or spaces that force you to start all the way over at the 
beginning of the board.  Landing on Bowser spaces and losing your coins is 
just as cheap as it was in the original game.
   At the end of the game, the winner is determined by whoever has the most 
stars.  The ability to steal stars from your opponent destroys what little 
balance the game might have had.  It's not uncommon to play a game of Mario 
Party 2 for hours and end up losing on one of the last couple turns because 
somebody steals one of your stars.  Most of the time, you have no control 
over where you're going on the board, so getting stars is just a matter of 
dumb luck.
   The only thing you're ever in control of is the mini-games, and the vast 
majority of those are also mindless and luck-based.  Some of them are 
literally nothing more than a test to see who is the fastest button masher.  
Hey Nintendo, why don't you leave the button mashing to Konami's Track and 
Field games?
   As much as this game still sucks, I have to admit that it's a heck of a 
lot better than the original.  Some of the music is actually pretty decent 
and catchy, and overall the music is nowhere near as annoying as the 
original's.  The pace of the game is (thankfully) much quicker, with much 
less time in between every turn.  There are still plenty of mini-games that 
are completely pointless, but this time there are also a few that are 
actually decent fun.  Mario Party 2 is still boring most of the time, but 
for short periods of time it can be mildly entertaining in a sick and 
disturbing sort of way.  That's something I can't say about the original 
Mario Party.
   With games like Mario Party 2 being released (and with Pokemon 
accounting for the vast majority of Nintendo's profits), it's clear that 
Nintendo's target age demographic is lower than ever.  As more and more 
teenagers and adults continue to become video game players, Nintendo is 
going to be left in the dust unless they manage to pull off something 
miraculous with the Dolphin.  Nintendo is pounding nails into their own 
coffin by releasing games like Mario Party 2.

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