Mario Party is the first game in Nintendo's popular Mario Party franchise. Mario Party was released on February 8, 1999 in North America, December 14, 1998 in Japan, and March 9, 1999 in Europe and Australia. Mario Party was developed by Hudson Soft and published by Nintendo. The release of Mario Party for the Nintendo 64 marked the beginning of Nintendo's long-running Mario Party franchise (which now contains eleven games total). Mario Party received generally positive reviews, currently holding a 77% average rating on Game Rankings and a 79% average rating on Metacritic. The game was criticized for not having an entertaining single-player, but was praised for its strong multiplayer elements.
The game's story involves a group of Nintendo characters ( Mario, Luigi, Princess Peach, Yoshi, Wario, and Donkey Kong) arguing over who is the best. Each character brings up their strong aspect, saying that the one who is the best should have that aspect. Toad then suggests that they all take a journey to Mushroom Village, and during their adventures discover who is the best. The group then departs for Mushroom Village, to see who is the best of them all.
Mario Party establishes many of the gameplay aspects that have become standard in the Mario Party franchise. The player (or players in multiplayer) are placed on one of many "boards" (essentially stages or levels). These boards are separated by spaces (like a regular game board). The goal of the game is to collect the most stars. Only one star is on the board at one time, and it can be purchased for the price of 20 coins. The one other way to get stars is to steal them by using a Boo, who will steal another player's star for the price of 50 coins.
Coins can be collected by landing on blue spaces on the game board or by winning minigames. Coins can then be used to purchase items and stars. In addition, if the game is a tie, then the player with the most coins will win. Coins can be lost as well; if the player lands on a red space, a Bowser space, or loses a certain minigame (not all minigames cause the loser to lose coins).
At the end of a game, three bonus stars are granted to the players. One star goes to the person who had the most coins during the game (not total, at one point), one goes to the person who got the most coins during minigames, and one star goes to the person who landed on the most question mark spaces. If there is a tie for these awards, then the player who has the most coins will be awarded the star.
Minigames are what Mario Party was most praised for. Mario Party has 56 minigames in all of four different types. These types are four player minigames (a free-for-all minigame), two versus two (where two players are on a team versus another team), one versus three (where one player with a large advantage competes against the other three), or one player minigames (they only occur when the player lands on a one-player minigame space, and give the player the opportunity to either gain or lose coins.
A couple of the games minigames involve turning the analong stick in a circular motion as fast as possible. Players quickly relaized that the best strategy to winning was to place their palm flat on the analog stick and spin. This had an unfortunate side effect of the analog sick cutting into the players skin causing noticeable blisters. Nintendo, fearing a lawsuit, eventually offered free latex gloves to anyone who was hurt in this way. Subsequently, follow up games in the series replace this action with alternating between two face buttons rapidly.
Artwork of Mario's Rainbow Castle.
- Mario's Rainbow Castle: A linear board where the path ends at the main tower, there the player will meet either Toad or Bowser. They switch places everytime someone meets them or land on a "?"-space.
- Luigi's Engine Room: Walk around a giant engine room, paths are limited by blue and red doors that close/opens each turn or by landing on a "?"-space. You can also pay a robot to change them.
- Eternal Star: The final board that the player need to collect 100 stars in total to enter. You need to buy the stars from Baby Bowser instead of Toad on this board, but only if you roll a bigger dice than him.
- DK's Jungle Adventure: A jungle board that features path blocking Whomps, Indiana Jones boulder and the only board with two Boos to visit. "?"-space will trigger the boulder and chase all players in it's path.
- Yoshi's Tropical Island: Two tropical islands connected by bridges, Toad is on the right island, Bowser on the left. However these two swap places every time a "?"-space is landed on.
- Wario's Battle Island: On this board player will meet Bom-ombs that force them into a cannon and blast them to the next section of the board. Cannons directions is reversed if a "?"-space is landed on.
- Peach's Birthday Cake: This board have most "?"-spaces in the game. If player lands on one, they can pay 30 coins for a star stealing Pirhana plant, then if a opponent land on that space his/her star is stolen and given to you, then the plant disappear. In addtion to that: The player must "lose" a lottery in order to see Toad, while the "winner" will meet Bowser.
- Bowser's Magma Mountain: Bowser's board, players should avoid Bowser at all cost on this board as he might steal a star from you. "?"-space will make all blue spaces red for the next 3 turns. This board can be
purchased in the shop when the other boards have been played.
- BLUE SPACE: Player gets 3 coins. The player panel will become blue.
- RED SPACE: Player loses 3 coins. The player panel will become red.
- "?"-SPACE: Will make something happen on the board you're playing on. The player panel will become green.
- "!"-SPACE: This will send the player to Chance-time, you hit three rotating block that will determine what will happen, results can be like anything like giving a oppenent 30 coins or getting a star from him. Player panel will become blue.
- BOWSER SPACE: Player will trigger a Bowser event and nobody's coins is safe when that happens. However you are able to gain coins if the event is "Bowser revolution". If the player lands on this space with 0 coins however, Bowser will actually give you coins, leaving a confused player character. The player panel will become red.
- STAR-SPACE: This will let the player play "1-player mini-game" to earn some extra coins, losing it however will result in losing 5 coins instead. The player panel will become blue.
- MUSHROOM-SPACE: Will make the player hit a special dice with two outcomes, either you roll a extra dice the current turn or you have to skip your next one. The player panel will become blue.
From Mushroom village it is possible to go to the Mini-game island. At the beginning you choose a your character and ally character. (For 2 vs 2 games, you'll never face this character as a opponent) You're then presented with a map screen (Mario World style) and it's your objective to make it from the start to the goal and recieve a secret price. The stages is actually the mini-games from the game and you need to win them or beat their condition to pass them and be allowed to move on. The coins you earn from mini-games goes into a total and earn you a extra life each time it passes 100. Fail the mini-game and you lose a life, lose all of them and you start from where you last saved. On the map there is also some Koopa Troopa spaces where you can save and return to the village. The map path is linar but does a split and reconnects later at some point, allowing the player to chose what mini-games he wants to challenge.
4-Player Mini Games
- Balloon Burst: Hit A and B (or A and Z) back and forth repeatedly in order to make a Bowser balloon inflate and, eventually, explode. First to explode the balloon wins 10 coins.
- Bombs Away: Use the control stick to move away from the cannonballs shot from Bowser's ship, and hit A to jump, either on other players or to avoid being stunned when the Bullet Bills come. Any player surviving wins 10 coins.
- Box Mountain Mayhem: There is a mountain of boxes in a corner, and players can use B to punch, A to jump, the Control Stick to move, A then B to kick, and A then Z to do a Hip Drop. Any coins gained by any player are added to those players.
- Bumper Balls: A circular platform is the field of battle for characters rolling around on balls. Use the Control Stick to roll around and try to bump others off the island. If only one player remains, that player gains ten coins, if more than one (or no) player survives, no coins are awarded.
- Buried Treasure: Hit A repeatedly to dig. First to find the treasure wins ten coins.
- Cast Aways: Hold the Control Stick down however far you wish to cast your line, then release to cast. Rotate your Control Stick to reel in the hand and collect anything you may have "hooked". Anyone collecting coins keep them.
- Coin Block Blitz: There are nine ? blocks. You have an A button. Go jump and hit the ? blocks to release coins. B punches, and any coins are credited to their collector.
- Crazy Cutter: Use the Control Stick to cut along the outline of the character shown. Anyone scoring 80 or over receives 10 coins.
- Face Lift: Hold A and move the Control Stick to move a facial feature around to match the model. Get at least 80 points to receive 10 coins.
- Grab Bag: Exactly what it sounds like. Hit B while near the back of another player to shake coins loose from that player. Any coins lost/won will be reflected after the game.
- Hammer Drop: A Hammer Brother drops coins, coin bags, and hammers on the playing field. Use the Control Stick to move away from the hammers and to the coins and coin bags. Whatever is collected is earned.
- Hot Bob-Omb: Use a direction and A to throw and B to catch the Bob-Omb. If you're not blown up, you win coins. If you are, you lose coins.
- Hot Rope Jump: Use the A button to jump the hot rope. Last player standing wins 10 coins.
- Key-pa-Way: Run the key to the top of the screen and into the lock to win the game. If any player does it, all players get 10 coins. If not, all players lose 10 coins.
- Mario Bandstand: As the conductor, hit the Control Stick in the proper direction in time with the music. As instrumentalist, hit A at the proper times. Most accurate players get 10 coins.
- Mushroom Mix-Up: Seven colored mushrooms are seen. Toad will lift a colored flag. Move to the colored mushroom before it sinks. Use A to jump, Control Stick to move, and A then Z to Hip Drop. Last player standing wins 10 coins.
- Musical Mushroom: First to reach the musical note gets 10 coins. The catch: Players will automatically move until the music stops. A Jumps and Control Stick moves.
- Platform Peril: Jump from platform to platform in the sky using A. First to reach the goal gets 10 coins. Any other coins collected count for the player that gets 'em.
- Running of the Bulb: Use B to punch away Boos or to de-possess a possessed player. Getting the bulb to the goal wins every player 10 coins.
- Shy Guy Says: Shy Guy will hold up an A or a B. Hit the right button in time or you are eliminated. Last one in collects ten coins.
- Skateboard Scamper: Hit B to increase speed and A to jump. Avoid obstacles and collect coins. First to the goal gets 10 coins, everyone else gets coins they collect.
- Slot Car Derby: Tilt the Control Stick in any direction to speed up. Watch out if you go too fast in corners or you may spin out. First across the finish line wins 10 coins.
- Tipsy Tourney: Tilt the Control Stick to tilt the platform, moving the Koopa shell. Uncover all the panels first to win 10 coins.
- Treasure Divers: Use A to swim and Control Stick to move to a chest. Bring the chest to the surface to score coins.