E3 2002Mario Party 4 impressions

Nintendo showed off its latest party game at this year's press conference.

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At today's press conference, Nintendo gave audiences a look at its latest party game, Mario Party 4 for the GameCube. As in the previous Mario Party games, Mario Party 4 revisits the familiar board game theme and offers players a set of 50 all-new minigames to play with friends. Apparently, Mario Party 4 has a birthday theme attached, and all the characters are competing at a birthday party to see who can win the present in the end.

Mario Party 4 introduces the mini-giant system to the series; players use items located around the board to grow larger or smaller to access different, otherwise unreachable areas of the game board, allowing for the triggering of special gamewide events. The game also introduces the tag battle, which lets players team up in pairs to compete in a more cooperative format than the regular star-collecting free-for-all. Mario Party 4 has also addressed concerns of players from varied age and skill groups playing together with a new handicapping system.

Mario, Luigi, Yoshi, and Peach return along with the rest of the familiar Nintendo cast in a variety of new game boards and minigames, many of which were shown for the first time. One of the boards is based on an amusement park theme, with a moving roller coaster cruising around the play area during turns. Some of the more off-kilter games include a footrace between the characters to trace a line drawn on the floor with a giant crayon, hoops shootouts with moving backboards, and a competition to stomp on giant jelly thwomps as fast as possible. Familiar characters to interact with return, including goomba peddlers, thievish boos, and the dreaded Bowser encounters.

We'll have more on Mario Party 4 as we get a chance to check it out from the E3 show floor.

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