Mario Party 2 is the second game in the Mario Party franchise and the second iteration to hit the Nintendo 64. It can now be found on the Wii Virtual Console and after downloading and playing this game again, I can honestly say that the multiplayer mayhem is still extremely fun and holds up quite well. While the game still holds many elements that were introduced in Mario Party, there is enough new content here to make the sequel feel fresh.
Gameplay is still similar to Mario Party in that each player picks a character to use then take turns rolling dice to navigate Nintendo inspired boards. The biggest innovation in the Mario Party series is the ability to battle fellow competitors in mini-games after each round. Mario Party 2 offers up forty-three new mini-games to play this time around, with some older mini-games returning with a new face lift. Among the old mini-games some aesthetic changes can be found, but some changes have also been made to the controls as well; specifically, alternating A and B to perform functions that were normally controlled by rotating the analog stick. This change would prevent you from injuring of the palm of your hand. I guess this is a better solution than giving out kick ass Mario Party gloves.
Mario Party 2 is an extremely easy game to control. Rolling dice is accomplished by simply pressing A to stop its roll and then the characters do the rest. If you have an item, the option to use it is made available by pressing the B button before you roll. Mini-games are a little more complex than board movements. Every mini-game will controls specific to that game. For example, in Lava Tile Isle players move their character with the analog stick, jump with A and punch the opponent with B. While each mini-game has its own control scheme, it never gets more complex than pressing a few buttons. Making these mini-games so easy to control is part of Mario Party’s alluring charm. Players of all skill levels can battle it out in frantic mini-games while not missing a beat.
There are seven new boards to play on in Mario Party 2 (one of which is hidden) each with its own theme. Boards range from pirates, space and horror inspired themes to name a few. Mario and friends also dress for the occasion donning pirate garb and various other costumes to match the theme of each board. Boards have some new spaces this time around as well. There is now a bank space, which charges a 5 coin fee to players as they pass it, but rewards players a jackpot when landing on the space. Battle Game space is another new addition to the series and when landed on, players will automatically donate coins to the pot and then battle it out in a random 4-player battle game. The winner takes the largest percentage of coins, with the runner up gathering a smaller amount. Sometimes if the least fortunate players are lucky, a pity coin may be thrown their way. Lastly, the Item space is the other new space in Mario Party 2. When this space is landed on, the player will be thrown into a single player mini-game with the prize being one of the game’s many items. If you’re lucky you may win a magic lamp!
Also new in Mario Party 2 is the way that collecting stars affect your total. At the end of each game, accumulated stars will be converted to coins and stored in the mushroom bank. This is opposed to just banking stars themselves in Mario Party. Players can use accumulated coins to purchase mini-games from a character named Woody in Mini-Game land. Mini-Game Land offers the player a chance to practice mini-games at their own discretion, or battle it out in Mini-Game Stadium. This adds some variety to the game and offers some decent replay value.
3/5 D-Pads: As a series, Mario Party has held my attention for roughly twelve years. It never fails to offer some crazy multiplayer action. While the game can be played alone, it is recommended to grab some pals and see who can become the Super Star. Mario Party 2 is a great way to kill some time and a great multiplayer title. With some nice additions to the original formula, there is enough here to keep players coming back. If you have a Wii and 1000 points to burn, I recommended that you download and check out this game.