Classic Review: Mario Party 2 (2000)
Classic Review is a new segment on GamePlayer in which we review older games which we think are fun/groundbreaking/terrible or overrated. It can be a place to trash the classics or just a reminder for some of the great games out there that haven’t been made in the last 2 years.
Mario Party 2 is a classic which is close to my heart but ironically not for the period in which it was released. Back when Mario Party 2 came out I had only just bought the original Mario Party and was convinced that a sequel could only cheapen how awesome it was. I was about 12 at the time and wasn’t really informed on the gaming industry at large.
And so it was that I only began playing Mario Party 2 some five years ago when we set up the old N64 for a drunken trip down memory lane. That night I learned that there were many N64 memories yet to come.
For anyone who has never touched the Mario Party series (now up to 8, on the Wii, with a ninth sequel planned for the Wii U) it’s a board-come-console game in which four players take turns rolling dice and travelling around an interactive map/board. At the end of each turn, and sometimes triggered during the turn, are mini-games in which 1 or 4 players compete for coins and ultimately stars. At the end of a set number of turns (usually 20, around an hour) the game ends and whoever has the most stars wins.
This was the very simple and yet popular premise established by the first Mario Party that the twelve-year-old me was so content with. But as I found out around the age of 18, Mario Party 2 has so much more to offer.
First there were the items, additional items which you can use to assist yourself or hinder your enemies (think Mario Kart). Then there were the innovative new mini-games that I would dare to call ‘instant classics’ (even though I am usually opposed to the term). Finally the maps themselves had undergone a facelift, suddenly they more exotic, more interactive and just generally more fun.
I don't know how much of this is alcohol fuelled bias after what must be 100s of Mario Party 2 games since then but I can honestly say that I think Mario Party 2 is where the franchise peaked (especially after playing Mario Party 8 on Wii).
Now I don’t need to tell you that the Nintendo 64 is one of the most popular gaming systems ever created, with a great range of games to boot. So instead I’ll just tell you to add one game to that list if it was missing: Mario Party 2.
Also did I mention that it’s twice as fun in German? I’m all about getting some Münzen and maybe even a Stern.