#8. Mario Party 3

#8. Mario Party 3

And for #8, prepare the salt because I know some people are going to be very up in arms about this; we have…Mario Party 3. Ok, so before you throw your N64 controllers at me, allow me to explain. Like I said in the intro, the top of the list and the bottom of the list was the easiest part of the list to do. Making a decision between the middle five was an absolute nightmare. So while I was looking at all the criteria and weighing out the different possibilities, Mario Party 3 had the common denominator, at least in my opinion, of not really scoring very high in any area of the game. Not saying that it scored low or was the absolute worst in any criteria, but there was no one area that I was incredibly mesmerized by, and I think that holds a lot of water in doing a ranking video like this one. I think I’d grade it very similarly to choices I picked #4-#7, but in looking at all the nitty-gritty details, this is what made it to the bottom of the giant clump of games in question. So while I know some of you might be angry about this choice, it’s my opinion, and if you disagree, please do so in a constructive, but kind manner.

As far as my reasons for why this game is so low, let’s go through all the points, starting with the board game play. In the interest of time, I’m going to try and go through this as quickly and concisely as possible. The boards themselves, honestly, I just don’t find them to be all that interesting; the one exception being Waluigi’s Island. The only reason I can give this board a pass is you pretty much know the type of board you are going to be playing the moment you select it. Waluigi isn’t exactly winning any Pulitzer prizes for being a straight-up honest guy, and if Hudonsoft was going to make a board where there is nothing but absolute chaos, you may as well as go all out and that is exactly what they did. Aside from that, you have your standard snow board, desert board, water board, forest board and cave board, all tropes that are handled in other Mario Party games and handled better in my opinion. Again, it’s not bad, but it’s not really that great either. One thing I will give credit to Mario Party 3 for doing was introducing the 3-item system, where you could hold up to 3 items instead of just one, like in Mario Party 2. While I feel like Mario Party 2 didn’t need three items, it’s always nice to have extra options, and I’m willing to admit that. For me though, I really only find a handful of the items that useful and some of them only being good to have in very specific circumstances. I think the one thing that really does kind of kill my motivation when playing Mario Party 3, is really just the randomness. Which, I know is kind of a weird thing to say, just because it’s a board game with a lot of randomness already programmed into the game, but I’m moreso speaking in terms of how that randomness is delivered to the player. There are SO MANY THINGS that can just mess with the flow of a game in a matter of seconds. Whether it’s the awkward-to-time Action Time events, Hidden Blocks, random board events, the results of an item questionnaire, Game Guy…OH MY GOD! GAME GUY! Never have I hated a Shy Guy this much as I hate this jerk who can take every single coin you own, throw you into a luck-based minigame and toss all of your hard-earned cash down the toilet, when you have NO WAY to even choose otherwise. It’s just frustrating! I understand wanting to make a game where anyone can feel like they can win, but there should be some kind of balance here, a balance I personally think was more evident in other titles, and if not, still felt more tolerable than in this game. But again, that’s just my opinion. If you’re able to tolerate the chaos and thrive in it, more power to you.

As far as the minigames are concerned, I think we have an interesting case here. Honestly, I think Mario Party 3 has some of the best minigames in the entire series. Chip Shot Challenge, Mario’s Puzzle Party, Water Whirled, Picture Imperfect, Toadstool Titan; absolute classics that would be impossible to leave off of any list. On the flip side though, the game also features some minigames that can be absolutely unplayable. Cheep Cheep Chase, Bounce N’ Trounce, Bowser Toss, Motor Rooter, Stacked Deck, Merry Go Chomp; games that still give me issues and annoyances to this day. So it’s like, as much as I want to give this game a higher rating, there is always something that just kind of brings it down again. I guess you could almost say that Mario Party 3 was a very experimental Mario Party in a lot of respects, especially when we get to the next paragraph, but as far as what I’ve talked about so far, I just feel like there is way too much hit or miss going on.

Finally we have the extra content, which for Mario Party 3, definitely put a lot of faith in the Duel Mode. Not to be confused with the ultimate mech battles of Mario Party 5’s Super Duel Mode, this duel mode was more about two players visiting a small board and battling each other with classic Mario enemies while competing against each other in duel minigames along the way. Honestly, this feature was pretty well implemented in the game, and during my first experiences with the game back in 2001, I really did spend a lot of time playing this mode because I thought the idea was actually kind of cool. These days though, I can’t really say I have the same opinions. I think it is fun for what it is, but I don’t think it’s really enough to save itself from the issues I do have with this game. This was also the first game to introduce a Story Mode into Mario Party, which was a nice little attempt to play through tiny samples of the Party Mode and Duel Mode, but to be quite honest, I much preferred Mario Party 4’s rendition a bit more. It was shorter and had a bit less randomization to it.

So yeah, at the end of it all, I don’t hate Mario Party 3. Honestly, I can’t really say I hate any of the games on this list. It’s just the fact that of the games that follow the traditional and classic Mario Party gameplay, this is the game I had the most issues with. It’s still a game I can play and go back to every now and then, but there are many other games that I would choose to go back to first, and I think that’s what is important in a list like this.

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