Review: Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Party Game$ (Nintendo Gamecube)

Game: Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Party Game$
System: Nintendo GameCube
Genre: Party Game
Developer: Nintendo
Publisher: Nintendo
Released: 4/06/04

When Wario Ware, Inc.: Mega Microgame$ was released on the GBA last year, it caught me completely off guard. Over 200 mini-games, yet only five seconds or less to complete them apiece. The formula was practically THE recipe for pure addiction, and it served more than enough helpings to keep me glued to my GBA for weeks.

So when I heard that the game was to be translated to the GameCube, I was pretty happy. Then I heard that every game from the GBA version was to included with no changes, so I became skeptical. THEN I heard that the games would be worked into multiplayer modes. My mood then shifted to “intrigued”. Taking the same 200+ games that provided complete and utter insanity on my handheld system, and bring them to the big screen with a way that four people could enjoy them at once. Does this ambitious idea work? Or does it fall flat on its face? Let’s find out in…


THE OFFICIAL 411GAMES REVIEW


STORY

The first thing that comes to mind when I think of this game’s story is…not much. Probably because there really is NO story to the GC version of the game. Unlike the GBA version, which had a loose tale involving Wario scamming the world into buying a game he developed, there doesn’t seem to be one surrounding the basis of this game.

What you WILL find are a few animated cut scenes containing the game’s principle characters: Wario, Jimmy, Mona, Dribble & Spitz, 9-Volt, Kat & Anna, Dr. Crygor, and Orbulon. These cut scenes are simply in the game for humor value, and add NOTHING to the game other than giving it the sense that the developers are insane.

In fact, there might be a story in here somewhere about how insane the developers REALLY are. If you thought the stuff in the GBA game was crazy, wait until you see some of the interesting things that were included here. There are several different openings that involve tiny ants beating up full-grown people, hundreds of fingers located in hundreds of noses, lazy butt-scratchers, Wario the Bat, and others that simply defy belief. Then we have some of the new material included that makes you look at it about 15 different times before you figure out that its not your imagination. This hilarious stuff saves this category from becoming scoreless, and when you play the game, you’ll see exactly why.

Story: 6/10


GRAPHICS

The in-game graphics fall into two main categories here: the mini-games, and stuff that isn’t a mini-game. Let’s get to the mini-games, or the “old stuff”, first.

The mini-games look EXACTLY as you remember them. In fact, if you were to put the GBA game in the GB Player, and compare it to the GC game on another TV, I’m sure you’d be hard pressed to tell the difference. There have been NO visual enhancements, and only a few color changes in the transition in order to prevent blinding the player in their tracks on certain games. And since the games have been blown up so much, some of the games end up looking a bit more pixilated than usual, and in some cases, a little blurry.

On the other side of the coin, you have graphics outside of the mini-games. And these graphics are beautiful in comparison. The menus animate beautifully, the animated movie scenes are top notch, and the visuals in the multi-player games range from beautiful to bizarre. You’ll get the most out of this game graphically if you end up using the multi-player, or if you simply watch all the animated introductions to the game. After all, there has to be SOMETHING to supplement GBA graphics on a 128-bit console!

Graphics: 7/10


It’s the Wario Bunch! Staring Mona as Alice.


SOUND

Just because we’re subjected to plenty of GBA graphics does NOT mean we have to be subjected to GBA sound. Luckily for us veteran Wario Ware, Inc. players, Nintendo decided to bump the sound quality up to GameCube levels by redoing the music in the game with clearer instruments and recorded in stereo rather than mono. Not only that, but the music does not increase in octave as you progress through a single mini-game, so you’ll be less distracted by it as you try for high scores. (I personally LOVE this.)

Sound effects, for the most part, are still mono quality in the mini-games, but new ones were recorded for the menus and the multi-player. And as far as voice clips are concerned, none were added; yet none were taken away. Overall, the sound has been upgraded tremendously, and it definitely shows.

Sound: 8/10


CONTROL

Behold the simplest control scheme on the planet! For all the 200+ mini-games included, the controls involve ONLY Up, Down, Left, Right, and A as their inputs. And for the most part, these are the only buttons you’ll need to worry about the entire game. Some multiplayer modes require the B button for actions, but not many.

Now the controls translate VERY smoothly from the handheld to the console, mostly because they’re so simple. However, there is an added bonus to consider in regards to controller’s analogue sticks. The game will except directional input from THREE sources: the D-pad, the left analogue stick, and the C-Stick. This makes the game incredibly easier to control in regards to the GBA game. Some games are better controlled with the D-pad, while others (like games where you need to spin) are easier with the analogue sticks. It allowed me better control on an already great control scheme.

Control: 10/10


Takin’ a nice, relaxing stroll around the GBA.


REPLAY VALUE

There’s a LOT to do in this game. The only problem is that if you played the GBA version, you’ve done about 70% of it before.

First you have the Single Player mode, which remains practically unchanged from the handheld game. You can either go into each mini-game individually and improve your scores (all of them are unlocked in the beginning), or play some modes either taken from, or inspired from, the original GBA game. You’ll start with one endurance mode which takes you through every mini-game once, and then you’ll unlock other various modes of play, such as Easy, Hard, and Thrilling Modes. There are unique modes to the game, such as Time Attack, where you need to finish a set number of games in the shortest time possible.

The problem here is that if you did play the GBA game, hardly any of this will be new to you. I know I felt a little cheated after playing the original for a few days to prepare me, and having to do everything ALL OVER AGAIN when I had no one else to play with.

But the real fun comes from the addition of the multi-player mode. You and three other friends can compete in several unique games that involve the usual mini-games you’ve come to know and love. And believe me when I say that each game is more insane than the last.

You’ll start with a spotlight mode where each player will appear on a dance floor and play mini-games when a spotlight is shown on them. Messing up means losing some of your fans, and messing up three times eliminates you completely. After that, you can pick more hilarious stuff, including a mode where one player plays 15 mini-games, and the other players appear on the screen to block their view. Then there’s a “hot potato” mode where players take turns playing as a balloon fills up on top of a TV screen. If the balloon bursts if you’re playing, you lose.

While many of these modes are competition based, there are two multi-player modes that involve cooperation more than anything else. One mode has each player visit an insane doctor who wants you to play mini-games while doing something else, such as smiling, frowning, recalling an embarrassing experience, striking a pose, etc. The other players decide whether or not they listened to the doctor, and press A to applaud. The player with the most applause wins at the end. Also, there’s one mode where the screen is completely dark, save for a few flashlight beams. One player plays the games, while other players shine flashlights on the screen to allow the first player to see.

The game keeps records for each player as long as each player registers a profile. Not only will each player’s multi-player stats be kept, but also will records in single-player games and individually ranked mini-games. The scores will be ranked and displayed on individual high-score boards as well, increasing the replay value of Single Player mode by leaps and bounds. This one GC disc becomes the ultimate competitive game as players constantly jockey for position on the high score boards, as well as the multi-player stats.

To sum it all up, you don’t want the game if you have no friends or siblings to play with. If you do, than you have one of the craziest competitive experiences the ‘Cube can offer.

Replay Value: 9/10


BALANCE

Single-player games, like always, are balanced by the number of rounds you need to play in order to clear them. Easy games have 25-30 rounds to clear, while the harder ones have only 10 rounds to clear. This adequately balances what usually are incredibly easy mini-games.

For the multi-player modes, the game is EXCEPTIONALLY balanced. Even novices can take out the expert players in certain modes. For example, in a game where you need to scan and play “Wario Ware E-cards,” you have the ability to steal cards from your opponents as they are playing. Plus, if you make a mistake in this mode, you lose ALL your cards, where they’ll be up for grabs when other players begin their turns. Little twists like this make sure that no one has a complete advantage at ANY point during the game. Very well done.

Balance: 9/10


Don’t you hate it when you’re a bat and you’re constipated? I know I do.


ORIGINALITY

Unfortunately, with all the stuff literally transported off of the GBA cartridge, the game doesn’t score as many points in this category as it could have. All the mini-games are the same, and haven’t changed at all.

What inflated THIS score up was everything that was built around it. The multi-player games, the animated intros, the interesting “story” segments, and all the little extras that have been thrown in there helps out what would have been a terrible score. Plus, there ARE 15 extra “multi-player mini-games” thrown in there that allow four players to go nuts. These must be seen to be believed.

Originality: 6/10


ADDICTIVENESS

Even with so much of the game the same, the addictive qualities have not changed one bit. No matter how much you want to label the Single-Player mode as a cheap knock-off of the GBA games, you’ll still find yourself gravitated towards it, and you’ll play all the mini-games just like before. They could release these games on FIVE DIFFERENT SYSTEMS, and you’ll buy and play them all. I’ve never seen such a simple concept work so well before, and it’ll show as you play for six straight hours without a care in the world. And this doesn’t even BEGIN to measure the addictiveness of the Multi-Player modes, which add hundreds upon HUNDREDS of hours to the game. You might never pick up your Super Smash Brothers Melee game again. You’ve been warned.

Addictiveness: 10/10


Paper planes racing! What more do you WANT from this game?


APPEAL FACTOR

I can see the game appealing to plenty of people. Most of the buyers will most likely have played the GBA game before, and will want to continue the insanity with other people. Others will buy it because they have four controllers, a bunch of friends, and need another multi-player GC game. Still others will buy it since they haven’t played the GBA version, so everything will be new to them. In any case, all these people won’t buy it for the fun value alone. I mean, it’s only thirty bucks! It’s insane fun, AND light on the wallet!

Appeal Factor: 8/10


MISCELLANEOUS

I feel like Nintendo did a very good job bringing such an addicting concept to their console. The package may not have some key elements from the GBA game, but it added plenty of GC-exclusive extras to keep players coming back for more. When I thought the game would be horribly lacking, I was relieved to discover the package was “complete”. I feel VERY satisfied with my purchase.

Miscellaneous: 9/10


Not quite the reaction you want after your run-in with the rectal thermometer…


THE SCORES

Story: 6/10
Graphics: 7/10
Sound: 8/10
Control: 10/10
Replay Value: 9/10
Balance: 9/10
Originality: 6/10
Addictiveness: 10/10
Appeal Factor: 8/10
Miscellaneous: 9/10
TOTAL: 82/100