Preview: Mario Party 6 (Nintendo Gamecube)

Publisher: Nintendo / Developer: Nintendo / Genre: Board Game / Release Date: 12-06-04

Mario is back and ready to party with the rest of his lovable cast in the new Mario Party 6.

The game play mechanics are pretty much the same as any previous Mario Party except the difference between this one is as clear as night and day. This time around, Brighton (the sun) and Twila (the moon) are arguing over who’s better; it’s up to Mario to settle the dispute in order to bring night and day back to their normal cycles.

Every three turns, the game board will turn from night to day and vice versa. Different games, characters, and even paths on the board will be available depending on what time of day it is. For example, night time can freeze over certain parts of the Snowflake Lake board to trap characters on the inside or the outside where they are vulnerable to attacks from the chain chomps.

Another key difference with Mario Party 6 is that instead of just collecting coins to buy stars, you can also steal stars from other players. You can get the aid of a chain chomp to blast other players on the board, or you can go into duel mode. Duel mode allows you to pick who you’d like to play against and choose what exactly you’d like to wager (stars, coins or both). Different boards have different objectives as well. The good news is you’re not going to be waiting around yawning for your turn to come around in this particular Mario Party. The game play has sped up a great deal from previous games so if you’re not rolling to advance on the board, you soon will be.

The cast of characters is listed to include Mario, Luigi, Peach, Yoshi, Daisy, Wario, Waluigi, Boo, Koopa Kid, Bowser, Donkey Kong and Toad. The playable characters are mostly the same from previous games but this time around Donkey Kong is in his own mini game that pulls you in when you land on his face. (That seriously sounds painful to me.)

The Nintendo GameCube Mic will be making a first time appearance in this game as well. The microphone oriented games will be available for you to give verbal commands. One of the microphone games, called Verbal Assault, is a one on three player mini game where if you’re the one on your own team you won’t even need to touch your controller. With bombs, lasers, fire, missiles, and even Bullet Bill at your vocal command you can be hard to beat in Verbal Assault. If you’re not comfortable with the microphone, you can always unplug it and play the other minigames that don’t need to hear your lovely (or not so lovely) voice. With more than 80 mini games (verbal and nonverbal) to choose from, you won’t be disappointed with the selection.

Mario Party 6 is set to release on December 6th and should come packaged with the microphone controller at the suggested retail price of $49.99 since it will be the first GameCube game that is compatible with the hardware. Keep your eyes peeled though, because it wouldn’t surprise me if Nintendo decided to do some kind of Karaoke game somewhere on the horizon as well.