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WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$ (GameCube) artwork

WarioWare, Inc.: Mega Party Game$ (GameCube) review

"Happiness comes in small doses folks. It's a cigarette, or a chocolate cookie, or a five second orgasm. That's it, ok... - Denis Leary (No Cure For Cancer, January 12th 1993) "

Happiness comes in small doses folks. It's a cigarette, or a chocolate cookie, or a five second orgasm. That's it, ok... - Denis Leary (No Cure For Cancer, January 12th 1993)

Of all the challenges the modern world throws at us, the biggest hurdle we have to overcome is without a doubt time... or more specifically, our perceived lack of it. From the wee hours of the morning to the last train home in the evening, the pressure to meet the next deadline grinds heavily upon us all. As the stress induced depression begins to deepen, pre-mature balding sets in and before you can say ''how about an extension?'' you've been married off and thrown wallet deep into a 30 year mortgage. Oh hello there Mr. Death, is it my time already?! Don't despair though, there is an answer! Being the socially minded purveyors of happiness that they are, Nintendo have served up an adrenaline soaked party game that not even our pocket planners can argue with. Showcasing the smallest of micro-games ever conceived, WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party Game$ has been custom made for the socially minded gamer who has trouble finding the time to get it on...

In the few minutes that it will take you to read this single review, someone somewhere has just partaken in approximately 50 rounds of WarioWare with their friends. And that, believe it or not, is no exaggeration. In grand old party game tradition, WarioWare challenges players to compete with each other across a series of randomized mini games. Where it differs from the pack however is that each game is played out against a tight 5 second time limit. Yes, that's right, it's all about those twitch reflexes! As each micro game is presented in randomized rapid fire succession, players are put through something of an endurance test as both their physical and mental reflexes are pushed to their limits. Not only are players required to decipher what each round's objective is, but they must also ensure that having done so they still have the time left with which to complete the challenge with. '''Arghh!'', ''!@#$! it!'', and ''I can't believe I just made that!?''... these are terms that you will become intimately familiar with. Be warned though, a heavy dose of attention deficit disorder may only be a scant few hours away...

That being said, never has the prospect of unbalancing one's mental health been so inviting. With some 200+ micro games available, there's always something new to see and do. Quick 5 second snippets of Nintendo brand classics F-Zero, the Legend of Zelda and Metroid are inter mixed with some truly obscure of challenges that have players boiling a kettle or stroking a cat to sleep. Wow! Who knew the mundane could be this exciting?! It's this incredible variety and the constant uncertainty of what's next that proves to be one of WarioWare's biggest strengths. And the fact that Nintendo have also implemented a number of different ways with which to frame the micro game madness has only served to extend WarioWare's longevity. Whereby one scenario may penalize failure by forcing players to balance themselves on an ever increasing stack of turtles, a quick change of the menu settings later and everyone's grooving to a whole new beat. Whether you find yourself on the receiving end of a friend's outstanding performance or are happily dishing out the penaltys, WarioWare is sure to fuel all your competitive desires. Heck, there's even a range of insanely addictive 4 player mini games waiting to be unlocked. Will this party ever end?!

As good to go as the 5 second gaming premise really is, Nintendo have sadly done returning WarioWare players something of a disservice thanks in part to their failure to update the large selection of micro games. Sure, framing the action with varying objectives may have been a stroke of genius, but that alone may not be enough to keep veteran players interested for too long. Which come to think of it may or may not be a bad thing after all. Due to the lack of new content, beginners will find themselves at a distinct disadvantage when competing against returning players. Though this is certainly the way of such things, when thrust into a party style gaming environment the whole experience can become decidedly lop-sided. Thankfully however this problem has been addressed and as such a customary, yet surprisingly dull in comparison. single player option has been included. While it may lack the highly energized excitement present in the multiplayer mode, it does serve a noble purpose in providing an extremely thorough, though albeit, unintentional training option. Lonely hearts on the other hand would do well to to pass over this release in favor of the single player friendly GBA original. It's that or find friends, what's it going to be?

If you do decide to settle for ''plan b'', you'd best ensure that your new found friends do not place too high a value on such trivialities as elegance and beauty. Though they are sure to appreciate your rugged good looks, WarioWare's old school graphical design may not necessarily be to their liking. After all, this is a game that wears its GBA heritage proudly on its sleeve. Though the micro games have received the barest of graphical touch ups, they are still for the most part pixel-for-pixel perfect representations of their much smaller portable cousins. What WarioWare lacks in 3d pizzazz however it easily makes up for with its abundant retro charm and memorable 2d character design. Supporting everyone's favorite anti-hero in his quest to party is a wide range of typically Nintendo-esque characters that vary in style from the adorable Kat and Ana to the downright wacky Dr Frizoa. While a handful of these characters are easily forgettable, the rest have been imbued with an indefinable charismatic charm that is sure to serve them well in any future franchise installments. Yay for having new heroes!

Ultimately when all is said and done, WarioWare is exactly what the party game genre needed at this precise moment in time. A seriously hard kick in the pants. With Mario Party sequel after Mario Party sequel continuing to disappoint, WarioWare has been something of a breath of fresh air for quality starved party goers. Doubly so if they've yet to experience the stress filled joys of the GBA release. With over 200 individual micro games to play through and a treasure trove of actual honest to God exciting bonus materials waiting to be unlocked, WarioWare is sure to keep players coming back for more. Where everyone else is concerned however, the decision whether or not to indulge can be resolved by answering one of 2 simple questions with an affirmative. Does the thought of playing the same old micro games again fill you with an inexplicable rage? Or did you love them enough the first time around to want to share the experience with your friends? If you answered yes to the latter then by all means, this is the game for you. If it was the former... well... perhaps it's high time to lighten up the old work load and cut back on the caffeine. After all, there is only so much you can fit into each day...

* Supports up to 4 players
* There are some 200+ micro games for players to master
* The 5 second micro game premise keeps the action fresh and unpredictable
* There's a veritable treasure trove of unlockable mini-games and extras for players to enjoy
* The freshly implemented objectives that now frame the micro games are simply inspired
* Though it may lack modern refinements, WarioWare has a unique graphical charm all of its very own
* Updated GBA sound effects and music come alive on the Gamecube
* Easily one of the best party games in recent years

* Like most party games, the single player experience lacks excitement
* Nintendo have sadly short changed gamers expecting new micro games
* GBA connectivity has been limited to simple extra controller duties

midwinter's avatar
Community review by midwinter (August 25, 2004)

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