After wowing many a classic gamer with his madcap ménage of microgames, Wario and company are back for more fast-paced, reflex-oriented twitch tests. Or is he? Known best as a cranky moneygrubber, Wario’s penny-pinching ways have seemed to rub off on Nintendo for this GameCube tie-in, a slapdash release that offers surprisingly little substance for fans of the handheld game. As a multiplayer experience, Mega Party Game$ never approaches the cooperative craziness found in the Mario Party series, probably because the developers were not given enough time to customize the gameplay. Instead, the team did the best they could under the circumstances, shoehorning a multiplayer element onto a game designed first and foremost as an
autonomous activity.

The first surprise is that none of the original’s games have been retooled for the big screen. What you are getting for your powerful GameCube is a shiny disc that functions almost identically to the comparatively limited cartridge. There are even GBA-style borders around each microgame, so those who already own the handheld version may feel slighted. The good news is that all 213 games are intact and are just as playable as ever. The microgames, so-named because they offer mere seconds of gameplay, have you instantly reacting to new and different play styles culled from years of classic gaming history, including Nintendo’s own past, from the Game & Watch LCD games to the ill-fated Virtual Boy.

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