When it was released on the Game Boy Advance a little less than a year ago, WarioWare Inc.: Mega MicroGame$ was an insane, though totally compelling, breath of fresh air. More than 200 little minigames were packed onto that cartridge, and the game served them up hot and fast, making for one of the most manic games ever made. But the game also had a lot of soul to it. The quick cutscenes between sections weren't long-winded, but they added a sense of continuity to the proceedings. Now the concept graduates to the GameCube in WarioWare Inc.: Mega Party Game$. This GameCube update is largely the same thing, right down to the GBA-quality graphics used in the minigames themselves. It also has a new multiplayer focus, which wraps a bunch of mostly unnecessary shells around what made the first game so amazing.
Now you don't need a Game Boy Player to experience GBA-quality graphics on your GameCube.
More than 200 different games are packed into WarioWare. The games are even more simplified than any minigame you've seen in other "party" games, and they revolve around one specific action per game. So in one game you'll be using a Wario-like bug to push a golf ball into a hole. In another, you'll quickly take on the role of Samus Aran and fire missiles at Mother Brain. One has you timing a button press to ensure that a set of roving fingers find their way into nostrils. Each game, at its default speed, lasts for around five seconds. But the default speed doesn't last long.
A big part of what makes WarioWare so insane is the way the game constantly speeds up. When things are slow, it's already a challenge to wait for a game to appear, identify what, exactly, you need to do, and then execute before time expires. But as you get better and better, the game runs faster and faster. Before long, you'll be running through games at ludicrous speeds, which forces you to practically enter a Zen-like trance to maintain focus. The game feels like a runaway train, and it's up to you to hold on for as long as you can until the wheels fall off.
That single-player mode of play is still found in the GameCube version of WarioWare, though some of the charm is missing, as the games are only presented in an elevator-styled setting. Gone are the taxicab, the monkey throwing bananas at cop cars, and the dojo-themed presentations that added so much to the GBA version. Additionally, all of the minigames are unlocked right from the start. On the GBA, you had to see a game during regular play before you could go practice it separately. But all told, the single-player portion of the game is a pretty small part of the overall package.
It's called Mega Party Game$ for a reason. Where the GBA game was a solo affair, the GameCube version has been designed to leverage those existing minigames in a multiplayer environment. So the game has a handful of different multiplayer shells to surround the minigames. One is a simple survival match, where players simply take turns playing minigames. You fall out of the running when you fail three times, and the winner is the last player left. They get even crazier from there. Ever wanted to play the popular board game Othello on your GameCube? Now you can, but you'll have to play a specific number of minigames successfully in order to claim a space. One game puts one player in charge of playing minigames while other players try to foul that player up by blocking portions of the screen. Another is the opposite, where the players who aren't playing the minigames control spotlights and must shed some light on the action so the minigame player can see what he or she is doing.