Sonic Party 5 is the fifth installment in the Sonic Party series. Like its namesake, it is a party game for the Nintendo GameCube that up to four players can participate in, succeeding the Nintendo GameCube's first Sonic Party installment, Sonic Party 4. It was first released in November 10, 2003 in North American territories, approximately one year after Sonic Party 4 was released. As in other Sonic Party installments, players interact with one another in virtual boards, playing as various Sonic characters. Players then can participate in various mini-games at the end of every turn in the board, each with their own set of rules and settings. The most notable change in this game is that the item system that was first introduced in Sonic Party 2 was replaced with the new capsule system, where players can not only use them for their own advantage but set up traps for other players to fall into; Sonic Party 6 and Sonic Party 7 would later return the capsule system (now called Orbs) and add new mechanics to the capsules. Sonic Party 5 also introduces new modes such as Super Duel Mode, where players can battle each other on battle machines and Bonus Mode, where players can play special mini-games, similar to Sonic Party 4's Extra Mode. The game is also significant for being the second in the series to introduce 3D game boards. Previous titles, all except for Sonic Party 4, use pre-rendered backgrounds, which are static and limited in their presentation. As a result, all subsequent Sonic Party titles, with the exception of Sonic Party Advance on the Game Boy Advance, have employed 3D backgrounds allowing for much more dynamic fields of play.
Sonic Party 5 features the Star Spirits (known as Star Guards in this game) from Paper Sonic as the main hosts of the game, where one of them guides the player through each of the game's various modes. The game features a dream-theme, where the game takes place in the Dream Depot and each of the boards' names have "Dream" suffixes. In the game's Story Mode, geared towards single players, a playable character has to face Dr. Eggman and the Metal Sonic (known as Mini Dr. Eggman in the PAL version), who invade the Dream Depot, and need to challenge them in every stage.
Sonic Party 5 became part of the Nintendo Player's Choice label in October 22, 2004, and won the Console's Children award at the 2004 Interactive Achievement Awards.
The gameplay in Sonic Party 5 is the same as in other installments. Players move around the board by rolling a Dice Block numbered one through ten. The game begins by deciding the order of play with Dice Blocks. Players who roll the highest numbers get to start their turn sooner. Then players are given ten rings to start. The object of the game is to collect as many Chaos Emeralds as possible. Each Chaos Emerald is worth 20 Rings. Stars appear in random, set locations, which get shuffled every time a player acquires a Chaos Emerald. Players can earn coins to purchase these Chaos Emeralds by either landing on spaces or winning mini-games. The spaces players land on can either be beneficial or harmful: for example, Plus Spaces award players three rings, Minus Spaces deduct three rings, and ? Spaces cause an event to happen, which is dependent on the board being played. Players also have the option to receive items called capsules at capsule machines, which replace the Item Shops of the previous entries of the Sonic Party series. Players can toss capsules onto spaces or use capsules on themselves for a price. Plus or Minus Spaces that have an icon on them mean that they are under influence of a capsule and their effects is dependent on the capsule effect it has.
After everyone moves, a mini-game starts; the type of mini-game is determined by the color of the panel, which is dependent on the space the player has landed on. If everyone has the same color, then a 4-Player mini-game begin. If players have equal amount of colored panels, a 2-vs.-2 mini-game is played. If all players except one have landed on the same space, a 1-vs.-3 mini-game commences. Sometimes, a battle mini-game take place and everyone pays Rings to put at stake to compete, with winning players receiving more rings than lower-placed players. After a mini-game, players earn 10 Rings if they win, with Bonus mini-games having the potential of players receiving even more rings. Other mini-games such as Duel, Dr. Eggman, and Big the Cat mini-games require a specific space-landing or item usage for the mini-games to be played; these do not happen at the end of a turn as normal mini-games. After normal mini-games are played, the game saves and the next turn begins, repeating the process until the end of the game.
When there is only five turns left, the Last Five Turns Event starts. Here, Dr. Eggman announces the current standings and asks the player in last place to spin the wheel to add a new rule for the remainder of the game. Also, when two players land on the same space, a Duel mini-game begins.
After the final turn, Eldstar announces the results starting with the current Chaos Emerald count and the final coin count. Then, players receive three Bonus Chaos Emeralds based on their performance before announcing the winner of the game, which is the player with the most Chaos Emeralds overall (with coins or Dice Blocks serving as the tiebreaker).
The main mode of any Sonic Party game, including Sonic Party 5, this game mode is hosted by Omochao. Up to four players can enjoy the mode as they partake against each other in the game's boards to collect the most Stars. Four players always participate in the game. If there are not enough human players, the remaining players are controlled by CPU. Characters are then chosen out of the roster of ten playable characters; CPU players can have their difficulty adjusted as their characters are chosen. In a Team Match, players can choose which character can be on what team. The main rules of the game are played in this mode; however, players can adjust various settings to change up some aspects of the game before they play the mode.
Story Mode is a single player mode hosted by Hero Chao. In this mode, the player participates on seven, smaller, modified boards facing the three colored Chaos. The difficulty is dependent on what the player has set before playing on the boards, and players can adjust which mini-game set will be used before play. The main objective is to eliminate all three of the Chaos before they eliminate the player; in order to eliminate a Metal Sonic, the player must make them lose all of their rings, either by dueling them or using capsules to make them lose rings. If players loses all of their Rings, they lose the game. In this game mode, mini-games are not played at the end of every turn. Unlike Party Mode, players can duel Chaos by simply passing them rather than either landing on a Duel Space, using a Duel Orb, or landing on the same space as them. There are no rings put at stake; rather, a set number of rings are lost depending on which character wins and which character passes who. If players pass or land with a Metal Sonic, players losing have 5 rings deducted while winning against a Metal Sonic costs him 15 rings. When the Metal Sonic passes or lands on the players, they duel the players; losing costs the Chaos 5 rings while winning cost players 10 rings. All the Chaos move at the same time, quickening game play.
A new space introduced is the VS Space, exclusive to Story Mode. Landing on it triggers mini-games dependent on the number of Chaos on the playing field; if there are three Chaos, a 1-vs.-3 game is played. Two causes a 2-vs.-2 mini-game to be played, where the player is partnered with a CPU Omochao. Only one Metal Sonic on the board causes a Duel mini-game to be played. An error is present in the instruction booklet of the game: the instruction booklet lists a 2-vs.-1 mini-game that can be played upon landing on this space when no 2-vs.-1 mini-games can be played in Sonic Party 5. In addition to the exclusive VS Space, Big the Cat Spaces and Dr. Eggman Spaces have their rules changed. If a Metal Sonic lands on a Big the Cat Space, half of his coins are taken away. Players who land on a Big the Cat Space have 10 rings rewarded. The flipside occurs for Dr. Eggman Spaces: Dr. Eggman takes half a player's rings away upon landing on the space while a Metal Sonic receives 5 rings.
After the player beats four of the six default boards, the player then battles the Chaos in the unlockable board, Dr. Eggman Nightmare. After the players beat the Chaos in that board, the player faces Dr. Eggman in Frightmare. Upon winning the mini-game, players beat Story Mode, unlock Frightmare to play in Mini-Game Mode, and unlock the Dr. Eggman Nightmare board to play on in Party Mode.
Mini-Game Mode is hosted by Dark Chao, where up to four players can play the mini-games of Sonic Party 5 that they have unlocked. Mini-games are unlocked by simply playing them in Party Mode or Solo Mode at the end of every turn. Mini-Game Mode offers six ways to play the mini-games.
- Sonic the Hedgehog
- Miles "Tails" Prower
- Knuckles the Echidna
- Princess Sally Acorn
- Cream the Rabbit
- Amy Rose
- Shadow the Hedgehog
- Rouge the Bat
- E-123 Omega
- Sticks the Badger
- Metal Sonic
- Dr. Eggman
Sonic Party 5 brings the ability for players to team up from Sonic Party 4 back and extends the concept. In this game, players now share rings and their Player Panel on the screen. Unique team names are also given out to all combinations. Here is a table containing this game's possible team names, all of which are carried over into Sonic Party 6.
- Toy Dream
- Rainbow Dream
- Pirate Dream
- Undersea Dream
- Future Dream
- Sweet Dream
- Dr. Eggman Nightmare