Review by M A X_

"The most challenging game I have ever played"

Super monkey ball is a strange game but also a very fun game as well. There are 7 different gameplay options, which are all single player and multi-player. Since I am not very big on graphics and sound most of my review will focus on the one thing I think is most important in a game: gameplay. I will start by going through each of the main game.

Main Game:
The main game in super monkey ball has 3 different difficulties with more stages the higher the difficulty. Basically the whole point to the main game is tilting the stage (you don’t actually move the monkey, just the stage) so that your monkey in his (or her) ball goes through the goal at the end of the stage. The beginner difficulty of the main game is rather easy (which it should be) and you should only fall off a few times (depending on how good you are at the game) before you are able to get through all 10 stages. The second difficulty is advanced and it has 30 stages. This is where super monkey ball starts to get challenging. I have just managed to get through this level recently. I would definitely advise going through advanced before trying the third difficulty. The third difficulty is Expert and it has 50 stages. I am currently working on the expert difficulty and it is probably the biggest challenge I have ever had in a video game. Overall there is a huge challenge in beating the 90 normal levels plus the almost 30 bonus levels. It should definitely take you a long time to get through the main game and I think it is very well put together by sega and amusement vision. The other great thing about the main game in super monkey ball is that if you get bored of trying to beat it (which I highly doubt would happen) you can also play any stage you have unlocked in a challenge mode against up to 3 other people or you and up to 3 friends can go through a difficulty of the main game at the same time (except you do have to take turns). Overall I do not think they could have made the main game any better then they did.
Main Game Score: 10/10

There is also a lot to do in super monkey ball aside from just the main game. There are also 3 party games and 3 unlockable mini games (which you get by earning play points in the single player main game). Here is what I think about the party games and the mini games:

Monkey Race:
The name for this game basically explains it but I will go a little deeper. Monkey race (like most things in super monkey ball) can be played by up to 4 players simultaneously. The main objective is to complete the set number of laps before everyone else. I find that the monkey race plays a lot like the nintendo game Mariokart. In addition to just racing you can also hit speed up spots on the track that will give your monkey a temporary boost. You can also run into boxes that are scattered around the track, which will give you one of five weapons to use against your opponents. The 5 weapons are: Speed Star (basically the same as the speed up spots on the tracks), Banana Peel (leaves a banana peel on the track like in mariokart, which will cause an opponent that hits it to slip, but be careful you can slip on them your next time around the track as well), Bowling Bomber (rolls a bomb at your opponent that is not guaranteed to hit them), Polygon Ball (will change the shape of an opponent’s ball which makes it harder for them to roll. Just like the bomb though, it is not guaranteed to hit anyone) and Ice Cube (freezes an opponent and basically stops them dead. Also does not guarantee a hit). The choices are that you can race one course, all six courses or do a one-player time trial on a course. Overall monkey race is not a bad mode in super monkey ball but is definitely not my favorite (that will come later) and is not one that I play a lot.
Monkey Race Score: 7/10

Monkey Fight:
The monkey fight mode is very unique. In this game each monkey (up to 4 human or computer) is equipped with a spring boxing glove on their ball and basically you just punch away at everyone else trying to knock them off one of three stages. There are also three items, which are long punch, big glove and spinning punch. Every time you knock someone off you earn points. The player with the most points at the end of sixty seconds is the winner of that round. The first person to win the amount of rounds set at the start of the game is the winner. I do enjoy a good monkey fight with a few other people but I do not really like it as much when playing with the computer. Like monkey race this is not a mode that I play a lot but it is in no way a bad addition to super monkey ball.
Monkey Fight Score: 7/10

Monkey Target:
This party game is my absolute favorite part of super monkey ball and is the one game I play the most. The object of the game is to roll your monkey down a large ramp and once you fly off the bottom of the ramp you open your monkey’s ball and try to glide to one of 3 targets floating in the water on the screen, trying to land on the largest number of points possible (which can be anywhere from 10 points to 500 points). If you miss a target and fall in the water or land on the target with your ball still open you get nothing. You can also collect bananas that are either floating in the air, laying on the ramp or are scattered around the targets. There are 3 sets of targets that appear which are normal circle targets, pyramid targets and circle targets that separate. You also have the option of turning on help items and the wheel of danger (or the wheel of death as me and my friends call it). The help items can be earned by collecting bananas. The help items include turning off the wind, double and triple score, the ability to almost stop dead and the ability to stop dead where you land. The wheel of danger (depending on what is spun) puts bombs on the targets, spiked balls in the air or clouds in the air. There is also the ability to spin a safe spot on the wheel where nothing happens. The winner of monkey target is the person that has the most points at the end of the number of set rounds. Monkey target is a lot of fun with 2 people and is one of the most fun things you can do with 4 people. The great thing about monkey target (like all the alternating games in super monkey ball) is that you can still play 4 players even it you only have one controller. I do not think there is any way they could improve this mode and it is absolutely the best part of super monkey ball.
Monkey Target Score: 10/10

Monkey Billiards:
Now I get into the first of the three mini games, which take classic leisure games and transfer them into super monkey ball versions. The first game is monkey billiards. In monkey billiards you face either another human player or a computer player in a game of nine ball. The object of nine ball for those of you who do not know is to sink the balls in order from 1-8 and then sink the nine ball. The first person to sink the nine ball is the winner. You can also win if you manage to knock the 9 ball in after hitting the number ball you are supposed to hit. Monkey billiards is a very simple game to play and to understand once you know what you are doing and once you know the rules. It is also a fun game to play with someone else and makes a great game. The only thing that I think could have made this mode better is if you were able to choose other games besides nine ball to play.
Monkey Billiards score: 8/10

Monkey Bowling:
Monkey bowling is in my opinion (which is what this review is all about) the second hardest party/mini game in super monkey ball. I think most people know what bowling is so I don’t think I need to explain it. But for those of you who do not I will simply just say the point is to knock down the pins. The main problem I have with monkey bowling is that I find it hard to aim the ball. The ball is aimed in super monkey ball by stopping a bouncing line that goes back and forth. I know that the people who made the game did not want to make it easy but I do think they could have slowed the aiming line down a little. The other problem (now maybe nobody else has these problems because I will even admit that I am not the greatest at monkey bowling) is I seem to have trouble getting the right amount of spin. You put spin on the ball by pressing and holding L or R (depending on which direction you want the ball to spin). Overall monkey bowling is a good game but I find that it has a few problems.
Monkey Bowling score: 6/10

Monkey Golf:
The last of the three mini games is Monkey Golf. I said that monkey bowling was the second hardest party/mini game. This is the hardest! The control in monkey golf is basically the same as almost every other golf game out. You set the direction you want the ball to go and then use a meter at the bottom of the screen to choose the power at which you want to hit the ball. I think this is the hardest party/mini game because there are about 2 or 3 holes that my friends and me just cannot stop falling off of. Aside from that little problem monkey golf is great fun to play with a few people.
Monkey Golf score: 7/10

Graphics:
I said at the start of the review that I concentrate on gameplay in a game and not graphics or sound but I know that there are some people that want good graphics and sound so I will review them to. I have yet to see any real problem with the graphics in super monkey ball. I find that the backgrounds in the different levels are good and in the mini games they are great and clear.
Graphics score: 8/10

Sound:
There is not really much sound in super monkey ball. Music plays in the background on the levels in the main game. The music does not really get annoying but is not something you remember easily. The sounds that the monkeys make can get a bit annoying after a while but nothing big.
Sound score: 7/10

Replayability:
Super monkey ball has great replayability since it will probably take you a long time to beat the main game and some of the party/mini games are addictive (mainly monkey target). I find myself having trouble going one day without playing it for at least 10 or 20 minutes but I normally play it for longer than that.
Replayability score: 10/10

Rent or Buy?:
I would recommend that everyone at least rent this game. I would say buy it but I believe in always renting a game before buying it.

Overall Score: 9/10
I would probably give this game a 10/10 but I do not believe there is such a thing as the perfect game. Although this is pretty close!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 03/02/02, Updated 12/29/02


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