Review by Lagunathemoron

"Super Monkey Ball is amazing!"

The european line-up for the Nintendo Gamecube was quite amazing. Star Wars, Super Monkey ball, Luigi's Mansion, Sonic Adventure II and other good games. The downer for the launch is the absence of Pikmin and Super Smash Bros: Melee. However, Luigi's Mansion and Super Monkey Ball are the only games I need at the moment.

Now the two games I got are very, very original. The one you are reading about is Super Monkey ball, and it is amazing. Based on the idea from Marble Madness and Kirby's Tilt and Tumble, You control a monkey in a plastic ball and must get it to the end of the level. You can't jump or anything, just roll by pushing the stick on the controller. You must be thinking that rolling from one part of a level to another is very easy, and you will be forgiven for been wrong. The thing is, you do not control the monkey in the ball, you control the world around it.

The game feels like you are actually controlling the ball though, but you control the whole board by tilting it. You need to control the speed of the way you tilt the table. Tilting it slowly is safer but wastes time on the strict time limit. Tilting the board fast is quicker, but you have more chance of going in to an obstical... or even falling off the edge of the level.

At the start of the game, you get to select which of the four monkeys you wish to control. There is Aiai, the ''main character'', there is Baby the baby, Meemee the cute monkey and finally Gongon, the strong monkey who you wouldn't want to make mad. There is not too many differences with the different characters though.

Scattered on the levels are banana's. These are only optional but if you collect one hundred banana's, you get an extra life (You'll need them). Each banana is worth one banana, and a bunch is ten banana's, but are very rare!

There are three difficulty modes to start off with, Easy, medium and expert. The easy mode starts off with levles which takes seconds to finish (I beat level one in 2.88 seconds believe it or not), but later levels in the easy mode take a bit of patience. The later levels for medium and hard mode are very hard and take all your skill.

What makes Super Monkey Ball very hard is the levles (of course) AND the number of lives you have. Super Monkey ball is harder this way, but normally puzzles are all about having unlimited goes on a puzzle!

So you want a break from the run of the old mill? Super Monkey ball offers six mini games. The whole game itself can be played multi-player and the mini-games are multi-player too. We have Monkey Target which is the most fun out of the collection. You start off on a roulette and have a handicap or clouds, spikes, bombs or if you are lucky, nothing. You then go down a ramp in the style of Crazy Taxi's Crazy Jump and glide to a target. You then have to land, which is a jump itself as the monkey's tent to roll all over the place.

The second of the collection which is a racing game called Monkey Race! In six courses, the Mario Kart style game allows you to control the monkeys in a race of a life time, with it's own obsticals and power-ups, like a tomb of ice, bombs, banana skins or turbo-boosts. The downer on this game is that all the other cars- I mean balls go much, much faster then you. Reminds me of Sega's Hang-On really...

Then we have Monkey Fight! An arena appears and the four monkeys in their respective balls and each are armed with a boxing glove. Your aim is to knock them out of the areana and it becomes very fun, very fast. You see, lots of power-ups come in boxes which you must open, like HUGE boxing gloves and large boxing gloves. This game is fun, but it does not beat Monkey Target!

Those were the games that you can play from the start, we also have three other mini-games which you have to unlock. There is Monkey Bowling which is simply a knock-over-pins contest. Monkey golf see's us playing golf with Monkeys (What a combination!) and finally, Monkey Billard is a pool/snooker type game with the Monkeys, yet again!

So that long section contains the Gameplay, how does the graphics make Super Monkey ball good then? Well, Sega are true genius' at graphics, so it comes to no surprise that Super Monkey Ball is cute, full of colours and looks fantastic. The character animations are one of a kind, and will make you laugh when the monkey's are running around their balls. The levels are beautifully designed, and everything stands out wonderful.

The music and sounds all have the arcade feel to it. The narrator sounds like the commentator from Wave Race 64 and the music is calm and fits very, very well with each and every level.

The challenge in Super Monkey Ball is through the roof. The final level on Easy Mode takes some beating. There are only ten levels on easy mode, thirty on medium and a whopping FIFTY levels on expert/hard mode. Plus they are some extra stages which you need to unlock, so you are looking at many hours of Gameplay just to beat the game, you can forget about the high scores and secrets for now.

Some of the secrets involve a lot of skill. How about beating the hard stage without loosing one single life? You better be good!

Overall, Super Monkey Ball makes a brilliant launch title for everyone buying a Gamecube. This title should not be underestimated because of the cute looks or the fact it has funny looking monkey's in it, every game needs this in their collection because of the gameplay alone. You cannot go wrong with Super Monkey Ball, as it only has a few trivial downers.

Good

- A Unique puzzle game
- Fun
- Addictive
- Lot's of things to do, The mini games will last you hours!
- Challenging
- Hardly any loading time. Takes about five seconds to load up the main game

Bad

- The number of lives makes the game harder... much harder
- In Monkey Racing, the other players tend to be much faster then you are.

Summary:

Graphics - 10/10
Music - 9/10
Sound - 9/10
Gameplay - 10/10
Challenge - 8/10
Enjoyment - 10/10
Lifespan - 10/10
Overall - 9.4/10

Alternatives: Dig out the old classic for Marble Madness. Kirby's tilt and Tumble is close to Super Monkey Ball. The future releases which are going to be like Super Monkey Ball are Kirby's Tilt and Tumble II, and Super Monkey Ball II

Should I get this if I own Marble Madness/Kirby's Tilt and Tumble? Yes, you should. This takes the genre to the next level. Lot's of challenging levels and mini games to play! This is one title you should buy for the Gamecube, even if you have played Kirby's Tilt and Tumble or Marble Madness!


Reviewer's Score: 9/10 | Originally Posted: 05/04/02, Updated 05/04/02


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