Review by Cube Critic
"3rd Party Sega joins Nintendo"
Super Monkey Ball is Sega's first attempt as a 3rd party company. No longer in the console business, Sega is now creating games for Nintendo, X-Box, and Playstation 2. The first Sega game for Gamecube, Super Monkey Ball, was an attempt to produce insane multi-player fun and captivate players in a grueling battle of agility/control in the single player. Did it live up to the hype that magazines and reviews are giving it? Nah, not really. The controls to this game are anything but complicated. By moving the control stick, one alters the floor to move a monkey incased in a ball across the floors. Although the player is technically moving the floor and not the ball, it looks very much like the monkey in the ball is being moved. The character selection is lacking. There are four different monkeys to chose from and none to unlock. Even worse, there are no significant differences between the four monkeys in skill and so it will hardly make a difference in which one you chose. While the single player mode delivers great challenge, it shows little promise and is hardly worth completing. But it's not the single player mode that was supposed to captivate players and draw them into the intense monkey insanity. That is the multi-player mode's job and with 6 sub-par mini games, Sega has fallen short in their attempt to create the ultimate multi-player game. The games include racing, a terribly done monkey fight, monkey target where the player lands on targets for points, a terribly frustrating and poorly done golf, billiards, and the highlight of the game, Monkey Bowling. Only two of the mini games are worth playing and gamers who expected to finally have a video game worthy of playing a drinking game during, you're looking in the wrong place.
The lack of detailed mini-games and the limited control and fun on the single player slide this game down from what Sega may have been expecting. I must give it credit for the challenge to unlock the Extra Expert levels and Master Mode though. The problem is, many players will be drawn away by the lack of controls necessary to play the game. Perhaps that is the greatest flaw in the game play and in the fun itself. The control stick and the A button are generally all that is used in the game and sometimes the A button seems irrelevant...unless you find a dire need to change the size of the map in single player mode.
Someone could have tacked on a ''64'' at the end of this title and I would have never noticed the difference. Or perhaps it's unfair to degrade the graphics down to the level of a console made in 1996. Still, the game is primitive in the next generation of games and certainly could have looked a tad fancier.
The repetitive 6 seconds or so of music that repeats in most of the modes of play is bad enough, but was it truly necessary to make a flamboyantly energetic ''man'' be the announcer? Absolutely not. The audio in this game needs some serious tweaking or perhaps it just needs more. None the less, it's not Cube worthy.
Cube owners can pass on this one but I suggest renting it. The multi-player modes will get irritating real fast and your friends will find more fun with your old Atari after a while. It's worth the 5 or 6 bucks to rent it but perhaps I could have picked a better game at launch in my bundle.
Sega fell short in the fun that they were trying to create in ''Marble Madness 2''. The potential for a great party game is there but the games are too simplistic to get seriously involved in. Perhaps Sega's next try with Sonic Adventure Battle 2 will have more effort behind it.
Reviewer's Rating: 3.0 - Fair
Originally Posted: 12/09/01, Updated 12/09/01
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