Review by Sheepy99

"All Hail the Dole Banana"

What can I say about Super Monkey Ball that hasn't already been said? Its the most unique game to come out since Marble Madness. Stranger still, Nintendo's old rival is publishing it on a Nintendo System (Oh and I guess a little blue mascot came out too, but thats another game). These are strange times. Anyway on with the review.

Story -
I dont remember seeing any story in the booklet so this is where I insert my own. I guess a monkey family has been trapped inside little hamster balls (ah the hamster ball). This does not deter this determined family of monkeys from doing everyday monkey things like; eating bananas, racing, jumping of a ski jump, playing pool, bowling, and falling off a ledge to their monkey death.

First let me talk about the main game. If you ever played Marble Madness on the old NES, then you remember how frustrating it was when you had to navigate a narrow space only to watch your poor marble fall. Well now replace marble with a monkey in a ball. Oh and you dont actually control the monkey, you control the land. So move the analog stick up and the land tilts down and you monkey goes forward. Its a very weird way to control the monkey. I think the most enjoyable part is actually the mini and party games. You have to unlock the mini games but the party games are ready from the get go. Party games include Monkey Target (think ski jump), Monkey Fight (where you punch people off a platform with a big glove) and Monkey Race ( where you take your monkey and race him/her in the style of Mario Kart minus the Kart). The Mini games take 2500 points to unlock each and I've play most of them and they just dont hold the same appeal as the party games.

This is a puzzle game and because of this the graphics dont always shine, but this is not true for monkey ball. Everything thing in the game is nice and smooth. The backgrounds are very nice and terrainis like a giant Sonic the Hedgehog game (checker board). Even though there isnt ''eye candy'' this is a first generation Gamecube game and it sets the standard on how party games should look. Nothing fancy mind you, but its no NES either.

The sound fits the mood for the game you play. Especially the Monkey Race music, but its nothing you haven't heard before.

Some of the levels on normal gameplay are INSANE. But as long as you have friends you will be playing the mini and party games for a while.

The Final Tally:
Story: 5 (No story just a monkey trapped in a ball)
Gameplay: 7 (You dont move the monkey you move the screen, except in the party and mini games)
Graphics : 7 (nothing fancy, nothing terrible either)
Sound : 7 (average puzzle game sound, nothing stick out)
Replay : 7 (The only thing keeping you coming back are friends and the party/mini games)
Final Score : 7
GameFaqs Score : 7

This is a first for so many reasons. First game from Sega, first puzzle game for Gamecube, first game to star huge Dole Bananas. Honestly Whats up with DOLE Bananas everywhere. I havent seen this much blatant sponsorship since 1080 Snowboarding for N64 (Tommy Hillfigure) and TMNT 2 on the NES (Pizza Hut). I hope this isnt a new trend or something.

Reviewer's Rating:   3.5 - Good

Originally Posted: 03/11/02, Updated 03/11/02

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