Super Monkey Ball
Reviewed by James Wardle
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.
- A Unique puzzle game
- Lot's of things to do, The mini games will last you hours!
- Hardly any loading time. Takes about five seconds to load up
the main game
- The number of lives makes the game harder... much harder
- In Monkey Racing, the other players tend to be much faster then you are.
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!
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