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Super Monkey Ball

PETA will have a fit over this

Game Information
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Publisher: Sega
Developer: Amusement Vision
Genre: Puzzle/Party
Players: 1-4
Year: 2001
Memory Required: 3 blocks
Online: No
Dolby Surround

Settling The Score
It's simple in presentation, but then again, it's a simple game. It does have many more gameplay options over the arcade oringinal.
There's not a hell of a lot going on in terms of detail, but the textures are sharp and the framerate is constant. It really does look and play like the arcade game, only better.
The music is decent, but when you have to repeat a stage over and over and over again, it becomes pretty annoying. I'm not too fond of the noises the monkeys make, especially when losing repeatedly.
It's fairly easy to play, but it's tough to master. And as for challenge, some stages are needlessly brutal. But once you start, you can't stop.
Replay Value
It will take some time to get through all 100 stages, and when you finish with that, you have a handful of addictive minigames.
Reviewers Impression
It's fun until it becomes frustrating, and there were so many times where I thought one paticular stage was impossible to complete. But when you do finally get to that goal, it's pretty rewarding.
Overall (not an avg.)
Despite the fact that you spend most of the time using only the analog stick and nothing else, it's still one of the most addictive and challenging games out there. Well worth a look.

Written By Shaun McCracken

Super Monkey Ball. What a concept for a game! I mean really, monkeys in a ball? But as obscure as this concept is, Monkey Ball is really about classic arcade gameplay with a twist. Once you play, it may seem like you may have done this before, perhaps back in 1984's Marble Madness. But Monkey Ball is longer and much deeper than the arcade classic. A launch title for the GCN, Monkey Ball looked like a game that would appeal to a select few. But you would be wrong. As one of the Cube's earliest big sellers, Sega's arcade port provided more that a 30-minute experience. With so many single-player and multiplayer modes, Super Monkey Ball stands as one of Gamecube's highest replay value titles. There is just so much to do!

Monkey Ball's main premise is actually very simple. If you've ever played Marble Madness, or the wooden Labrynith games (which is how this controls), then you know it's all about going from start to finish in complex mazes. But Monkey Ball takes this a step further. The early courses are pretty easy, but then paths start to narrow, parts of the course move and even knock you off. In later stages, Monkey Ball starts becoming less fun and more of an infuriating addiction. You scream and swear every time you lose to the point of extreme haterd, and yet, you can't stop playing. And just when you think a course is damn-near impossible, you complete it by a stroke of luck and move on. And every course IS passable.

But the Main Game is only half the fun. The other half lies within the mini-games that you can play and unlock. You can partake in racing events, fighting, hanggliding, bowling, billiards and golfing. And best of all, you can do this alone or with friends. Nothing is reserved only for multiple players, everything is open. While all have their certain charm, some stand out as really good games. Monkey Target and Monkey Bowling turn out to be the most addictive, because it's the most fun. Monkey race has you going around a course and, what else, race. It's nice, but a little limited. Monkey Fight is just as it says, you fight. Knock off other opponents on three different boards. It's ok, but lacks much depth. Monkey Target is one of the best games. It's a mixture of hanggliding and target practice, but the mix of the two proves to be challenging. Monkey Billiards is basically pool. A nice looking table and surroundings, but is fairly limited. It's also kind of hard. Monkey Bowling is also one of the best. Other than the aiming, bowling is actually a very accurate game with realistic sound effects. Monkey Golf is the hardest. It's minature golf, but so much harder. Too many places to fall later on. You'll find what you're looking for in at least one of these games.

The graphics is not a showcase for the GCN's power. A game that could have been easily done on the Dreamcast, Monkey Ball offers a smooth 60 frames of animation but with not much detial. But as funny as it seems, the GCN version looks a lot better than the bare-bones arcade version. There's actually more detail in the home version than the arcade version. But at least everything looks sharp and looks really smooth. So Sega did the most they could with what little they had.

Sega is known for odd music. It doesn't matter what game they do or did, from Daytona USA to Sega GT to Sonic Adventure, Sega has had some weird or akward music that goes into their games. It's way too Japaneesy, it's very very pop. And Monkey Ball is no different. The music is mainly upbeat in the Main Game, and not too bad, but then get to the Monkey Bowling and it sounds like a really awful rendition of one of Micheal Jackson's songs of the early 80's. It's pretty hit and miss. And the monkeys are annoying as hell. And YOU CAN'T TURN THEM OFF. So you have to tolerate it or turn off the sound altogether. It's not the most impressive sound package, but in a game like this, what do you really expect.

The control is actually pretty easy to get the hang of and really really easy to remember. The only thing you need to know is that the stick moves the ball. That's it. Some game modes make you use A, but really, that's it. Probably the simplest control scheme ever devised. Controlling the ball is pretty tight and accurate, but on the narrowest of parts, it seems impossible to make it across. But that may be me. I don't have a really steady thumb.

Super Monkey Ball is a very addictive game with so many options to saitate your gaming needs for quite a bit of time. Just be prepared to deal with a high level of frustration.

Pros: Simple but effective graphics and a smooth framerate. Very addictive, and great for one player as well as four. Great replay value. Tight control.

Cons: Some stages are just brutal, which will result in quite a few four-letter words. Monkey sounds are annoying and can't be shut off. No split-screen two player mode in arcade. For some reason, you can't save unless there's 3 open blocks on your memory card, even if you already have a save file.

Bottom Line: It's a simple looking game, but it's really fun, really challenging, and at times, very frustrating. Great for a multiplayer game, but even better as a single player game.

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