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Super Monkey Ball

Developer: Amusement Vision | Publisher: Sega
Players: 1 to 4 Player Game | Release Date: 11/17/01 | Genre: Party

Leave it to Sega to come up with a crazy new title that suck gamers in from the word "go". Super Monkey Ball for the Nintendo GameCube is certainly not your average game. Monkey Ball is something entirely new and it offers a nice change of pace for gamers who are looking for something different.

In Super Monkey Ball you control a monkey who is, oddly enough, trapped inside a transparent sphere. Technically you don't control the monkey, you tilt the platform floor and the monkey rolls accordingly. However, it is much easier to pretend you're controlling the monkey. If you focus too much on tilting the platform, you're bound to forget about the monkey's positioning and send the poor 'fella tumbling to the ground far below. The object of the game is to reach the goal in each level. Along the way you can collect bananas and if you gain 100 of these, you get an extra life.

The game's premise may sound simple, but I can assure you that it is anything but. The most obvious danger is rolling the monkey over the edge of the platform. This results in the monkey plummeting to an unpleasant demise. To make reaching the goal more difficult most courses will have several obstructions that you must carefully maneuver around. Also, some levels contain incredibly narrow paths that you must navigate without falling off. Without a steady hand and complete concentration, you will stand little chance of completing these courses.

In the main game mode, you rack up points that can be used to unlock several mini-games. These mini-games include Monkey Bowling, Monkey Billiards, and Monkey Golf. It takes 2500 points to unlock each one, but they're definitely worth it; and besides, Monkey Ball is so fun, you'll play more than enough to earn all the necessary points. Super Monkey Ball brings even more to the table with its party games. These are great multi-player games, but then again, so are the other modes in this game. The party games range from boxing to racing and will provide hours of entertainment for you and your friends.

The graphics in the game are nothing special, but they're certainly adequate and they don't detract from the experience. Some effects are done really well and look great, but for the most part they won't make you wet your pants. The same can be said for the sound; it's not the best, but you could certainly find worse. In general, neither aspect takes away from the game.

Pointing out any negatives in Super Monkey Ball is rather difficult. There really aren't any major problems to complain about. The only thing I can see people having trouble with is the rotating platforms. When you tilt the platform, it can be a bit disorienting at first, but after playing for a time, you get used to it. I suppose some might whine about how difficult the game is, but so what if the game is hard? If it was easy, there wouldn't be a point to it. It takes some real skill to navigate some of the advanced and expert levels, and taking away that challenge would cheapen the overall experience.

To be honest, I wasn't expecting all that much out of this game, but after playing it, I can say with confidence that this may be the best of the entire GameCube launch line up. This is one of the most addicting games I have played in ages, don't let the "puzzle game" label fool you, Monkey Ball provides plenty of fast-paced action that will have you crawling back for more. Sound crazy? Hey, I know, but get over your macho image and give Super Monkey Ball a try, you'll be glad you did!

By Ryan Schaefer - 11/15/01
ESRB Details: Mild Violence
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Screenshots for Super Monkey Ball

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