Super Monkey Ball is a game that is just plain silly. The premise (if it can be called such) is that there are a bunch of monkeys trapped in large transparent balls. The only logical conclusion of this, of course, is that the ball-trapped monkeys must play lots of fun and silly games, all while still inside the ball.

The "main" game involves speeding the monkeyballs down various diabolical tracks without falling off. Some will be quick to point out the inevitable similarity to Marble Madness, but the physics and game mechanics are actually different (each floor is timed separately, falling into the abyss kills you immediately, you have lives, falling a large distance onto ground does not break the ball etc. etc. etc.) and the level designs are mostly a far cry from anything in Marble Madness. You start off with the Beginner Level, in which the floors are all nice and easy (often trivially so), move on to the Advanced Level, where the floors provide a good challenge but become doable with lots of practice, and then onto the Expert Level. Apparently, the designers for Mario's LostLevels got fired for making SMB2J too hard, and after 15 years of bitter sulking, they were hired by Sega to create the Expert mode of Super Monkey Ball. OK, maybe that's not what really happened, but I think you get the point. I generally find Advanced more fun because of the milder difficulty, but Expert gives me my daily dose of evil (and hey, I have been making slow-but-sure progress).

Outside the main game, those crazy monkeys play billiards, golf, and bowling, all of which involve many dizzy monkeys. There's also a good Mario Kart-ish racing game, "Monkey Fight", where the monkey-balls are outfitted with boxing gloves to knock the other monkeys out of an arena, and the current favorite, "Monkey Target". Monkey Target is very clever. The idea is that you have to get your Monkey to land on targets of varying point values. To do this, you send your monkey flying down a ginormous ramp, which launches it through the air. But wait, it gets even better! The ramp by itself is not enough to get you all the way to the targets, so at some point in flight, you open the ball and it turns into a hang glider. From here, you try to fly to the targets, and then close up the ball again for a crash landing.

Anyway, while not the most impressive GameCube title out there, SuperMonkeyBall is really quite a lot of fun and certainly gives you a lot of bang for your buck.

I really want to try some competitive play when we get back to Mudd... -- EvilSouthie

Competitive Mode Thoughts: Competitive mode has been played a bit, and it's fun and gets more people in on the action, but could have been a lot better. First of all, there is never collision between monkeyballs, which removes some of the appeal of having multiple monkeyballs running a track at the same time. Also, the level set-up leaves much to be desired. You can only run up to five floors per competition, and they have to each be selected manually. It probably would have worked better if they gave you an option to select how many floors you want, and then select a starting floor for a sequence, or just request a random selection of floors (perhaps limited to a selected difficulty).

Especially evil levels:

I find it interesting that the floors are not at all arranged in order of difficulty. On the Expert Level, Floor 7 was possibly the hardest, the last ten were among the easier, and the final floor (while facinating), was practically a joke.

-- AlexBobbs

Miscellanous Evil-

Miscellaneous Fun-


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Last edited December 11, 2002 23:46 (diff)