i’m in the midst of a long game so i thought i’d put up a quick post to spotlight a webcomic that i rediscovered recently, brawl in the family. i’ve dipped into a fair number of video game-related online comics but haven’t really found many that kept me interested for very long. pixel pals, which i posted about last year was one exception, although it seems to be on indefinite hold. brawl in the family is another exception and is, fortunately, alive and kicking. it features charming hand-drawn, oftentimes extremely simplistic artwork befitting its first main character, kirby, but there’s a surprising range of art styles that have been used. although originally the strip’s focus was on kirby and the denizens of dream land, it expanded to include the brawl universe in general and has developed a wide range of humor, including a recurring series of sight gags of kirby and the surprising results of his copy ability and an april fool’s series of waluigi comics. i think video game fans, particularly nintendo fans, will enjoy the strip which i find to be more consistently funny than most, but don’t take my word for it: check it out yourself! oh, and be sure to check out this great mario cartoon with three alternate endings.
i’ve been playing the original super monkey ball off and on for a while now, but i sat down and finished advanced mode and tackled expert mode … only to be completely waylaid by expert level 7. apparently this is one of the harder levels in the game, and although i was finally able to beat it in practice mode, i was so demoralized at the thought of having to beat it again and again and again that i set the game aside for now. but it should be noted that levels that i had trouble with in advanced mode became pretty easy after i played through them numerous times, so it’s likely that i’ll eventually master that level as well as the rest of the game given enough time.
aside from the painful level of difficulty there was a lot i enjoyed. first off, it’s always nice to see a new IP, and sega scored an immediate hit with their debut of the monkey ball series. the presentation has the same unique combination of stylish/cool/cute that sega has become known for. the difficulty can perhaps be attributed to sega as well, although it’s notable that amusement vision, a subsidiary of sega, also worked on the similarly painfully-difficult-but-fun-and-stylish f-zero GX, which i played a while back. this game is also known for including a slew of much-better-than-average party games, including monkey fight which i became somewhat addicted to (probably one of the few party games that i’ve gotten hooked on).
it’s also notable that this was a launch title for the gamecube, because the controls are so spot on and the graphics are pretty solid. i’m curious about how the versions on the other platforms fared, because the gamecube analog control stick proved to be nice and sensitive, although at times it felt a bit too large and thus awkward under my thumb. maybe i just have small hands. 😛 i also appreciated the fact that given enough playthroughs eventually you’ll unlock unlimited continues, making getting to the higher levels much less of a remote possibility (although to unlock everything you still have the challenge of making it through on one life or one continue). at times i felt that this game should’ve been called “a million and one ways to watch a monkey fall off of a cliff”, but in any case, i’ll definitely be coming back to this one and checking out the various sequels.
monkey bawlin’ links:
– FAQ at IGN with difficulty ratings for each level and one at gamefaqs with ASCII maps
– a monkey fight FAQ
– list of unlockables at IGN
– the game got a lot of great reviews, all acknowledging the huge difficulty. here are nintendojo’s and IGN’s.
– entry at wikipedia
– entry at metacritic