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