Super Monkey Ball
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9  |  Monkeys in Balls
basscomm , 5/15/2003 8:10:00 AM
I've just spent the last few days playing with monkeys in balls. My brain hurts.

Let's see, where to begin? Super Monkey Ball is a very peculiar game. To take a quote from the manual, you have to "guide the monkeys in the balls to the goal." That simple description really is all there is to the game, but it's really a lot more fun than that sounds.

The controls are very similar to those Labyrinth games where you have to roll a marble through a maze, only you control the maze instead of the marble. The same is true here, you don't have direct control of your Monkey. The only controls you need are the control stick to move the maze and the A button to zoom in and out on the handy little mini map in the corner.

Although the control scheme is simple enough, this game is HARD. They suck you in by putting some pretty easy levels on Beginner mode, but once you start on Advanced, the levels ramp up in difficulty fast. I tried Expert just to see how hard it was, level 6 defeated me and all my continues (I even took the warp from level 1 to level 5), and that mode goes all the way up to 50.

SEGA was also kind enough to throw in some... interesting mini games that you can play if you are having trouble with the main game (and you will). Of the mini games provided, I am drawn to Monkey Billiards. Monkey Billiards is, on it's own, a solid game of 9-ball, but packed in here, it's just icing on the cake (or gravy on the potatoes, I need to quit using these food analogies). Other minigames include the nigh-impossible Monkey Golf (super-insane golf with monkeys in golf balls), Monkey Race (sort of like Super Mario Kart with monkeys in balls), Monkey Fight (knock the other 3 monkeys off a platform with a giant boxing glove on a string), Monkey Bowling (monkeys in bowling balls), and Monkey Target (roll your Monkey Ball down a ramp and try to land on a target for points).

To sum up, this game is a lot more fun than you might expect because of the cute graphics, but it is not easy. If you grab yourself a copy, be prepared to engage in some stress reduction exercises. This game is maddeningly difficult. The mini-games, on the other hand, provide a much-needed break from the difficulty of the main game (and are done very well to boot.)

Overall, I'd give this game a 9. Certainly worth the $20 I spent on it.

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