Who doesn’t love monkey balls?

When my friend Dave first got his Gamecube, I stood with him in line outside of Electronics Boutique before it opened. There were about a dozen other people there I believe. When Dave finally got to the register to pick up his purple Gamecube (the only color available much to his dismay), he also bought three games that were, coincidentally, compatible with his brand new system. Imagine that! He bought Luigi’s Mansion, Waverace 64, and of course Super Monkey Ball which is an upgrade to the arcade game simply called Monkey Ball. We drove all the way back to his house and powered up Luigi’s Mansion. We turned it off before the Gamecube Nintendo logo even finished drawing itself on the boot sequence because the game was so boring. Either that or the game was just really, really short. Then we plugged in Waverace 64. It was an awesome update of ummm, Waverace 64. Waitaminute… Waverace: Blue Storm is the Gamecube version! Yeah, that’s right. Not a bad game.

Anyway after that we powered up Super Monkey Ball and that’s when our other friends started coming over. They could smell the fun from their homes and naturally gravitated to where this game was being played. What a great, great day indeed. I was totally impressed with the new Gamecube due to this new game. And what a great game it was and still is! The memories of that day still linger in my head almost every time I play. Fond memories kick ass. I knew right then and there that this would be the best Gamecube game ever made barring the possibility of a superior sequel.

Navigate carefully down the path
but be careful not to hit the bumpers!

Story: 10/10
You are trapped in a ball for no reason whatsoever. You must get to the goal. If you get through all of the goals, you’re rewarded with tons of bananas. What more could a monkey want? This story simply kicks ass. Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings suck compared to the Super Monkey Ball story. You think Final Fantasy 3/6 has a great story? Guess what! YOU’RE WRONG! The storytelling here in Super Monkey Ball cannot be matched. We’d have to wait until Super Monkey Ball 2 to get a better story.

You can see here how easy it would be
to hop to the other side of the track. Many
stages have shortcuts to figure out.

Graphics: 8/10
Very sharp graphics and a constant 60 fields per second make for a very nice looking game indeed. Lots of color and well used reflections iron things out. Sega really seems to like the “checkerboard” style of grid as it was taken straight from Space Harrier. I certainly don’t mind that. This game has lots of visual style in the main game and all of its minigames as well. The backgrounds look nice and are well designed and the magnificent DOLE logo is represented in it’s glorious true form. Everyone loves Dole. We learned about Dole in high school from one of our crazy teachers who was trying to teach us that Dole was evil just because they steal land from poor farmers in foreign lands. Who cares? Would you rather see a Dole logo plastered generously all over Super Monkey Ball, or the face of a poor foreign farmer? Yeah, I thought so. Dole wins! Unfortunately the game does not support either 480p or widescreen which is unusual for Amusement Vision, the department within Sega who developed this game. The biggest graphical disappointment is that the ball does not fill up with monkey vomit as it rolls and flops around all over the place.

Monkey Target is so much fun, especially with friends.
This minigame has lots of intricacies to learn and master.

Sound: 8/10
The music in this game is great. Very catchy and appropriate. Of course you expect the music to be great since it was made by none other than T’s Music of Japan. T’s music also provided the fantastic music for Lords of Thunder for the TurboDuo. And of course let’s not forget the great music of Dungeon Explorer 1 and 2, for the TurboGrafx-16 and CD, respectively. You also get to hear the monkeys make tons of noise as they roll around in their spherical little prisons. They scream as they roll really fast or wobble on an edge. Great stuff! I know of no one who doesn’t appreciate listening to the sound of monkeys in extreme peril. The baby’s whining can get a bit annoying at times, but it’s never as grating as that horrible sound in Yoshi’s Island with the insipid little baby Mario. That game was audio torture and the reason I refuse to have children. Hmmm… maybe more people should play Yoshi’s Island. This game will make you want to have children… or at least steal monkeys from the zoo to put them inside of balls and roll them around the neighborhood.

The only thing monkeys are good for is flinging trough
the air with wild abandon so that we may obtain points.

Gameplay: 10/10
The gameplay is where this title truly shines. The single player main game is simply awesome. You roll around trying to get from start to finish. That’s it. But getting to the goal is not always easy… well it is for me but not for most players. Each of the skill levels has unique stages of their own. It’s best to start out on easy and work your way up to the hardest levels. Even though I can beat any of them any time now, I still love going through the main game. Occasionally there are bonus rounds where you must collect all of the bananas before the time runs out. Every 100 bananas you collect gets you an extra monkey. But other than that, the bananas are completely meaningless. Still though it’s fun to try to grab them.

There are no buttons to worry about pressing during the game, just the single analog stick is all you need. Control is more than superb, it’s downright perfection! Pressing the giant red button on the Gamecube controller will zoom in your map or zoom it out, but it doesn’t affect gameplay. Sega has made a game of everything, even inputting your name when you get a high score. I love that! When you beat the game, the credits appear as you try to collect as many bananas as possible while avoiding the falling letters from the name of the people who made the game. Yes, you even play during the credits! Classic stuff.

Then there are the really cool minigames like Monkey Race, Monkey Golf, Monkey Bowling, Monkey Fight, Monkey Target, etc etc. All of these games are fun, some more than others and all are multiplayer. Monkey Fight is a 4-player beat ’em up that is just random chaos, but fun chaos. Monkey Target is one of my favorite minigames as it adds strategy and requires super-precise control. Plus it has great music. It’s always a battle for the highest score and you can do some amazing things in order to get it.

This game offers TONS of replayability and value. It’s one of the most fun games I’ve ever played in my life. I purchased a Gamecube solely for this game and I do not regret it even one iota. For me, no other game of that generation comes close. It’s important to remember that my reviews are fact, not opinion. So if your opinion is even somewhat different, I’ll need you to change them to match my own within 3 business days.

I’m absolutely amazed that PETA hasn’t come down hard on Super
Monkey Ball. Probably because the monkey abuse only adds to the fun!

Wrap up:
This is the best Super Monkey Ball game on any platform and believe me I’ve played them all. This one just has everything. Super Monkey Ball 2 is also amazing but adds unnecessary mechanics like toggle switches to many of the boards and also its end-credits minigame kind of sucks. This game is also compiled with Super Monkey Ball 2 on the Playstation 2 and Xbox as Super Monkey Ball Deluxe. It’s good, but keep in mind that the analog stick on the PS2 and Xbox are nowhere near as precise as the one on the Gamecube controller. Because of this control in Super Money Ball Deluxe is much more difficult and sometimes the developer even forcibly snaps your ball into place due to these limitations. I really wish that they had it on the Gamecube since Deluxe offers 480p and 16:9. These days Super Monkey Ball mainly lives on portable consoles like the 3DS where it’s extremely easy but still fun and the Vita where it’s really tough and also pretty fun.

Overall Score: 10.234/10.235