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Monkey Ball

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Released: 2000

Genre: Strategy

Format reviewed: Arcade

Publisher: Sega

Developer: Amusement Vision

Submitted by: Steven Jackson

In the year 2000, Sega released Monkey Ball at the arcades. Nearly a year later Sega ported Monkey Ball to the Gamecube as a launch title and renamed it Super Monkey Ball. While the two versions are basically the same gameplay wise there are some changes which both take away and add to the game.

Monkey Ball has the player guiding one of three monkeys named Aiai, Meemee and Baby, all with their own strengths and weaknessess across the stages to the finish line, while not trying to fall off the stage itself, leading to a life being lost. This simple gameplay only needs a joystick and button (to choose what course and monkey you want to play with) to play the game. The original arcade game has got a novelty banana shaped joystick which really gives the game some personality and a fun look. The player has the choice of what course difficulty they want to tackle from Beginner (with ten courses) Advanced (with Thirty courses) and Expert (with fifty courses). From this choice at the start of the game people can choose whether to play it safe and achieve a high score or try and finish the game on the hardest difficulty, which believe me isn't easy to accomplish.

The game is bright and colourful and really has some great graphics giving it a really good 3D feel. The controls are spot on meaning it is your fault if you die not the game and the gameplay and level design is addicting and fun. The game has some really catchy tunes and the sound effects are really cool.

As I said earlier the game was ported to the Gamecube as the hugely successful Super Monkey Ball and if anyone owns a Gamecube it is a must have game. It is a perfect port apart from the absense of the banana joystick at the arcades. In the Gamecube version the graphics were improved and bonus stages were added. Aswell as this their is a new character called Gongon added bringing the roster up to four monkeys giving even more variety to this game.

To conclude Monkey Ball is another brilliantly original arcade game by Sega which got a perfect port on the Gamecube giving the game the justice it deserves. Although Sega created a successful franchise around the Monkey Ball name none are as good as the original arcade game or Gamecube port. The original Gamecube port is cheap to pick up on e-bay and if you own a Gamecube or Wii (don't forget that the Wii is backward compatable with the Gamecube) it is a game you really in your collection.