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Super Monkey Ball – GameCube


Platform: Nintendo GameCube

Developer: Amusement Vision (AV)

Publisher: Sega

Release Date: Late 2001

Genre: Party, Puzzle

Nerd Rating: 80/100

When I first saw the cover of Super Monkey Ball at a GameStop store, I said “WTF!” But was somehow attracted to it.  I love weird games like this. Weird games like when Parrappa the Rapper first came out. Weird games like Super Magnetic Neo on the Sega Dreamcast.  The cover is playful, colorful, and obviously aimed at kids.  But don’t be mislead, because this game is fun for all ages and DEFINITELY challenging for all ages.


The purpose of the MAIN game is to lead your monkey, who happens to be in a ball for some reason that is never explained, from the start line to the finish line.  Each level is a platform that is floating in the sky and designed with different obstacles, shapes, difficulties, bananas, and secrets/bonuses.  Each stage has a series of challenges that hinder your success, such as holes in the ground, upward or downward ramps, bumpers, walls, narrow passageways, etc.  The true challenge is keeping your monkey on the platform.  Everything is designed to either knock you off the stage, and KNOCK YOU THE EFF OFF THE STAGE IT WILL!

There are 3 versions of the main game, normal (10 stages), advanced (30 stages), or expert (50 stages).  By beating normal you will 83453-super-monkey-ball-gamecube-screenshot-watch-for-moving-platformsunlock advanced. By beating advanced you will unlock expert.  Each set of stages has its challenges, but if you are a newb, it would be wise to begin at the lowest level and work your way up (perhaps trying to beat normal with less lives lost).  There are a number of scattered bananas in each stage, and each banana gives you points that go towards unlocking some of the mini-games (monkey golf, monkey billiards, and monkey bowling).  These games are worth the frustrating battle of the main game as they are a nice addition to the already varied world of Super Monkey Ball.

In addition to the mini-games you will find the awesome party games.  Instantly you’re attracted to “monkey fight” because it sounds awesome.  Basically you and 3 of your friends go through a variety of different stages, and each of you has a giant boxing glove on a spring and you try to punch the other monkeys off to be the lone standing victor.  It is truly a blast, but it is certainly mindless button mashing as you will soon discover.  Monkey race is exactly what you think it is, but is far from enjoyable when you think about how you could just put Mario Kart Double Dash!! in immediately after playing Super Monkey Ball.

The true test of a man’s worth is how well he does in Monkey Target.  The main-game is fun and very challenging (oftentimes overly so), but the Monkey Target dares you to play it and play it again.  It begs for you beat your old score and get more familiar with its 9 landing platforms.  The premise behind Monkey Target is to glide your monkey (who opens his ball and uses it as wings to glide, not fly, Super-Monkey-Ballaround the world just a hundred feet above the ocean) from the ramp all the way to the platform, which is covered in different segments and different points (anywhere from 10 to 300, with 300 being considerably hard to land on).  It sounds simple right?  Fly your monkey, close the ball, land on a platform, and then roll onto the points you want… easy? No. Not at all.  First off, when you leave the ramp you’ll immediately notice a strong wind that is tugging your monkey (ha…ha…ha…) all over the screen and making it extremely hard to control.  Secondly, once you close your ball, you’ll begin your decent.  Thirdly, this world is typically loaded with many obstacles that make it challenging to land in a good spot, much less stay on the platform (obstacles such as bombs on the ground, spike bombs in the air, small platforms, etc).  Worry not ye monkey dude, because learning how to control your monkey, earn help items, and use these help items will help you increase your final score of 120 into crazy scores in the 1,000s after a while.  But it takes some work. So stick to it!  Grab your friends and turn it into a fun night!

Simply put, Super Monkey Ball is a great game, and is a true challenge to any person’s patience and character.  When I was younger I had the ability to die and die over and over and continue to try again and again.  But as I got older, I found my patience for the main game dwindle into mere nothingness; but my divine love for the Monkey Target game continues to captivate my attention (even though it’s tough to get my beer-chuggin’ roommates to do anything but eat fast food and drink 20 beers a day).  The main game is stupid difficult and will seriously make you squeeze your Wave Bird until it breaks into tiny pieces.  Normal is crazy easy until you get to the 10th level, advanced is stupid hard and you’ll notice how difficult it is by stage 3.  Expert is hard right off the bat and truly churns your insides and drives me to madness.

There’s also a fun little way to go through the credits when you beat the game! I’ll leave that one for your discovery when you finally grab a hold of this game!

If you’re on the fence about spending the $10-15 on Amazon for the complete copy of Super Monkey Ball (because you wouldn’t buy just the disc, would you?!), I’d say go for it!  You’ll love it. Your kids will love it. And you’ll get a chance to beat the crap out of your son in the game!  It’s worth every dollar and the game has more depth than one would think.  Amusement Visions really put together an odd-ball game here, but it’s a treasure in every aspect.  Be sure to check out Super Monkey Ball 2 for similar monkey ball fun!  Snack on the bacon bro!

Nerd Rating: 80/100

Don’t miss The Cubist’s review of Super Monkey Ball Banana Splitz for the PS Vita!

Submitted by NerdBerry

Written by Nerdberry


What’s up yall? David “Nerdberry” here! I am the founder of Nerd Bacon and the current co-owner (and CEO) along with partner David “theWatchman!” I hail from North Carolina, hence my love for all things pork! Oh, you’re not familiar with NC? Well I’m not 100% sure, but I am pretty confident that NC and VA lead the nation in pork production. I could be wrong, but even if I am, I still love bacon!

Come enjoy some bacon and games with us yall.


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  1. Pingback: Super Monkey Ball Adventure - GameCube - Nerd Bacon Reviews

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