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Super Monkey Ball 2 (GameCube) artwork

Super Monkey Ball 2 (GameCube) review

"One of Gamecube's launch titles, Super Monkey Ball, was a surprising success and Gamecube owners were pleased to learn that a new Monkey Ball game was on its way to the Cube, supposedly featuring more challenging levels, better multiplayer and rehashed graphics and gameplay. It sadly doesn't exactly stand up all of those expectations. "

One of Gamecube's launch titles, Super Monkey Ball, was a surprising success and Gamecube owners were pleased to learn that a new Monkey Ball game was on its way to the Cube, supposedly featuring more challenging levels, better multiplayer and rehashed graphics and gameplay. It sadly doesn't exactly stand up all of those expectations.

In Super Monkey Ball 2, all the features from the previous Monkey Ball game are still there, from Challenge Mode to Party Mode, plus a new one, Story Mode. Story Mode is basically the same as Challenge Mode, except that it has a little story of its own to go along with it. The story, apparently aiming at young kids, tells you about the mad Dr. Bad-Boon who stole the bananas and asks for Meemee's hand in return for them. The monkeys then do a magical dance to get into the balls to go after Bad-Boon. I suppose no one will want to buy this game for its story.

The originality of Super Monkey Ball comes from the way you have to move a monkey (which is inside a magical ball, to precise) on a complicated path, avoiding obstacles, in order to reach the goal under 1 minute. Super Monkey Ball 2 re utilizes this same formula, but it seems to lack the originality and imagination that went into the levels of its prequel. The precision you had to have in SMB seems to have been replaced by the frustrating luck factor. Most of the levels now consist of moving the monkey at the right time more than making your way through a narrow path. You no more have to be concentrated, but only lucky. This really killed the game for me, considering how hard some levels can be. Having to restart the same level 10 times in a row, waiting for luck to come at me was no more fun.

Story Mode offers you 10 different themed worlds, each featuring 10 levels. The problem here may be the fact that you absolutely have to clear these 10 levels to reach the next world. Some of the levels are sometimes so hard and frustrating that they'll make you want to give up on the game, preventing you from seeing the next world and advancing further in the game. Challenge Mode often re uses the same challenges as Story Mode, sadly, but is somehow more entertaining than Story Mode. You can choose from three different difficulties; Beginner, Advanced and Expert. You can even unlock the Master difficulty.

You can play up to 4 players in Challenge Mode, and try to gain Play Points. You receive play points from collecting bananas in the levels or finishing the levels very quickly. The play points can then be used to unlock fun party games, each representing a different sport or activity. SMB2 has the same rehashed party games than SMB, plus twice as much as before, 12 in total. You can play up to 4 players, as usual, choose from 4 different monkeys, and try the new tennis, soccer, boat race, shooting, bowling, baseball, pool, racing and many more mini-games. Most people choose to buy Super Monkey Ball 2 for its high multiplayer value, but gaining the play points to unlock all the mini-games (you start off with 6) could take you quite some time of single player mode since most require many play points.

SMB2's graphics have been improved since the first game of the franchise, now featuring really nice backgrounds. This isn't a game where you will really look at the graphics, most of the time too concentrated on the path in front of you, it often just serves to create an ambiance for the overall level. The graphics are unfortunately not very varied. The first world being in a jungle, all the 10 levels inside this world will have the same background. There are some nice effects, like the realistic lava in the volcano level, for example and the feel of really being underwater in the water level. Something that isn't very varied either is the music. It isn't very good nor special, only serving to create a feel to go along with the backgrounds. You will more than often just not be noticing it at all, concentrated on the gameplay. The sound of the ball bouncing on the floor is very realistic and the cry of your monkey too, although it can become quite annoying after a while of hearing it (considering how many times you will end up dying and your monkey crying).

Super Monkey Ball 2 is an overall fun game, despite some flaws, and can bring you a pretty challenging experience, although quite frustrating at times. If you're looking for something to play with your friends, SMB2 will pleased you, but the single player experience may disappoint you, not offering the same kind of fun Super Monkey Ball offered.

Graphics 8
Sound 7
Controls 10
Gameplay 8

wishingtikal's avatar
Community review by wishingtikal (November 08, 2003)

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