27 Sep, 2005

Super Monkey Ball Deluxe Review

Xbox Review | We're avoiding the obligatory playing with your balls joke.
Some games are just fun to play, amongst all the serious games, like Medal of Honour, Brothers in Arms and Splinter Cell we normally love nothing more than a game that easy to pick up and hard to put down. Super Monkey Ball fits perfectly under that banner and we still cannot get enough.

Super Monkey Ball was a launch title for the Gamecube in Japan in 2001. The premise of the game is simple, you play as a monkey in a ball, trying to navigate through a series of stages and reach the goal. It is very similar to Marble Madness but with monkeys. A sequel was released a year later, and whilst it wasn't that much different, it gave fans exactly what they wanted; more stages and more party games.

Four years after the original appeared in Japan (and after an N-Gage version and a Gameboy Version) Playstation 2 and Xbox owners finally have been treated to Super Monkey Ball Deluxe. As if the wait wasn’t long enough, PAL gamers actually had to wait another six months, but the conversion has been brilliant. The compilation contains all the stages from the original game, as well as all the stages from its sequel. Sega have also developed fifty bonus stages exclusively for the game. This takes the total amount of stages to three hundred.

Look at that cute monkey!

Look at that cute monkey!
The party games were often a great distraction from the main mode, and twelve of them have made the transition to this game. Some of the party games have actually had an upgrade of their own. The twelve games are Monkey Race DX, Monkey Fight DX, Monkey Target DX, Monkey Boat, Monkey Shot, Monkey Dogfight, Monkey Soccer, Monkey Baseball, Monkey Tennis, Mario Golf DX, Monkey Bowling and Monkey Billiards DX. These party games can be played one player, but are much more fun in multiplayer.

A new challenge mode has also been included in the game, which integrates skill, rather than selecting three difficulty settings the game gradually steps up the difficulty. This is better than just choosing a difficulty level, so we hope this mode remains in any future Monkey Ball titles.

The main mode of the game is still the story mode. Super Monkey Ball 2 implemented a storyline, and this has made it into the game. In the game Dr. Bad-boon (who is an evil scientist) has stolen all the bananas on the island, this sends the four monkeys Aiai, Meemee, Baby, and Gongon to go after Dr. Bad-Boon and navigate the mazes that they come across. The story is about as much as you can expect from a game where you roll monkeys around in a ball.

The story mode itself is broken down into worlds, all of the worlds are themed, such as magmas and water. Players need to complete ten of the maps to go onto the next world and progress in the storyline. Thus, in the last few worlds it is possible that the player has only completed about half of the possible stages.

The game play is where the game really excels. This game is just as addictive, and just as easy to pick up (and control thankfully) as it was in 2001. Failing the first time you attempt a level is nearly guaranteed, but the game keeps calling you back. Aside from the main mode the party games are most good, with monkey boat being the noticeably boring party game, that seems very out of place with eleven other really good party games.

So many selections

So many selections
Super Monkey Ball has never been about the graphics. Whilst the graphics are fairly simple, the game runs at a very smooth frame-rate, which is the most important thing for a game like this. There is next to no loading, which ensures that the game is very free-flowing. The monkeys look good, and clear and it is visually easy to tell this is a Sega game. The game is very colourful, with the levels looking very vibrant.

The sound takes a big backstep in this game, quietly fading in the background. However, the monkey’s are very easy to hear, if not a little too easy to hear. The monkey voices scream over the quiet music.

The game itself will take an incredibly long time to complete. In single player there is the challenge mode, the story mode and twelve party games, which all feature their own objectives. Multiplayer can easily double the lifespan, with party mode being an easy way to lose the entire afternoon. Unfortunately there is no online component of the game, which seriously could have made this the ultimate multiplayer game. Due to Monkey Ball;s addictiveness, coaxing people to play with you is not exactly hard either.

This is wheely fun

This is wheely fun
We’ve also heard that if you had to choose between the Xbox or Playstation 2 versions of the game, it would be advisable to pick up the Xbox version, as it is said to have smoother loading and a more stable frame-rate.

Super Monkey Ball Deluxe isn’t a surprising game, we were expecting an addictive pick up and play title and we got exactly that. The single player mode is extensive enough to play solo, whereas the multiplayer mode is so well developed that it is like twelve multiplayer games in one. Those who owned the Gamecube versions may be a little more wary about picking the game up, but for those who have always wanted to try Monkey Ball on the Gamecube, this is the perfect opportunity. Prepare to be lost for hours in this game, either single player or multiplayer.
The Score
Super Monkey Ball Deluxe is the best version of a great game, anyone wanting to play this game (but doesn't own a Gamecube) has no excuse anymore. 8
Looking to buy this game right now? PALGN recommends www.Play-Asia.com.

Related Super Monkey Ball Deluxe Content

Super Monkey Ball Deluxe Preview
26 Jul, 2005 We take an extended look at a monkey in a ball.
Super Monkey Ball Deluxe Announced for PS2 and Xbox
12 Sep, 2004 The Gamecube’s Super Monkey Ball games are set to hit the PS2 and the Xbox - with over 40 new levels!
Super Monkey Ball Deluxe Preview
26 Jul, 2005 We take an extended look at a monkey in a ball.
8 years ago
So this game contains both #1 and #2 in it while adding new levels and the like at the same time? Is it cool to only get this and not have to worry about the two seperate games on the GCN, or are there differences still?
8 years ago
There's no real differences as far as I can tell from my time with it. However you may want to consider the controller, the PS2 analog is just horrible for it. The Xbox stick is good, but I don't think its as good as the GCN controller. Go with whatever suits you.
8 years ago
What is more precise, Xbox controller or the GCN one? As far as I can tell, precision is the key with this game (haven't played it so I have no idea) and well that is important to my decision.
8 years ago
NismoR34 wrote
What is more precise, Xbox controller or the GCN one? As far as I can tell, precision is the key with this game (haven't played it so I have no idea) and well that is important to my decision.
I've played it round my mates and i'd have to say that the GC stick is better, by a hell of a long way actually. I'd probably have bought the game myself being a HUGE fan of the originals, but it's just not the same game on the Xbox pad icon_sad.gif I'd dread to think how the PS2 version plays icon_lol.gif
8 years ago
Right, well I guess I will be purchasing the GCN versions and this one then. (I'll get this new one on Xbox for the 50 levels that are new icon_wink.gif) Thanks for the information guys.
8 years ago
Just get the first one on GC, the second one isn't anywhere near as good apart from the extra multiplayer games which the Xbox version has.

SMB GC + SMB:Deluxe Xbox = icon_smile.gif
8 years ago
Yeah I'd go along with Chris on that. As far as mini games go the Xbox stick is fine. The stick is certainly adequate, just isn't quite as precise, making some of the more tricky levels, that little bit more tricky. Luckily most of the harder levels just require good timing, rather than tight rope walking.
8 years ago
Right, well the plan is in motion or something. Thanks a bunch for the information guys, it is appreciated. icon_smile.gif
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