This republished review was originally written in 2002, this review is unedited and appears as it did back then. We hope this review gives you an idea of how the reviewer felt at the time and at the end you’ll see a small review from today where you can see how well the game held up over time.
Can you imagine it? There is a meeting at Konami discussing new game ideas. The new guy ‘Bill’ stands up and says…
“Yeah, right, I have this idea and it’s about these monkeys, right… no, bare with me, right, these monkeys are in little balls right, and you have to tilt the floor to make the monkey in a ball move towards the goal. We could also add some multi-playing games like Monkey fight, where the have a springed fist on the ball, and monkey bowling and stuff…”
The room goes silent, then the head of Konami says…
“Bill, I want your desk cleared by Tuesday”
Bill then gets taken on board by Sega and says the same thing, but they listen, they have the same vision. And so it starts. It is one of the worst ideas in the world changed into on of the best ideas ever. Full stop.
So let me tell you what it’s all about. The main game is simple, tilt the floor to role the ball into the goal at the end of the course… sounds simple right? Well play Expert mode and shut up! I would like to go through every mode in the game just to show you how special it really is.
Here is where the game is meant to peak. You tilt the stage to send the ball into the goal and the stages get harder as you play. This mode is a HUGE challenge for any Gamer and is the most satisfying of any game I have played. You also earn ‘Play Points’ as you play. This unlocks extra mini-games. It can also be played as a 2, 3 and 4 player as you take the stages in tern. It does get competitive but it’s a shame you cannot earn play points when in multi-player mode.
This sort of mode has a couple variations. Practice mode lets you play stages you have already rolled a ball on. The stage doesn’t have to be cleared it just have had to be played on. This helps when you get stuck on the game, you can play that level over and over again until you get it right. Then there is competitive mode. Spit screen, first to the goal wins!
This is where the multi-payer heaven comes from. Three games live in this section and each is as fun as the next. Monkey race sees a four-player-split-screen Mario Kart type game as speed towards the finish picking up power ups. This mode could have been a game in it’s self. Monkey Fight is what you play when you are pissed… It’s a simple ‘try to knock your mates off a platform’ type game. Fantastic stuff. Last in the section is Monkey Target. The weaker of the three, mainly because you have to wait your turn which becomes boring when playing with three other mates. It’s still a good laugh though.
This is what you spend your play points on. Games that are just added extra to the ones you have already played. Usually these games are shit, accepted only as they are little games that are added on to the main one. Monkey Ball is different. I play most of the mini games more than I do the main one, and many will say the same.
Monkey Bowling is known to be one the best multi-playing games to date. I disagree, Monkey Fight and Racing should take that title! (Amazing to believe this is all one game isn’t it!) You then have monkey Golf. Nothing will make you want to kick your cube more than this game. It’s frustrating as hell! Then the final version… Monkey Billiards. Again this could be it’s own game, fantastic stuff.
This game really does hit home. I tell everyone that it brings back the life of video gaming. It forgets all that Genre/Emotion crap and concentrates on what is important… fun. If you have a Nintendo Gamecube I suggest you get four pads, and this.
The best game I have played since Banjo-Kazooie
This game is like a fine wine, just gets better with age. Nearly 15 years later and the game is better than ever with the single player offering all the hardcore gameplay a retro gamer could want whilst having some of the most fun mini games ever made. Monkey Fight and Monkey target are still staples in our gaming nights with friends as we spend hours smashing monkeys together.
Like almost every Sega arcade game, they absolutely nailed it first time and no matter how many sequels they make, and theres been many, they have never quite matched the perfection of the original. If you own a gamecube add this to your collection. The single player isn’t for everyone due to its difficulty but its one more go nature and extensive multiplayer options make this a brilliant game.