Posted 2002-11-03 10:14:57 by
I really enjoyed the original Super Monkey Ball, so when I heard a sequel was coming out, I knew I had to get it. Unfortunately, it sucks.
The primary reason it sucks is that whereas the first was a game of skill, the second is a mostly game of chance with some minimal skill required. In levels like “Launchers,” “Arthropod,” and “Air Hockey,” success depends almost entirely on luck.
These levels would never have made it into the original -- recall that it was possible, given enough practice, to finish Expert and Expert Extra on one three-life continue, to unlock the Master levels. In Super Monkey Ball 2, they were able to allow this only by giving the player the ability to upgrade the value of a continue, up to 99 lives per. I didn't bother.
The dumbest level of all that I played (all of story mode, beginner, advanced, expert, beginner extra, advanced extra) was “Switch Inferno.” It's really in a class of its own. “Switch Inferno” presents the player with a matrix of perhaps a hundred switches, one of which opens the goal, the rest of which kill you. This level... was designed with the sole purpose of irritating the player.
I am truly astonished that this was the work of the same design team that made the original. I want to know how all this shit got through beta testing, because it must have come up. These problems must have come up, and someone must have made the decision to ignore them. On what basis? Did said decision-maker believe that “Switch Inferno” had artistic merit, perhaps? Did Amusement Vision decide that player frustration was a good thing? This is not just a rhetorical question. I really would like to know.
The party games are still cool, though. The original six are back, each improved to some degree, along with six new ones which include “Monkey Dogfight,” a flight combat “sim,” and “Monkey Shot,” a rail shooter. Pretty fun.