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Ironically, the Gamecube's best launch game is also its least impressive graphically. It's not ugly, by any means, but the graphics are mostly purely functional and subservient to the gameplay. It may sound simple and repetitive but Super Monkey Ball is pretty much the dictionary definition of addictive, perfectly balancing the intense frustration at failing to complete a course with the absolute desire to have "just one more go". To make matters worse the later courses are so fiendishly difficult it' s as if Beelzebub himself has risen up from hell and designed a puzzle game.
The single player mode is maddeningly addictive, but it's the four-player larks, either on the standard puzzle courses or through a bunch of wacky mini-games including monkey bowling and monkey fight, that mark Super Monkey Ball as a true gaming classic. Its lack of showy graphics may unfairly limit it to cult status--just make sure you're part of the cult.--David Jenkins
As to the mini/party games, I especially enjoyed the monkey golf and monkey target (a mini version of pilot wings), and they are lots of fun when you have your mates round.
The main beauty of this game is how simple it is to control and to pick up, as opposed to some games. My girlfriend (who hates playing console games) picked this up very quickly, and was hooked as well.
The only reason for not buying this game is that you have other things to do in your life. But if you do buy it, you probably won't care about them anyway.
But then add Monkey Race, a Mario Kart style cartoon racer; the loopy Monkey Fight (where your ball is customised with a spring-loaded boxing glove to whack opponents off the playing platform); and the delightful Monkey Target (zoom off a ski jump and fly your monkey towards drop zones far out to sea) -- not to mention three mini-games to be unlocked when you save enough points -- and SMB starts to look like one of the best deals in gaming history. Those crazy Sega guys have even made a mini-game out of the credit sequence.
There's something to suit every mood, from the frenetic (Race) to the serene (Target), and enough multiplayer modes to ensure that this disc will never be far from your Cube. As the previous reviewer suggested, you might not get out much. But who cares? If the world were like Super Monkey Ball, it would be a better place. A legend in the making.
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