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Chacham's Journal: Super Monkey Ball 2 (GameCube)

Journal by Chacham

Well, after loving Super Monkey Ball, it was time to rent SMB 2 and get some more exciting levels. So, I rented it. In one word, "Blech!". It ain't worth it, and it doesn't live up to the original.

I searched google, and found this as the first review I looked for. Only one I saw, and I almost completely agree with it.

Here's some comments.

Advanced 15, along with Expert 7, showed up the genius of Monkey Ball better than any other area of this brilliant game. Sure, other levels showed greater scope and originality, but these were simplicity at its absolute elegant best.

Yes.

More than that, they required pure skill and immense concentration to complete.

Couldn't agree more.

If you failed it was always your fault, if you won, it was all because of you. That was the genius.

How true. That one paragraph was well written and reflects my feelings on the matter.

To explain, Launchers is a case of falling off the beginning platform onto the base of a large cylindrical structure in which the goal rotates horizontally across its peak. Along the base are four 'launchers' that will fling the monkey high into the air, the idea is to land through the moving goal during the decent. It's certainly not impossible, but the level requires almost zero skill and maximum luck.

Not true. The level is difficult, and stupid. But it requires a bit of skill, not luck. The key was to use the mini-map. That stupid, mostly useless, screen real-estate-wasting map in the lower right corner can be used to land on top. Once I realized that, I did it within five to ten tries.

There are others too, the suicidal leap in Advanced 30 Arthropod,

Reviewer was a moron. There's no reason to jump. Just time the movement of the goal. It passes on top at around 35 seconds left on the timer. If you leave at a medium speed with 38-39 second on the timer, you can roll right into it, no jumping required.

Again, though, it is mostly stupid.

or the excruciating vertical platforming experience that is Expert 6 Jump Machine

Ugg, that's exactly where I am right now. And, again, stupid. But the mini-map is key.

The story itself may be entirely pointless and there is some regret that Sega included it at all, but it offers an enjoyable and often challenging experience.

The story mode is pointless, childish, and crazy. Just skip it, it isn't worth it at all.

By complicating things, Sega have crossed that thin line and broken the spell. The magic has gone.

Super Monkey Ball 2 isn't genius, it's just madness.

Yes.

Anyway, the article sums it up pretty well.

Now to add some points.

The graphics are no better. It looks like they used the same engine, and created a variation of the original. Since the original was really, really good, however, this one was pretty bad in comparison.

The saving of game data so you can continue wherever you left off, and always have unlimited continues, was a wonderful improvement. No more leaving the GC on because I couldn't do Expert mode in one shot. Also, choosing which level to play within each world was nice. Allowing a player to try another level when one level was just too hard was a nice touch. I would have put all the levels of all the worlds that way, but that is just a matter of taste.

Worlds 1, 2, and 3 were easier than level Beginner 8 of the original. It wasn't even a challenge until world 4. And then only two levels were difficult. Same in world 5.

The time limit in the original made sense. Besides challenging skill, you were challenged to do it quickly. In SMB2 the time challenge is useless. The entire challenge is figuring out how to do something. Once figured out, the time element makes it no more challenging. They should have removed the timer. It is really annoying when it goes down.

Also, on the timer, in the last ten seconds, instead of the kind, "hurry up", it changes the tempo of the music. When you are "into it" that sudden change is somewhat scary. It is really annoying.

Overall, if you've never played SMB, go rent it, it is an excellent game. If you have played SMB, you may want to rent SMB2 for a few days just to see it, and its variations. But don't think you'll finish it right away, and don't buy it. It just isn't worth it.

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Super Monkey Ball 2 (GameCube)

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