Super Monkey Ball & Super Monkey Ball 2

スーパーモンキーボール & スーパーモンキーボール2 (Updated February 27, 2022)

This, my friends, is the first Medium post that reviews a GameCube game. We’ll be going to cover Super Monkey Ball first, instead of going ookee-kee-kee ookee-kee, since Medium is not a jungle scene, nor speaks in the monkey language. Both games in this post on Medium have the Dole branding, but I’m not a Dole banana addict, it doesn’t look organic and has faced several recalls…

The first two games have four playable characters: AiAi (appears in Sega Superstars, Sonic Riders, Sega Superstars Tennis, Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing, and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed), MeeMee (appears in Sega Superstars Tennis and Sonic & All-Stars Racing Transformed), Baby, and GonGon (AiAi’s rival-turned-best friend, similar to that of Yusuke/Kuwabara relationship in the Yu Yu Hakusho manga series). Both games were made by Amusement Vision (AV) before the developer merged with Sega. The developer’s logo can be seen in the final extra stage in the first game (including the final stage on the second game, titled “CREATED BY”), the developer’s URL, formerly located at http://amusementvision.com (which is no longer accessible and can only be accessed with the Wayback Machine), can be seen in the second game.

Ready… GO!

JP box art.
NA box art.

All the games in the series have this: As opposed to normal games where the player takes control of the character itself, Super Monkey Ball has the player move their character around by tilting the world itself (the exception of this being Super Monkey Ball Adventure). By tilting the board at various angles, players can control the speed and turning of the character. The goal of each level is to reach the goal gate before the timer runs out, and without falling off the floor. Bonus points and extra lives can be increased by collecting bananas on the stage. Early games use traditional controllers to play while many recent titles utilize modern technology, such as the accelerometers of the Wii and iPhone titles. The gameplay is similar to Atari Games’ 1984 arcade video game Marble Madness. Running down the clock or falling off the stage causes the player to lose a life (in the case of the second game, either mistake can fail a level, which the player can use a continue where they left off).

I don’t have copies of either game myself. I guess I would try, but… nuh-uh.

In the first game’s credits, the player collects bananas while avoiding the falling letters, touching any falling letters causes the player to lose ten bananas. In the first game’s name entry screen, the player must bump into a letter to enter a letter, the back arrow removes the last entered letter, and the goal gate acts as “END” when he/she entered his/her three letters.

The first two game’s composers are Hidenori Shoji, Sakae Osumi (which would not have a role for the second game onwards), and Haruyoshi Tomita. The voice actresses for both games are Kaoru Morota, Konami Yoshida, and Rio Natsuki.

JP box art.
NA box art.

Next up is Super Monkey Ball 2, which would mark the debut of Dr. Bad-Boon (known in the original Japanese version as Dr. Mad HiHi マッドヒヒ博士 Mad HiHi Hakase), the monkey equivalent of Dr. Eggman (also owned by Sega) as he is voiced by Patrick Harlan, except his lines are all recited backward in English elpmaxe rof siht ekil (like this for example). The Dole branding on the bananas and some levels were later removed in the later games starting with Super Monkey Ball Deluxe due to a licensing dispute. The four main monkeys would go like this:

Hop, step, jump-jump poo! Let us cooperate, yeah-yeah-woo! Magical spell is Ei-Ei-Poo!

SPOILER ALERT: The original narrator is revealed to be Tokyo-based voice actor Brian Matt.

…Wait, what? Jump-jump poo? Ei-Ei-Poo?

LOL
LOL

The game introduces new gimmicks such as teleportation doors, switches which control the speed of a stage, massive obstacles, and more.

The second game’s credits are similar to the one in the first game, where the player collects bananas while cascading the letters of the staff’s names. Hitting letters cause the player to lose bananas, however, if they pick up a star, the player can hit letters of the staff names for a short time. The second game’s name entry screen uses a gumball machine. Turning left or right on the GameCube controller selects a letter (up to six letters) and the A button enters it. The back arrow removes the last entered letter.

As of 2020, the development is now handled by Ryu Ga Gotoku Studio, the same developer known for the Ryu Ga Gotoku/Yakuza series. The developer should make a crossover of both Super Monkey Ball and Yakuza.

In the newly-released Banana Mania, “URL” is renamed “Push Bar”, the URL was later replaced with the artwork of AiAi holding a banana used on certain loading screens. “Created by” is replaced with “Last Stage”, with the AV logo replaced with a pair of inverted hearts depicting Dr. Bad-Boon and MeeMee, Dr. Bad-Boon is now voiced by Ranma One-Half star Koichi Yamadera, among other changes. Unlike the original, Dr. Bad-Boon does not talk in reverse English.

GOAL!

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Cory Roberts

Cory Roberts

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American freelance illustrator and manga artist, working on Radical Flannel. Previously ran Shinkansen Retrogaming. (He/him)