By: Kyra Powell/Content Editor
Although published in 2002, Super Monkey Ball 2 is the sequel that deserves to be talked about.
This platform game was developed by Amusement Vision and distributed through Sega for GameCube. Super Monkey Ball 2 additionally includes 12 party games and a story mode, expanding the universe of SMB (as we’ll refer to it from here on).
SMB is entirely reminiscent of toys that might’ve fallen out of a vending machine. Remember that plastic toy where you roll a little metal ball around a maze? And remember the two-tone balls with trinkets? That’s how SMB works. To a point.
Essentially, you play as a monkey trapped in one of those balls, and navigate by tilting the world stage. The objective is to make it to the goal without falling off the stage, in under 60 seconds. It may sound easy, but stages become increasingly thin and curved. Not only that, but sometimes switches must be pressed, and the stage moves.
SMB2 also features a story mode, which is divided into sets of 10 stages. After a full set is completed, a cutscene is available to watch. Each set has its own theme, and the aesthetics change. For example, the first set takes place surrounded by waterfalls, and the stage is green. The third- inside a volcano, and the stage is red. For 2002, the graphics are absolutely gorgeous.
The original SMB follows the concept of the toy maze more closely, making it essentially a balancing act, and is more focused on thinning out stages. However, SMB2 becomes a much larger scale game. The challenge becomes not balancing on thin lines, but navigating large moving pieces. Complications include ramps, falls, holes, bumps, stairs (imagine rolling up stairs in a circular object- its harder than it sounds), the stage moving the opposite direction as you, the stage opening up underneath you, the stage spinning as you move on it, and even more creative ways to knock you out of the plane of existence. The stage will throw you wildly out of the ring at hundreds of miles per hour (as indicted in the bottom left corner of the screen).
As impressed as I may be by everything else, the cutscenes are far from… admirable. Personally, I find humor in the ridiculousness of them, and combined with nostalgia I actually can watch them. Otherwise, they’re practically unbearable, and entirely cringeworthy. The monkeys speak their own language (consisting of the sounds “mon”, “kee”, “ee”, “oo”, and a handful of other nonsense sounds).
A party of 4 monkeys come together to save the village from Dr. Bad Boon- an evil monkey that will steal and keep all the bananas from the village until his love interest and member of the party Mee-Mee takes his hand in marriage. In the pre-game cutscene, Dr. Bad Boon flies above the village in a UFO, sucking all the bananas out of the homes and off the trees into the craft. Ai-Ai, our protagonist, vows to defeat Dr. Bad Boon and restore the bananas to the village.
While story-mode is a single player only endeavor, challenge mode allows for up to 4 players to take turns completing the courses chronologically. There’s a beginner, an intermediate, and an advanced level, making it easier for gamers of all levels to participate. There is also a set of “Party Games”. These includes a large variety of ways to play with these characters, including racing, flying, bowling, boating, baseball, and even not one, but two first person shooter modes.
Super Monkey Ball 2 was the perfect expansion to the Super Monkey Ball universe. It gave its audience everything it could’ve asked for- a cohesive story, many modes of play, and beautiful, beautiful scenery. If you have a GameCube, be sure to add Super Monkey Ball 2 to your queue.