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Dee Yun: (contact-deleteme[at]-deleteme-direman [dot] com) 2007-04-02 00:41:47
Monkeys Are Usually Awesome
The announcer and music in Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz are absolutely obnoxious. It reminds me of walking into a late 80's arcade, where every machine is blaring at maximum volume, vying for your quarters. I think Sega used the same gratingly cheery announcer that used to holler out DAAAAAYTONA! for them.
As for the game itself, it adapts beautifully to the Wii technology. For those of you unfamiliar with the series, you steer a monkey in a ball to a goal by tilting the playing field. It plays like those little kid's toys that you tilt to get the little metal ball through a maze, only with precipices all alongside where the ball can fall off. It feels great on the Wii, as you physically tilt the remote to guide your monkey ball. Oddly, this makes it a bit harder to control than in previous games, because there's no resistance as there is with the old analog stick. The lack of tactile feedback reduces preciseness and makes it hard to tell where the "neutral" point is. Nevertheless, SMB and the Wii remote were meant to go together.
Unfortunately, I don't like this game. They added a jump mechanic which changes the play style and level design for the worse, and there aren't nearly as many mazes as in previous games. I usually dislike when developers regurgitate games in the form of remakes, but I would've much preferred if they simply put together a SMB 1 and 2 compilation to play with the Wii remote. Also, they got rid of the side Monkey Sports games (some of which were fantastic - careful implementation would've made these better than Wii Sports) and replaced them with 50 crappy Mario Party style mini-games. They are really awful; I'd say about half of them are just unplayable. Since the Wii's backward compatible, I'd suggest you just slide in the original GameCube SMB games instead.
RANK - C (would've been lower without the Wii controls)