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Messages - Feep

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Nintendo Gaming / RE:Another problem, USB connector.
« on: November 27, 2005, 06:20:55 PM »
I might add that there are no problems on my roommate's computer, which means the dongle itself is fine.

Nintendo Gaming / Another problem, USB connector.
« on: November 27, 2005, 03:03:22 PM »
Here's an odd problem. I finally recieved by back-ordered Wi-Fi USB Connector in the mail today, and was excited to install it and begin play. The installation from CD began, and it asked me to insert the USB Connector, so I did. The install program then begins something like "Setting Up Internet Connection Sharing". The bar moves a few ticks, then an error suddenly pops up: "Please insert the Nintendo Wi-Fi USB Connector into your computer's USB port.", and the installation ends. Of course, the Connector is in place. I have a working broadband internet connection, all security settings as low as they can go, firewalls and skyware blockers are off...what's going on...?

Nintendo Gaming / On-campus?
« on: November 16, 2005, 01:36:33 PM »
As a student of the University of Florida, I would simply LOVE it if I could sit in Circuits class and play MKDS all day online. The campus features an extensive wireless network, but to prevent vagrants and bums from getting free internet, they require a username and password to log-on (which, of course, I have). While the DS doesn't have web browser functionality, the log-in page features an ability to log on a "guest" machine, and it asks for the IP address of the device which wants to use the network. Here's the issue...the IP address is not obtained until the DS physically connects to the network. However, upon connection, it IMMEDIATELY goes into a "testing" phase, which I assume involved pinging a restricted network, and it NEVER ends. When the DS gets here, I have to turn it off. Thus, there is no way for me to see the IP address the DS obtains to enter into the log-in page, and thus, I can't make this work. Anyone with any ideas? I'm open to suggestions...  

Nintendo Gaming / Soul Calibur 2 Controls
« on: February 07, 2003, 03:39:55 PM »
Well, importing the Soul Calibur 2 arcade controller from Japan is definitely not a hassle I want to undetake, and as I understand it, there is no confirmed U.S. version announced as of yet. How is Namco going to effectively implement the controls on a GC controller? Part of the intuitivity of the SC was the fact that there are ONLY four buttons, which were easily able to be pressed simultaneously or quick tapped (i.e. A then B REALLY fast after it), but with a controller, your thumb is basically the only digit that hits buttons. I suppose throws will have to be implemented using the L and R buttons fo A_B+G grabs, but the excessively important A+B and B+K combinations are going to be tough. How do you all think the controller will be used to accomplish this? And PLEASE, oh PLEASE Namco...don't use the Z button. I hate the Z button. With a passion.

Reader Reviews / Metroid Prime
« on: February 07, 2003, 03:32:28 PM »
Overall Score
10 / 10

   I'll admit, I never was a huge Metroid fan. Having never played the
original and only barely touched Super, I wasn't really sure what to expect when
a GameCube version was announced. I'm a fan of adventure/action games, but for
some unknown reason, Samus Aran never really caught my eye. When I heard Retro
Studios, of all developers, was creating the new Metroid in FIRST-PERSON
PERSPECTIVE, you better believe I had absolutely no plans to get my hands on
this surely-to-be-a-repeat-of-Star Fox Adventures. As fate would have it, some
friends thought it "looked cool" and bought me it for the holidays...and I've
never been so wrong.
   I don't enjoy stealing quotes, but an editor in EGM said something that
stuck with me..."It's as if Retro Studios went six years into the future, took
the best game available, and brought it back with them." I have never seen such
a complete package in a video game before. The game begins similar to the way
Super Metroid did; explore an abandoned space station above the main planet, and
get out before the damn thing explodes. It immediately bombards you a tidal wave
of emotions; from desolate loneliness to heart-stopping suspense to (if you
really get into it) pure terror. A great beginning...but it doesn't stop. You
expect it to, but it doesn't. I've never seen a game keep such a pace as Metroid
Prime; you're constantly wanting to sit down with your Wavebird (What? You don't
have one? Fool.) and fight that next boss.
   The gameplay is similar to previous incarnations of Metroid, despite
the unfamiliar first-person scheme. I must reinforce that this game is NOT a
first-person shooter. Okay, well, technically it is, since you're in the first-
person viewpoint and you shoot stuff, but the focus on the game is definitely on
exploration and adventure, NOT shooting. You explore the world of Tallon IV,
where the Chozo, the race who raised Samus and gave her the shiny suit you like
so much, has been wiped out by a mysterious substance known as Phazon. The Space
Pirates, after you busted 'em up in the first Metroid, fled here to try and
develop weapons applications of Phazon. As you'll see later, they did a good
job...anyway. You traverse one of five HUGE (as in....utterly MASSIVE) areas of
the world, finding upgrades to your suit to allow access to different paths. The
story is implemented in a surprisingly effective manner; the use of a Scan visor
allows you to learn about just about anything and everything on Tallon IV, as
well as the history of the Chozo and the Space Pirates. For those who are
purely-action minded, just...don't scan anything. You can choose whether to
uncover the rich lore behind the events of Metroid Prime, or blow through
without bothering. Brilliant.
   The controls of Metroid Prime have been criticized for lack of dual-
analog control, but those who do so are too locked-on (ha ha) to the standard
first-person shooter button layout. The controls are spot-on, intuitive and
effective at the same time. The tight first-person action is complemented by the
ridiculously cool Morph Ball system; the camera zooms out into third-person as a
complex and elegant physics engine guides your sphere throughout the game. You
have no idea how fun it is until you try it.
   With no immediate option to change difficulty level, Retro Studios had
better get it right the first time. Of course they did. In terms of enemy
difficulty, it seemed like I'd always be about to die when I just barely make it
to the next save point. Sometimes you die, but you get a better idea of where
the enemies are trying to ambush you from, and how to better combat them. The AI
is impressive, as is the variety of strategies you need to kill the myriad of
monsters throughout the game. Boss battles are nothing short of epic, and while
they seem a bit easy early on, they get really, REALLY challenging later. Not
impossible. Challenging. The game world is a huge labyrinth of rooms and
hallways, so the game uses an ingenious map system to guide the players to their
next destination. It isn't too revealing, and the hard-core can turn it off, but
the map itself is an indispensable tool for navigating Tallon IV. I have never
seen such a stylized and flat-out awesome map. Ever.
   I'm just going to come out and say it...Metroid Prime has, quite
possibly, the best graphics of any console game I've ever seen; certainly the
best on the GameCube. Running at a perfect sixty-frames per second with no
slowdown, the amount of visual effects on the screen at one time is mind-
boggling. The visor system (which you can alter the transparency of) is amazing.  
The regular visor gives vital information, all around the edges, while managing
to not obscure your view in any way. The thermal visor, obtained later in the
game, gives an infra-red picture of your surroundings; once again, highly
stylized and attentive to details. It's near black in the Phendrana (snow)
Drift, while it's almost blinding in the Magmoor (lava) Caverns. The X-ray
visor...I'm not even going to say anything. Buy the game and find the X-ray
visor, and it'll be worth your fifty bucks. Textures are high-res, aliasing is
very impressive, Samus's suit looks amazing, polygon counts up the wazoo,
progressive scan mode for you HDTV users...walking through a jet of steam and
seeing your vision cloud up, or looking up at the sky and watching raindrops
splatter against your visor just show how much detail has been put into this
   Sound? What do you expect? Retro Studios, once again, went all-out.
Encoded in Dolby Pro-Logic 2, the quality is a good as you're going to find. The
chilling, dynamic music is extremely appropriate and helps fill out the
atmosphere of the game. Sound effects are extremely varied and crystal clear;
there are actually different sounds for the Morph Ball rolling across different
types of metal surfaces. In the very beginning of the game, during a (very)
short tutorial area, the sound of a force field deactivating is enough to make
even the most inattentive of gamers sit up and take notice. Superb.
   As for length, the game lasts for quite a bit of time. You can finish
the game when the clock says about twenty hours, however, this does not include
time lost due to death, map viewing, cut scenes, pausing, and a whole bunch of
other stuff. The brilliantly hidden missile expansions are enough to make any
gamer come back for me, and three different endings just increases the incentive
to find them. The game offers numerous galleries and a hard mode after you beat
the game; severely ramping up the challenge. Two hidden secrets, one a hidden
suit and the other the original Metroid for NES, are unlockable through use of
the GameCube-Game Boy Advance connection with Prime's sister game, Metroid
   Have I slathered this game with enough praise yet? Probably not.
Playing the game is a complete experience I cannot hope to describe with mere
words; you owe it to yourself to run out right now and buy this game. From
graphics to gameplay, from story to sound, Retro Studios has quite possibly
produced the best game ever made...and who wants to miss out on that?

Reader Reviews / Super Mario Advance 3
« on: February 07, 2003, 03:31:32 PM »
Overall Score
9.5 / 10
   In 1995, Nintendo decided to craft a new Mario tale, telling of the
origins behind our beloved Mario and company - Super Mario World 2: Yoshi's
Island. Using the new Super FX2 chip, this game's stunning graphics and
unconventional platform gameplay captivated SNES players around the world.
However, caught up in the whirlpool of the new 32-bit Playstation, it may not
have received the attention it deserved. Now, in the third installment of
Nintendo's rehash series, Mario Advance, Yoshi's Island is back.

   Perhaps the first game in the Mario series not actually starring Mario,
this game focuses on his extended dinosaur family, the Yoshis. The story is
thus: the stork (keeping in line with Nintendo's policies) was carrying both
Mario and Luigi to their parents in the Mushroom Kingdom, when a dark shape came
hurtling toward them in the sky. Namek the Magikoopa made a grab for the stork,
and with a fistful of feathers, made his way back to his fortress. To his
chagrin, he realized that Baby Mario had somehow been lost in the confusion.
Baby Mario had fallen down, down, and landed unscathed (I guess he had a bit of
padding in his diaper) onto Yoshi's Island. The Yoshi family discovered Mario,
and being the bunch of kind-hearted dinosaurs that they are, they agreed to help
him find his lost brother and find him way home. Thus, Green Yoshi and his
multi-colored brethren embark on an epic journey!

   Though the game can and does play like a standard Mario game, many things
are new to the series. As noted before, you control one of the many Yoshis, with
Baby Mario riding on your back. If you're hit, Baby Mario will fly off your
saddle, floating in the air in a bubble. You have ten seconds before Kamek's
henchmen come and carry him off to the castle, and your game is over. Yoshi
himself is nearly indestructible, except for falls off the screen and spikes n'
stuff. You can increase the 10-count by finding stars all over the level, to a
maximum of 30. Yoshi also now has the power to make eggs from enemies and
shooting them, using the R button. A cursor appears, giving you a 135-degree
range to shoot in. Though egg tossing may seem a frivolous and useless addition,
it is essential to gameplay and is implemented in nearly every level. Mystery
Clouds (floating clouds with little question marks on them), when hit with eggs,
do a variety of different things; they can create a wooden platform, release an
item, or reveal a hidden area.

   The Super FX 2 Chip, a special graphics processor used for this particular
SNES game and never used again, is quite impressive. Featuring extensive sprite
manipulation capabilities, enemies and items morph and grow and shrink and
stretch all over the place. Of more note than the technical statistics of the
graphics is the style with which they are presented. An unbelievable,
painstaking style has been put forth into this game, and every bit of it oozes
with flair. Foregrounds and backgrounds are given a pastel, almost coloring-
book-like quality to them. Backgrounds, some even created for the special use of
one stage, make incredible use of parallax scrolling and other various
techniques. Many objects in the game are actually in full 3-D, using the
polygons and light-shading abilities the Super FX 2 Chip has to offer. The
game's unique visual presentation is truly something to behold.

     In the audio department, Yoshi's Island gets the job done. Stage tunes are
not extremely varied and are used over and over, but aren't too tedious or
repetitive. You might even find yourself whistling one or two. Sound effects are
much more impressive; Yoshi's voice itself was directly lifted out of the N64
game Yoshi's Story to replace the older version. Other sounds are done well
enough, and the sheer number of them contributes to the massive game world.

   Speaking of massive game worlds. Despite the fact that Yoshi's Island has
less stages (48 regular and 12 hidden) than did the original Super Mario World,
this game WILL take you longer to complete. Stages can be very long and complex
(especially the hidden ones) and can be daunting to one not adept in the
platforming genre. There are no "second goals" as in the first Super Mario World
to unlock new stages; you'll get six immediately when you beat the game, and one
of six levels, all new for the GBA version, to play if you can get 100% in one
of the six main worlds. These levels can be extremely diabolical in design, so
some definite Mario "skillz" will be needed. How do you obtain 100%, you ask?
What is there to do besides beat the level? Well, Yoshi's Island uses in
ingenious point-system, adding about, oh, I don't know, 20 to 30 more hours of
playing time onto the main game. The purpose is to end the level with 100 out of
100 points possible, by collecting 5 flowers (located in hard-to-reach spots
throughout the level), 20 red coins (indiscernible from the normal, yellow coins
all over the place without the use of a special item), and a full 30 stars. This
makes even easy levels a massive challenge, but I've never had so much fun
stomping posts and shooting enemies, looking for that last red coin. A true
achievement in replayability.

   Returning from Super Mario Bros. 3 is the ability to collect and use items
throughout your journey. These can be found in any of the minigames scattered
across the island; there are 12 in all. Six can be unlocked, the others have
to be played in locked doors in different levels or at the end of a level, where
depending on the number of flowers you've collected, you'll have a 0 to 50%
chance to play a random mini-game. Most are highly enjoyable, though it is
regrettable that these were not made multiplayer compatible. Heaven knows I want
to play Seed Spit with my neighbor. Items range from +10 Stars to Machine Gun
Melons to POW Blocks and such. Using these effectively is critical to obtaining
100% on every level, so you'll be wanting to stock up.

   Perhaps the most amazing feature of Yoshi's Island is not its mind-blowing
graphics, or innovative gameplay. It's the level design. Back in the day (1995,
anyways), the best minds in the business were working in the 2-D field, not the
3-D geometric and polygonal messes we see today. I can't stress enough how well
thought-out and constructed these levels are. Puzzles are imaginative and of
perfect difficulty, mazes are so well designed that you'll be laughing in
delight when you finally understand how to get through it. Everything has a
purpose; everything is there for a reason. Boss battles are nothing short of
epic, with a normal enemy being transformed by Kamek into a mega-version of
itself. You'll need a distinct strategy for each one, and none will disappoint.
(Raphael the Raven is still the greatest boss-battle EVER, no matter what anyone
says.) Hidden areas and paths litter every stage, tying right in to the theme of
the level. The secret stages are devious and cunning in their layout. It needs
to be played to be believed.

   So what about multiplayer? For reasons still unknown, Nintendo decided to
stick the same old game into SMA3 as they did with the previous two
installments, Mario Bros. Arcade. This thing is OLD...this thing is BORING...not
worth it at all. Those mini-games would have been great for two-player head-to-
head matches...oh well...nothing's perfect.

   As for change from the original, there isn't much. The "Touch Fuzzy Get
Dizzy" effect has been slightly downgraded, as has the music; very minor level
and 100% completion tweaks have been implemented to give the game a more
cohesive feel. The biggest difference is positive; those six new levels exude
pure brilliance.

   Though Yoshi's Island is indeed a remake, the game retains the originality
and personality that set it apart from the crowd those some-odd seven years ago.
If you've never played this game before, smack yourself many times, and go out
right now and buy it. Dare I name this game the best 2-D platformer of all-time?
Hell yeah. Though only the most hard-core fans will buy the game if they already
own the SNES version, there's a certain thrill about battling Sluggy the
Unshaven (yeah, you heard me) during 4th hour Chemistry. Proving that 2-D gaming
hasn't left the hearts of the gaming public, SMA3 is the freaking bargain of the
year at $30.00 or less. Buy it. NOW.

Reader Reviews / Rogue Squadron 2
« on: February 07, 2003, 03:30:01 PM »
Overall Score
9 / 10

   In February 1996, Star Wars : Special Edition was released in movie
theaters. My father, a long-time-though-not-so-avid fan of Star Wars, tried to
persuade me to see it. At that point I had seen a Star Trek film and hated it,
and made no differentiation between any of those sci-fi, outer space movies.
However, after a WHOLE bunch of nagging from friends and family, I grudgingly
went to go see it. I loved it. I mean, I LOVED it. I saw it four more times, and
it didn't take me long after seeing Return of the Jedi to decide that these
movies were my favorite of all time. The original three still are. When I heard
Rogue Squadron 2, based completely on movie events, was going to be a launch
title for the much-awaited GameCube, I jumped on it like a jawa on a wandering

   Good? Yes. Great? Yes. Meeting my wildest dreams? No. (Impossible, but
still no.) Rogue Squadron is a fairly short game, depending on how good you are
and how many secrets you go after. If you're a decent player, a straight run
through the game won't take you any more than three hours, but most won't be
able to do that. There's nothing here but combat in the air...or...lack of
air...but it still manages to convey the same feelings the movie evoked in me.
The game shows great attention to detail when trying to accurately depict ships
and places from the movies, but there ARE mistakes...the third shield generator
they tell you to go after is not ACTUALLY a shield generator on a Star
Destroyer, and X-Wing S-foils are...okay, I'll shut up. This TOTALLY doesn't

   Screw X-box. I mean, SCREW IT. I still have yet to see ANYTHING on X-box,
even after almost a year of it's release, that can equal this first-generation
GameCube game graphically. Though much of the game takes place in airless,
featureless space, there's still a lot to see. This game breaks out every
graphic effect known to man, volumetric fog, real-time lighting, arse-loads of
ships on the screen at a time (I'm talking upwards of a hundred TIEs, the basic
enemy ship), huge polygon counts, everything. The Battle of Endor can get
especially insane. You'll sit there in awe while hundreds of turbolaser bolts
transform your A-Wing into a massive inferno, not caring in the least. And
despite all this, the game STILL manages to stay at an almost-stable 60 FPS.

   Normally I write a sentence or two about sound, and that's more than
enough. Not so with this game. Rogue Squadron 2 was the first game in history to
be compatible with Dolby Pro Logic 2 systems, with five-channel surround sound.
Now, back when I first got this game, I played it on my little 24 inch TV with
built-in speakers. The sound was still great, but nothing to write home about.
Recently, however, I've gained a rather impressive sound system for my video
gaming experience, and now I know what they're talking about. Actually knowing
where a TIE is because it's whizzing sound is moving behind you from left to
right is amazing. Music is great, directly ripped from John William's classic
Star Wars score, and sound effects are made up of 100% true-to-movie goodness.
Quality is unmatched. Though it may seem like it doesn't matter, this game
REALLY deserves to be played with a decent system. Get one.

   I mentioned before that there were many hidden and unlockable features in
Rogue Squadron 2, and I wasn't exaggerating. Most are unlocked with "Medal
Points", gained by receiving a bronze, silver, or gold medal on a stage. These
are obtained by meeting six requirements in a single run, and let me tell you,
Golds are freaking IMPOSSIBLE. I only have two, and I'm REALLY good at this
game. There are about 6 playable ships in the normal game, ranging from the
famous X-Wing fighter to the Y-Wing bomber, the Speeder on Hoth (Ripped off
AGAIN from both Star Wars : Shadows of the Empire and Rogue Squadron 1), and
even the Cloud Car from Bespin. There are maybe another 6 to 8 unlockable
vehicles, ranging from Slave I (Boba Fett's ship from the movies) to a 1978
Buick. (I don't know. Don't ask me.) Each main stage has a special upgrade for
your ships (10 in total) which is almost essential for getting better medals.
Codes are STILL being released for it, as far as I know. There are five hidden
stages as well. Get all golds and you'll unlock Ace Mode, an unbelievably
difficult version of the game. Other features like a commentary, LONG videos of
the game development/features, and lots of tidbits for Star Wars fans make this
little minidisc feel like a DVD jam-packed with extras. There's a LOT to do, and
chances are, you'll never get it all.

   Though the game shines in a WHOLE bunch of areas, Rogue Squadron is still
lacking. There are a few bugs, voice-acting is poor, the difficulty is WAY too
high, and the main game is just a bit too short. These minor problems don't
detract from an incredible game you'll pick up again and again, just to see a
Star Destroyer blow up. Even for non-Star Wars fans (What the hell is wrong with
you three?), the game deserves a rental at least. For the devoted, it's a must.
Despite the lack of lightsabers, this is the best Star Wars game yet, folks.
Pick up this game, or you might find a Sith Lord at your house one night.

Reader Reviews / Super Monkey Ball 2
« on: February 07, 2003, 03:28:59 PM »
                                                Overall Score
                                                    9 / 10

   GameCube didn't exactly have the most blockbuster of launches, if
y'all remember correctly. The marquee Mario title was absent, and the
lackluster Luigi's Mansion had about as much entertainment value as
watching a plant grow. Beyond Rogue Squadron 2, there was seemingly
NOTHING for a GC owner to buy...ah, but wait! What's this title behind
the fourteen copies of Wave Race? Super Monkey Ball? WTF? Ah, the
sleeper hit Super Monkey Ball, featuring a Marble Madness-inspired and
strangely satisfying main mode, accompanied by numerous mini-games great
for a multiplayer get-together. When SMB2 was announced, it wasn't a
question of if I'd get it...but how many seconds after its release
would I be able to obtain a copy.

   Sega and Amusement Vision didn't disappoint. Improving in almost
EVERY way from the original, Super Monkey Ball 2 should reduce the
sales of SMB1 to about 2 a year. The main game, now featuring story and
challenge modes, has been significantly expanded and featuring 150 new
stages of monkey-ballin' glory. The original six party-games are also
back with upgrades, and six new games wait to be unlocked from playing
the main game. Woo-hoo.

   Super Monkey Ball 2 is one of those games where graphics shouldn't
matter, where as long as the physics engine was functional, who the heck
cared what it looked like. This philosophy was evident in SMB1, the GC's
worst-looking launch. However, SMB2's graphical engine has been
undoubtedly enhanced. Featuring some beautiful backgrounds and some nice
use of new water effects, particle engines, and volumetric fogging, SMB2
is a lot better than it could have been. Sound truly IS a non-factor, I
honestly don't think I've ever even noticed any music besides that in
the menus. It plays, and is easily audible, but it just doesn't seem to
get a reaction from my ear drum. It's pleasant enough, but don't expect
a soundtrack.

   In the main game, a Story mode was added to the regular old
challenge mode. Now, obviously, a story trying to explain why monkeys
are rolling around incredibly-bizarre stages while collecting bananas in
translucent balls is going to be a little odd, but this game goes NUTS.
It's unbelievably ridiculous; I just want to shut my eyes during some of
the cinematics. Apparently, the monkeys use a magical spell,
"Ei-Ei-Poo!", to defeat their nemesis, Dr. Bad-Boon. I drove myself to
complete this mode once, and I will NEVER touch it again. Lives do not
exist here; stages can be attempted as many times as you see fit. Only
100 of the 150 levels in the game can be accessed here, so head on over
to challenge mode, the real meat.

   Arranged like the previous Super Monkey Ball, there are Beginner,
Advanced, and Expert difficulty levels, including Extra levels for
completed a difficulty without using a continue, and the elusive Master
difficulty levels. PLENTY of challenge here, much more than you average
gamer will be able to handle, but it has been made a bit easier to
unlock the Extra levels due to a feature that allows a player to buy
more lives per continue. Booooo.

   So what's up with the mini-games? Here are the twelve mini-games,
broken down for ya...

   Monkey Race 2 - Sega's spin-off of Super Mario Kart, upgraded from
last time. Eight monkeys can now roll in a race on one of six brand-new
tracks, featuring new items and some new physics. Can be highly
entertaining, but there are far better crazy kart-racing games on the

     Monkey Fight 2 - one of the most highly addictive games from SMB1
is back, with a new "charge punch" that improves game-play
significantly. Four monkey balls with punching gloves attached roll  
around, trying to knock off the other players. While still more fun
than a barrel of monkeys (...), I would have liked to see some more
interesting stages and some new items.

   Monkey Target 2 - massively superior to the first, Monkey Target 2
turns a good-idea-gone-wrong into a good-idea-gone-right. Four monkeys
now simultaneously roll down a ramp and get shot into the air, where
they glide to a series of targets and land on them, scoring points. The
Wheel of Danger has been done away with, and items are now available to
obtain and use in the same run. Adding formation flying was a nice
touch, though only 3 different target arrangements is still terrible.
What were they thinking?

   Monkey Billiards 2 - a surprisingly accurate and enjoyable
pool-sim, this version features US Nine-ball, JPN Nine-ball, Classic
8-ball, and Rotation. Woo!

   Monkey Bowling 2 - this mini-game is, in my opinion, far and away
the best in the game. It is PERFECT. Intuitive and precise controls mix
in with a complex physics engine to almost perfectly mimic how real
pins fall, but it's so much more than that. Each monkey now has
different attributes, catering to an individual's personal style.
Challenge mode is back, where you do your best to knock down specific
arrangements of pins within a certain number of tries. Also included is
Special Mode, three difficulties of lanes that feature some completely
wacky lanes. Some curve, oscillate, twist, raise, bump, whatever, but
they're all fun as hell. You unlock the next difficulty by getting a
certain score on the previous. This alone is worth my fifty bucks,
people. Believe it.

   Monkey Golf 2 - receiving the most intense make-over of all the
original games, Monkey Golf 2 ditches the old mini-golf routine for a
full-blown golf sim. The eighteen holes, while fairly interesting at the
end, get old REALLY fast, and the gameplay just isn't deep enough to
warrant continued play. Oh well.

   Monkey Boat Race - ugh. SO BAD. This terrible mini-game has your
monkey paddling down a river using the L and R buttons along tedious
courses and minimal items. Don't come for this one, folks.

   Monkey Shot - a classic cursor shoot-em-up, this mini-game takes
you through three levels complete with bosses. While this is fairly
entertaining, the game has absolutely ZERO replay value with one
person. Multiplayer is fairly decent, so whip out this one with a
gunslinging partner.

   Monkey Dogfight - it's surprising how little a market this genre
has in today's gaming world...up to four monkeys comb the air, using a
simple machine-gun and missile arsenal to blow your enemies out of the
sky. Fun. Lots of it.

   Monkey Baseball - for the record, I have ALWAYS hated baseball. A
lamer, more boring sport has never been invented...but SMB2 somehow
takes that game and makes it fun. LOTS of fun. One player pitches
(controlling the monkey mid-pitch to fake out the batter), and the
other attempted to send the ball flying into a pocket in the outfield
or a homerun jump board. Different configurations of pockets and
defensive formations add a lot to the game, and the option to reduce
the drawn-out, nine inning game is priceless. Best of the new games.

   Monkey Soccer - while allowing for almost NO control of your team
whatsoever, this game can be shockingly fun. The field is simply too
small and contains too many monkeys to effectively play the game, but
the different teams and quick pacing of the game can be pretty
entertaining for awhile.

   Monkey Tennis - a dumbed down version of Mario Tennis, Monkey
Tennis tends to a long back-and-forth between the players. Not enough
options and features here to make it amusing; hopefully, we'll see
improvement in SMB3, if they make one.

   Well, there you have it. All twelve mini-games in a nutshell. If
you like multiplayer gaming, Super Monkey Ball 2 is an absolute must-
have. It only falls short of the Mario Parties and Super Smash Bros.
Melee in many-playered goodness, and has a style all on its own. Story
mode and some lackluster music mar the game a bit, but thirteen
separate games for fifty dollars is the best deal on the 'Cube. Come
for the main game, stay for the mini-games; Super Monkey Ball 2 is
wacky gaming at its finest.

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