Wednesday, November 5, 2008

My review of "Skull Monkeys"

Skullmonkeys cover

Intro: After playing The Neverhood all the way through, I thought my journey through the magical, clay crafted world of the Neverhood was finished. I got bored with Final Fantasy Tactics, so I've been a bit lost, also take note that this was well over a few months ago. Anyway, I was checking out the bargin bin at a Half priced bookstore, and I was shocked to see Skull Monkeys on sale...for three bucks. I mean, the cheapest one you can get through amazon is like 20 or more, but this was a rarity.

So Immediately I asked my oldest brother to pick this one up for me, and I would pay the money back. While the disk was missing the manual, and the disk was kind of scratched, it ran pretty well. So now I told you how I stumbled upon it, now let's dive back in...let me take you back into the wonderful world of Neverhood.

Klogg Monkey
It's teh evil Klogg Monkey, RUN.

Story: The game takes place after the original Neverhood. All I can say is, without spoiling the story of the first game, is that there was a happy ever after, and the evil antagonist Klogg was sent far away into space. Although if Klogg really did die out there, we wouldn't be talking about this game now would we? He just so happens to drift so far out into space, he lands on a mysterious planet, which is home to the skullmonkeys. Ordinary monkeys with oddly shaped skulls on there heads.

Anyway, Klogg happens to land on the leader of the skull monkeys, and he declares himself as the king of all Skull monkeys, Klogg monkey. All of the Skull monkeys submit to Klogg, and the first thing Klogg wants his slaves to built an evil engine...Evil Engine Number 9. So all of the Skull monkeys get to work, all except for one. Jerry O, who happens to be the smartest Skull monkey there ((Or at least I think so)) saw through Kloggs evil scheme. So Jerry O sends a flying machine to pick up the only man that would save the Skull Monkeys from doom...Klayman.

Skull swirly
Collecting stuff to look tough.

Gameplay: Skull Monkeys is very different from the previous game, which was a point and click adventure game. Skull Monkeys plays out more like Super Mario Brothers, or any other side scrolling platform game. Basicly you go from point a to point b, using only your wits, a few power ups, and any of the lives that you have. You don't have any health, though there are power ups that can protect you from harm. If you die, then a life will be taken away. Run out of all of your lives, then you can either give up and go back to the main menu, or keep going. If you keep going however, you loss all of the cool stuff you collected previously.

Now let's talk power ups. You can bounce on curtain Skull Monkyes, though some will require you to jump beyond them, or the use of a nifty power up. There are a crap load of power ups that you can use, and you will have to use them sparingly in order to survive this game. You can collect bullets to shoot people with, homing birds that work like homing missiles, call your friend Willy to collect any hard to reach power ups, use a universe enema that destroys all of the enemies on screen, and my personal favorite, the phart head, which calls forth a scout that'll take your place if you die.

There's also some nifty bonus rooms you can visit, granted if you collect all of the three swirls, which are in every level. There's even a super duper secret level that takes place in the 1970s. This is the toughiest level to get to, and the three bonus room tokens can be found by those who search closely. If you make it here, and survive it, then it'll be well worth it.

There are a few levels in each stage, and after you complete each stage, you'll be given a password to continue on where you left off, plus a nifty cutsceen every once in a while. True that you can't save your game on a memory card, just remember a password. Although I don't mind this, and personally you shouldn't worry about that too much, because I'm sure you have writting material at home...oh, I almost forgot. The game has bosses, and each boss is pretty unique in not only appearance, but attack pattern as well.

Oh, fancy lab.

Visuals: Seriously, do I need to explain this? If you've read my last review, then it pretty much says the same thing. The whole game is made with clay, everything, from the characters, to the sets. Although this time around, realistic objects were used, such as a can of beans, a live hamster, and even one of the bosses uses one of the heads of the many NH developers. There are cinimatics every two chapters beaten, and they're hilarious. Like when Klayman picks up the can of beans, and farts on a mean Skull Monkey that stalks him. Really there's not much to disscuss.

Music: Once again, Terry S Taylor provides an awesome soundtrack, and like last time, you should hear what I mean, rather than just listen to me. First, let's hear some of what we have now a days compared to skull monkeys.

Tales of Destiny battle theme

Halo theme

Now lets hear the Skull Monkeys theme

Wasn't that fun kiddies? I will also say this much about the Skull Monkeys soundtrack. Neverhoods soundtrack was more focused on slow melodies, while Skull Monkeys is more fast paced, since that it's a platform game. On other audio notes, the voice acting is top notch...nuff said, let's move on.

Don't let me miss
Don't miss, don't miss, DON'T MISS.

Flaws: Skull Monkey isn't without it's flaws, sad to say. For starters, the platforming is tough...I mean it, this is perhaps one of the most difficulty games you will ever play. I mean it's really challenging, and at times even unfair. You'll have to make jumps that seem imposable to make, and he he, good luck with trying to complete the game without any use of the power ups. I will admit, I wish the game's jumping puzzles would have been better placed.

There's also the bonus rooms, in which promise a chance to wind down, and collect some really cool stuff. Though later on in the game, there will be enemies in some of these rooms...what the hell is up with that? I would have been fine without any of the monsters, since that I look forward to a bonus room with free time to smell the roses.

Last little thing is the ending, which I won't spoil for you. Although I will say this much, and that there are two endings, and one of them can be yours by collecting the swirlies in the last level...the last level, which is the hardest level in the entire game. I'll also say that the original ending will not be worth it, so try to collect the swirlies at the last level if you want a decent ending...and good luck with this.

Doug sculpting
HA HA, Doug has an ear ring. XD

Conclusion: Despite it being as hard as Ikaruga, Skull Monkeys can be a delightful adventure, and there are even some original levels that I forgot to mention. It's worth it if you want to revisit an old time platform game.