Welcome to the twenty-fourth (!) round of Box Art Brawl, the weekly regional box art battle that sees you settle the score and vote for the best regional cover design or a retro video game. It's the first brawl of 2020 - we hope you all had a spectacular start to the New Year and are ready to scrap once more!
Last week we had a festive foray into the snow with Snowboard Kids racing down the slopes to find out who was the finest. It turns out Japan's Snobow Kids had what it took to best the rest, with North America sliding into the chairlift in second place while Europe bumped its bonce against the boards near the entrance and ended up hopping into third place.
This week we jump forward a generation to ball-based monkey-thon Super Monkey Ball 2 on Nintendo GameCube. We were going to do the original game, but every region's box art is nigh-on identical for that entry. The sequel, however, got a different version in each of our three usual territories. Don't get us wrong, they're all colourful covers filled with monkey business, but compared to the original they're actually different from each other and therefore better candidates for the crucible that is Box Art Brawl.
Most recently we've seen the Super Monkeys (or is it the Balls that are Super?) on Switch in the somewhat disappointing Super Monkey Ball: Banana Blitz HD, but here we're returning to one of the GameCube classics. Enough monkeying around, though - let's roll.
With a blue and yellow spiral providing a psychedelic backdrop to the cute simians, there's no ambiguity as to the sort of adventure you're going on in the European version. With the logo displayed in balls and the '2' contained in its own Monkey Ball, AiAi, GonGon, MeeMee and Baby occupying the bottom half and generally looking cute. Don't look too hard at AiAi's fingers or toes, they're a bit weird.
Colourful and complete with a barrel o' monkeys, what's not to like?
The North American variant attempts to set the scene a little with some grass and the team having what looks like a banana picnic. AiAi cradles the '2' in the Monkey Ball this time and Dr. Bad-Boon choppers in behind them. The misty whiteness of the clouds might make the logo stand out, but the monkeys themselves get a bit lost. The perspective doesn't help.
It's not awful by any means, but the addition of the lawn adds very little and arguably lessens the impact of the monkey group. It sets the scene, we suppose, but is that really necessary for a game called Super Monkey Ball? The concept is madcap crazy and rooting the cover in this quasi-picnic scene feels unnecessary.
The Japanese cover used the same (repositioned) key art of the monkeys as the PAL version, plus the bad guys from the North American one (although closer this time). It throws in some palm trees and a rainbow in the background while sticking with the same logo design as the others. The GameCube logo or ‘tab’ at the top intrudes on the composition but it presents a dynamic scene radiating out from the centre of the box.
Of all three we probably prefer the boldness of the European design, but our opinion counts for nought - the decision is down to you lovely people. Click the most deserving monkey below and hit that button to cast your vote:
That's it for this week's match. If you have suggestions for candidates who would make for a diverse and entertaining bout, feel free to scribble them below. Who knows? Maybe you'll see them crop up in a future Box Art Brawl. Until then, keep on rollin', folks!