Monkey Shines 1.1.1
Game Review

Monkey Shines 1.1.1
Company: Fantasoft, LLC
Shareware: $20.00
http://www.fantasoft.com

 

Mike:Monkey Shines is a shareware game that is so polished, it shines. The graphics are beautiful, the game play is addictive, the music is great, the controls are easy, the challenge level is moderately challenging, and it plays well on a wide variety of machines. There just isn’t a whole lot you can say about Monkey Shines that isn’t positive.

Adam:I have never been really addicted to Mario Brothers-type games, where you walk around in a 2D world and jump on things to kill them, and when I do play those kinds of games, they are either too easy or too hard for me. So naturally, I thought Monkey Shines was going to be that way. I thought wrong.

Monkey Shines is very well done. It’s fun, addictive, and most importantly, it provides just enough challenge for me. It’s definitely not easy, but it’s not so hard that you can’t get past the first screen!

Mike: You are cast as Bonzo, a pacifist ape. This means you can’t kill an enemy by way of punching, kicking, jumping on their head, or anything of the sort. You either have to jump over the baddies or simply run away from them. This is probably the worst aspect of the game for fans of “platform” action games; I continually wanted to jump on an enemy like I was playing Donkey Kong Country or Super Mario Bros. On the other hand, though, this makes for more strategy-oriented game play, which is considered a plus by many.

Adam: Monkey Shines is very strategy-oriented indeed. Many times, you need to do things in a certain order or you are trapped with no way out but to start over. This means collecting items like shields and wings only at the right time so you can go through certain enemies unharmed; whereas if you didn’t have that shield, you couldn’t get past that enemy.

Mike: The game plays just like a Mario Brothers-type game – fairly self-explanatory. Bonzo must run, jump, and climb around the screens, avoiding bad guys, collecting goodies, and searching for the keys that will allow him to advance to the next level.

Adam: Advancing to the next level isn’t an easy task. You have to go around the world collecting keys. If you collect all of the red keys, an exit door will appear letting you enter into the next level. If you collect all of the blue keys, a bonus door will appear, allowing you to enter the bonus level, where you can rack up some serious points.

Mike:The bonus items are varied, and the enemies and challenges are diverse enough that you never get that “oh, another one of them, ho-hum” feeling. There’s always something new, from varied enemies to fall-away blocks to treadmill-like platforms that force you to travel in one direction (usually towards another obstacle).

Adam: Bonus items are a fun part of any game, and they aren’t left out of Monkey Shines! Items such as fruit and multiplier coins will increase your points, while items such as shields, wings, golden Bonzos, and lightning bolts will increase your power, lives, and protect you from enemies and falls. The enemies are really fun to play against, and they do vary greatly. Bees will drain your energy, while bombs, monsters, and lava will kill you. And I love the treadmill platforms, especially when you have to jump through the air onto them to reach a higher platform!

Mike: There are five very large worlds you can play, and there are also instructions on how you can create your own levels, for endless monkey madness. However, until you pay the $20 shareware fee, you can only play in one of the worlds.

Adam: You can play the first world of Monkey Shines, “Spooked” for 30 days. After that, you have to either pay the registration fee or delete the game from your hard disk.

Mike: I’m usually offended by demo-ware, and I usually find twenty bucks a little steep for a piece of shareware. However, in this case I make an exception. Monkey Shines doesn’t really cripple itself in anyway – all of the options are basically there, and you can play the game in all its glory like it was meant to be played. You simply can’t play all of it. A little disappointing, but at least you can get the true feel of the game.

I hate to say it, but for all of you non-fee-payers out there (I know you’re out there, and you know who you are!), the one world you are allowed to play is still expansive enough and fun enough that you probably won’t miss the other worlds (until you beat the game and find yourself yearning for more, that is!). As for the price, it is higher than most, but this game is also better than most – once you play it yourself, you will see exactly how justified Fantasoft is in their pricing of Monkey Shines. It’s money well spent, in my opinion.

Adam: Since Mike just about covered everything there is to cover, I’ll just have to agree with him on this one.

Requirements/Availability

Monkey Shines needs between four and five megs of free RAM to run, and would like at least a 68040 processor. However, the ‘read me’ file goes very much in-depth on how to make the game speed acceptable on ‘020 and ‘030 based Macs. Fantasoft programmed the game to load the levels differently on slower machines; a process which increases loading time but improves game performance. This is a very nice touch, one which shows Fantasoft’s commitment to producing excellent, top-drawer quality games while maintaining playability on the widest range of processors and configurations possible.

You can download Monkey Shines (5400k) at Fantasoft’s Web site, at http://www.fantasoft.com, or at the My Mac Software Library, at http://www.mymac.com/software. Screenshots of Monkey Shines are also available at the Fantasoft Web site.

The Summary

Mike: Awesome graphics, music, and game play coupled with a relatively small learning curve, easy playability, and excellent hardware requirements make Monkey Shines a winner in the highest degree.

Adam: It seems that shareware games out there keep decreasing in quality, so Monkey Shines is a refreshing change. It has the best music soundtrack I’ve heard in a long time, and its graphics and smooth animation are unmatched. Though a 5MB download may seem rather large, it’s very small for a game of this quality. Way to go, Fantasoft!

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    Mike Wallinga (mlwall@mtcnet.net)
    Adam Karneboge (webmaster@mymac.com)


    Websites mentioned:
    http://www.fantasoft.com
    http://www.mymac.com/software

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