(Review archived from January 13, 2018)
Kim Possible was fun little TV series; a ‘girl-power’ action-comedy cartoon romp that I suspect was Disney’s answer to The Powerpuff Girls. While Kim Possible was neither as groundbreaking nor as ‘edgy’ as the Powerpuff Girls, it was a jovial Disney spin on James Bond style super-spy hijinks(okay, James Bond Jr.), and the tween/teen comedy of something like Clueless (okay, Saved By The Bell). Kim Possible: Revenge of Monkey Fist is the first Kim Possible action platformer appearing on Gameboy Advance, a series that would continue on in two subsequent GBA tiles (as well as a couple of DS titles and a PS2 entry). All told it’s a bit middling and vanilla, but it’s fine for what it is. The shows bright palette and distinctive look makes a good conversion to handheld graphics, and while there’s not a lot here to blow you away, it looks nice enough. Each level is introduced through its own title card which is a clever concession to the episodic nature of the show. After each boss fight you’ll see a short fully animated segment which I assume to have been converted directly from the show itself. The A/V down sampling to GBA format makes these segments look/sound about as good as one might expect (i.e. not so hot). The music is bouncy and energetic as one might expect, though not memorable. I basically just finished playing and I can’t call any specific tune to mind.
The game play is a mixed bag. It’s a combination of simple platforming segments and 2D side scrolling beat ’em up. The combat reminds me a bit of The Adventures of Batman and Robin on the SNES. You have a canned ‘combo’ executed by simply mashing the attack button, and you have a requisite jump kick attack. Further solidifying this comparison is that you’ll utilize a variety of gadgets attained through pickups which will assist your progress through levels (and which are occasionally required to do so). The other comparison I feel compelled to make is to the Genesis version of Strider, though perhaps not favorably. Just like Strider, KP: Revenge of Monkey Fist follows a pattern of using excessive frames of animation in your movement to ‘make you look cool’. And it does look cool, but the trouble is that this doesn’t necessarily lend itself to great feeling gameplay. This can occasionally make inputs seem slightly unresponsive, and in the case of KP: Revenge of Monkey Fist it leads to one specific issue. Certain areas of the game require you to do an extended hand spring jump to add extra height/distance to your jump. The trouble is that the animation involved here requires that you start running, then do a cart wheel into a double hand spring the end of which causes you to spring into a much higher jump than normal. The problem here isn’t that it’s difficult to execute, it’s not. The problem is that the on-screen distance required to allow for all those frames of animation means that you pretty much need a full screen between the begin and end of the maneuver, and often this means that you can’t even see your intended landing zone. It’s a questionable design choice, and although it’s not a frequent issue it’s compounded by the fact that this move is the only way you can hit the final boss.
Hopefully I haven’t sounded too harsh regarding KP: Revenge of Monkey Fist. There are certainly moments of fun to be had here. It’s nothing you haven’t seen before in other platformers of this kind, and arguably it’s all been done better and more cleanly, but ultimately Revenge of Monkey Fist is not a bad game. It’s a solidly mediocre game trending towards good.
If you have fond memories of Kim Possible or if you have an insatiable appetite for platformers (and have already played the landmark titles), the chances are good that you can find something to enjoy in Kim Possible: Revenge of Monkey Fist. For most of us I think that means it’s a game that can safely be skipped. And that’s the sitch.