SYSTEM
PSX

PRICE
$49.95

DEVELOPER
Sony

PUBLISHER
SCEA

RELEASE
06/99

Ape Escape Review

By: John Doe


3D games seem to be getting better and better on the PlayStation and Ape Escape is no exception. If you mistake the theme and the look of the game as kid stuff, you'll be missing out on one of the best games of the year. This game will please gamers from Chimpan-A to Chimpan-Z. Take Note: Dual Shock Control Only!


Highs:
Lows:

I avoided this game when I first saw it in LA at E3, because it looked like just another kiddy game. Let's face it, monkeys throwing bananas don't exactly relate on the same level as Lara Croft blowing away some guy with an uzi. One is for adults, one is for kids, right? Well, no. Not right. Just like Mario is an across the board hero loved and played by all ages, the same could be said of Ape Escape. The genius is in the innovative gameplay and Ape Escape overflows with it.

You play as Spike who must capture all of the monkeys who have went back in time to re-write history from a primate perspective, (never mind all of this evolution crap). Spectre the once docile monkey, donned the Professors Peak Point Helmut and not only became super-intelligent but a tad megalomaniacal in the process it would seem. Thanks to the Prof's constant tinkering, Spike gains access to the latest gadgets that will help him on his quest. You'll need to master everyone of them to get the job done, and that's what makes this game so great.

The amount of control you have over Spike and his weapons and movements are what elevate this game to superstar status. Sony should be appluaded for taking a chance and developing a game that actually requires the Sony Dual Shock controller. If gaming is to evolve then the industry needs to make more decisions like this. You'll be doing things with that controller I'll bet you didn't think could be done. I was sure surprised. For example, I didn't know you could actually press in the analog control pads. But to dive while swimming, you have to do just that. Want to crawl along the ground and sneak up on an escaped ape? Then press in the left analog pad! You can even play dead! Primarily the left analog control is used for movement and the right analog control is used for your various gadgets. R1 is used for jumping and you can even double jump. You can have four weapons available at one time and they are selected via the buttons (Suqare, Triangle, Circle, X).

There are 9 gadgets to use throughout the game. You'll start with the Stun Club (a lightsaber-esque device used for stunning monkeys), The Time Net which sends the time-intruding primates back to the future, The Water Net, which is a Time Net device and a submersive water craft all in one, The Super Hoop which temporarily shields you from harm will boosting your speed, The Monkey Radar which does exactly what it is supposed to, the Sky Flyer which will allow you to get to areas once thought unreachable, the Slingback Shooter which supports three different projectiles, the R.C. Car which you can use via remote control and the Mystery Gadget (???). Ape Escape offers great replay value by allowing you to re-enter areas using new gadgets that will take you places previously unavailable without the gadget.

The monkeys themselves have a few gadgets up their sleeves too, like machine guns and other devices of destruction, so watch out. Also, it's extremely important to take notice of the monkeys hats. If they are blue that means they have no idea you are around. If it changes to yellow, they are aware of your presence. If the hat is red they are aware of your presence and trying to escape. If that hat starts flashing, they are going to attack.

Graphically Ape Escape is a lush visual landscape that was once thought only to exist on the N64 or PC. And no fog either. As impressive as Spyro the Dragon looked (and it was awesome) Ape Escape actually looks better. You'll be amazed at what this five year old PlayStation architecture can do in the right programmers hands. 3D games aren't going to look much better than this before the PlayStation 2 shows up.

The music is quirky, bright and cartoony and for all those reasons it annoyed me. I needed to shut it off after awhile. Okay 5 seconds. The sound fx are inspired and whacky. Some of the dialogue was too "Saturday Morning Cartoon" for me, but perhaps that's a minor complaint. I mean, it isn't Metal Gear Solid, so I can let it go...this time.

Complaint Dept. I'm beginning to think that 3D games are always going to have camera problems. This game is no different. Sometimes the camera just doesn't want to be in the place you need it. You can fiddle with it to get behind you, but that's a little too much to do when you are chasing a monkey while using both analog controls and the jump button. Many a monkey escaped my net while I fumbled for a better camera angle. It's not devastatingly bad, but it does need mentioning. Another little bone of contention is the slight slow down that is experienced at certain times of the game.

In the good news dept. Ape Escapes' mini-games are a blast all unto themselves. Boxing, Snowboarding and a Space Shooter can all be un-locked at various points of the game. With all of this and over 20 levels of monkey shines, the fun never slows down. With such a wide range of moves and weapons, you'll really need to put that thinking cap on to capture some of thse tough little monkeys.

So what are you waiting for, 3D action/platform fans? It doesn't get any better than this on the PlayStation, and that's a fact. Remember that you need the Dual Shock Controller to play Ape Escape, but you should probably own one by now anyway. It may look childish but it's 110% pure fun for everyone.

OVERALL
9.5

GRAPHICS
9.5

CONTROL
10.0

MUSIC/FX
7.0

FRUSTRATION
6.0

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