by Sony Computer Entertainment
ESRB Rating: Everyone
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• Kid-friendly action game
• Travel through time to stop evil monkey genius
• 25 levels
• Capture monkeys with monkey radar, stun clubs, and other gadgets
• Several minigames included
Editorial Review: What's more fun than a barrel of opposable-thumbed simians? How about the silly--but challenging--Ape Escape? While not the first game to offer enhanced control with Sony's dual-stick analog controller, Ape Escape is the first game to require either an analog or dual shock controller to play. That requirement ensures that players will have full control of their hero, Spike. One stick moves Spike in any direction, while the other swings his monkey-catching devices.
In Ape Escape, a circus monkey named Specter stumbles upon a scientist's prototype intelligence-enhancing helmet, turning him into an evil monkey genius. As Spike, the professor's young friend, you must travel through time to clean up all of the monkeys Specter has sent back in his attempt to repopulate the world. If that's not enough to make you laugh, then chasing his goofy monkey minions as they scurry from your clutches will certainly tickle your funny bone. You'll discover a variety of gadgets to help you in your quest, including monkey radar, a slingshot, and a propeller for flying. Spanning 25 huge levels, Ape Escape is approachable for novices, and offers added challenges for veteran gamers. One such challenge is to lure a dinosaur near a rocky cliff, and then jar the monkey off his back and into your net. Note: no monkeys were harmed in the creation of this game. --Jeff Young
Unique control scheme brings new challenge to the PlayStation
Massive game has plenty of replay value
Unique control scheme requires some ramp-up time
GameSpot Review: The 3D platformer has been established for some time now, but only recently has it begun to come of age. Like any game in a popular genre, it has been cloned many times with few successes. Ape Escape excels in precisely what so many 3D platformers lack: innovation and solid design. Don't let Ape Escape's title and story fool you - behind the lame rhyme and kiddy story lies an addictive, innovative action game that fans of the genre would be advised not to miss.
Specter was the cutest monkey at the amusement park until that fateful day - the day he found the P-Point helmet. Once donned by the curious simian, the helmet boosted Specter's intelligence to super-genius levels. Tired of living to amuse spiky-haired locals, Specter sends an army of monkeys into the past to rewrite history and dominate the humans that embarrassed him all his life. Caught in the villain's temporal wake, it's up to Spike to scour Earth's history to capture the primate hordes and, ultimately, Specter himself. While a little on the young side, Ape Escape's story is ultimately pretty clever.
Ape Escape consists of more than 20 huge 3D levels based on a variety of time zones. To clear a level, Spike must capture a set number of monkeys. After filling that quota, you must access the next level. Reaching the monkeys will require you to jump, swim, climb, and fly through a variety of locales and situations. In addition to dexterity, a job like this takes tools... or, in this case, toys. Heading up your arsenal are a time net and a lightsaber-esque stun club. The stun club simply incapacitates the victims long enough to get the net around them, while the netting itself unleashes a cascade of special effects that'll whisk the monkey back to the present. Throughout the course of the game, Spike will collect six additional gadgets. In addition to providing the means of completing future levels, returning to previous levels with new gadgets will allow Spike to capture any monkeys he left behind. The monkeys themselves vary in speed and strength and come equipped with weapons all their own to make their pursuit all the more interesting. In addition to monkeys, each level has specter tokens to collect. Collecting enough tokens will open minigames that exist simply to provide you with more entertainment. The resulting experience is simple to master but addicting nonetheless. "One more monkey" will quickly become "one more level."
While there are plenty of games with a solid concept, it's not every day that a game can actually pull it off in execution. Ape Escape is the only game on the PlayStation that requires a Dual Shock controller and takes full advantage of its buttons and both sticks. While it may sound daunting, Ape Escape's control is beautifully executed, easy to master, and, above all, intuitive, Ape Escape elegantly uses both analog sticks - the left controls your movement and the right controls the gadgets themselves. To make sure you get the hang of things, however, each tool comes with a mandatory training session to interactively instruct you on its uses through actual practice. You can select up to four items for instant use at any given time, greatly reducing annoying inventory selection. The digital directional pad controls camera movement, aided with the left-hand shoulder buttons. Although the camera controls are sometimes frustrating, they are easily among the best in the genre. The only other control issue is a general frustration when controlling Spike underwater. In the end, however, Ape Escape's control is top-notch.
As one might expect from a Sony-backed game, Ape Escape is a sight to behold. Each of the game's huge levels is rife with detail and color. In addition to the beautiful visuals, the game is backed by some strong, brilliant coding - the horizon line is surprisingly far out for a game of this type on the PlayStation while keeping an almost completely slowdown-free frame rate. The playful techno soundtrack is stage-appropriate and mildly interactive - for example, moving stealthily douses some of the music's instruments to give it a mellower flavor. While the game's sound effects are nice, the voice-acting in the game's real-time cinematics is uniformly atrocious.
Ape Escape is one of the PlayStation's finest development efforts, one that shouldn't be overlooked because of its silly storyline and title. Underneath these lies one of the best 3D platformers to date, brimming with innovation, originality and fun.
Great,But could be better, December 1, 2002
Reviewer: An 8-year old gamer
I like puzzles.But the games puzzles are a little too easy. Sony should make the puzzles harder.
Ape Escape rules the Dual Shock kingdom...., November 8, 2002
Reviewer: blackaciddevil01 from USA
I got to admit, I know the game is aimed more towards kids but I'm 35 and I had a blast with this game. I never even heard of the game til it was shown to me in someones' collection. Being bored one day, I put it in the Playstation to check it out and, lo and behold, I played that game til early the next morning. The object of the game is to catch all the monkeys lose in each level. Trust me, it isn't as easy as you might think. It takes some smarts to get them lil critters. Armed with several different gadgets, you're a one-man monkey catching machine. I know it might seem like a silly game to you but it's one of the most fun games I've played in a long while. You definitely owe it to yourself to see what it's all about.
Bought it for the wife, I'm hooked as well!, October 14, 2002
Reviewer: alankelly from Princess Anne, Maryland United States
Ape escape is one of those games whose fun factor will make you overlook any shortcomings that it may have. Sure the camera work is a little off (just go into first person mode and look around, and hit the button to go back to 3'rd person to solve the problem of blind spots), and the unconventional controls can be tough to master.... But this game is loads of fun. Those of you with PS2's might find the graphics a little primitive as well compared with modern games, but few games can match the enjoyment you will have with this title.
You spend your time attempting to round up the furry inhabitants who seem to have plans of their own. You of course have the typical tools of the trade, in the form of a net and stun gun like sword. Your competition, on the other hand, seems to be just a little bit smarter than the average monkey. This makes for some amusing game play. These little fellas don't go down without a fight. Most run when they're aware of your presence, but some will stand their ground and make you earn your "catch" so to speak. Their reactions range from surprise to anger (believe me, it will be obvious to you), and you will encounter some really amusing moments during the chase.
As a hard core gamer, I can't really say this one was really difficult. I scooped them up one after another with relative ease (well, not always). Some did make me search a little longer, but the average gamer will find a well-balanced challenge in front of them. I bought this game with my wife in mind, but I must admit that I love it myself!
very fun, July 31, 2002
Reviewer: dan from ???
One of the best PS game ever. It is just plain great! Definetly get it if all you have is a PS.
Hey it made Greatest Hits, July 3, 2002
Reviewer: seany from Monkeyland
Great game, I dont really think its a little kid game...im 14 and i still think its tough.
The controls are very hard to get used to.
Besides the goofy storyline and tough controls, its still an awesome game.
Only ok, June 30, 2002
Reviewer: A 12-year old gamer
This game to me, wasnt that much fun. Pretty much all you do is try to catch monkeys, and after a while it isnt fun. I would highly suggest you try out this game before you actully buy it.This game just starts to get a little bit tired. Thanx for looking at this review. Hope it was helpful.
Ape Escape, June 10, 2002
Reviewer: A gamer from Marlborough, Ct United States
This game is way overrated A mediocre game at best poor graphics fair gameplay. Overall nothing special Nothing horrible
Ape Escape is Awsome, May 12, 2002
Reviewer: Joe from Newbury Park, California United States
This game is awsome if u dont have this game... buy it it takes a long time 2 beat the game it also has fun mini games its fun to look into the monkey and c the monkeys leel and all their info this is a awsome game!!!