In Depth Review: Ape Escape [PSX]
Maybe the most positive way to sum up Ape Escapeís graphics is to say that itís whatís on the inside that counts. But wait, thatís being far too nice. The visuals in this game suck a lot and actually intrude upon the gameplay. The slightly above average character models and overall graphical style would be excusable if the draw distance was at least decent. I canít tell you how many times I pulled out my slingshot and shot at a distant enemy just to have him Ďdisappearí into the mist. Really, this game doesnít even begin to compare with any of the PS1ís better-looking games like Chrono Chross and Final Fantasy 8. Iím not sure why the graphics are so poor. Maybe the developers thought it would be funny to make your opponents evaporate in the blink of an eye. If they did, they have a very sick sense of humor.
While the sound isnít as bad as the graphics, itís nothing to write home about. My main problem with the audio is the god-awful voice acting. Every time the characters say something in a cut-scene thereís a long and awkward pause before the next character speaks. Not only that, but you can tell that there is a real lack of talent in the voice actors themselves. As far as Iím concerned, this game would have been far better off if it had just stuck with dialogue boxes.
If youíre wondering about the music, itís not bad, but itís not great. Most of the soundtrack has a techno sound to it. Not really my thing, but itís not bad by any means.
As far as the backstory? Wow. The plot of Ape Escape is inexcusable. Iím sure that my life is significantly worse after hearing it. Iíll probably die before I reach the age of 30 just because I heard this plot. Gee, thanks Sony. Without giving too much away, the premise is that a monkey gains human level intelligence and creates a monkey army to take over the world. From there it sinks hard.
The foundation of an army of monkeys taking over the human race is a wonderful start. But, after the beginning melodrama and clichťs take over. What a waste of time.
Now that Iím done bashing Ape Escapeís downfalls, I can reveal itís redeeming quality. Its gameplay kicks ass. To hell with graphics, sound, and plot, we have an army of monkeys to catch!
Ape Escapeís controls are perhaps itís biggest distinguishing quality. You move the character with the left analog stick and you use whatever gadget you have equipped with right analog stick. You can have up to 4 gadgets equipped at a time and you switch between them with X, O, triangle, and square. This works much like the C buttons did in the N64 Zeldas.
Some of the gadgets are pretty standard, (i.e. the sword, the slingshot) but some are very cool. My particular favorite is the RC car. You have full 3D control of the car with the right analog stick. Itís definitely great to be able to chase a monkey out of a cage with a car that can go where you canít. This is one of the smaller additions that make this game so fun.
The objective of this game is to catch as many monkeys as possible. Not once will you get tired of hunting down the many apes of this title. You see, the strongest aspect of this game is its sheer variety. No two monkeys behave in the same manner nor are they caught under the exact same circumstances. The numerous gadgets also help to make every scenario fresh. The only other game that Iíve ever played comparable to Ape Escape in gameplay variety, is none other than Super Mario Sunshine. That should give you some idea as to how interesting the gameplay is.
For those that feel obligated to catch every monkey possible Ape Escape is nowhere near over after you watch the credits. But, if you donít really want to catch every single monkey there isnít that much to do. Sure you could work on trying to unlock all of the mini-games, but they just arenít that great. Ape Escape offers sufficient replay value. However, there could have been much more.
After itís all said and done, Ape Escape is flawed. But itís still a great game seeing that most of its flaws are technical. Any fan of 3D platformers should at least rent this game. Itís truly an unforgettable experience.
Dedicated to Stephen's aunt.