Ape Escape, The Game
Now, anyone who reads my blog posts, or listens to me for more than a few moments, knows that i am absolutely in love with a PSX game called “Ape Escape”. It is by far, my favorite platformer, and i am always disappointed by how little, people talk about this game, when i would argue it rivalling titans like Crash Bandicoot in terms of design. So i guess today i will try and shed some light, as to why i absolutely adore this cult classic
Now, there are essentially, 2 versions of this game. PAL and NTSC. If you ever play this game on an emulator, i would suggest talking to me about the PAL version, as i believe it is the better version of the game. The main differences in the games, are the names of the levels (“Rainy Lake” as opposed to “Primordial Ooze” is a notable example that comes to mind), and the voice acting used. Again, i think the PAL does a far better job in both of these camps, with better level naming, and better voice acting. Although in regards to the voice acting, the voice acting in the pal version is actually really squeaky, but it certainly fits the characters better, than the voice acting of the NTSC version.
So Ape Escape was essentially one of the prototype games that were developed by Sony Japan for testing out the Dual Shock analog sticks, and thus, is the first game to require the analog sticks to play. However, since 2 Sticks was a somewhat new concept, the controls are very odd. The left analog stick is used to move, as per usual, whereas the right analog stick is used to aim your gadgets and weapons. The camera controls were put on L1 and L2 with the Right bumper buttons (If i recall) being used for jump. The D pad controlled the camera also in conjunction to the bumper buttons, and the OX^ buttons were used for gadget select. All of these controls are pretty average, however, i think that there is a little bit of charm to them.
The graphics in this game, are essentially, a love it or hate it kind of deal. They are what you would expect from a PSX game of its size. Whilst being worse than crash bandicoots, and mainly just being basic polygons, i think that adding much more to the graphics, would take away from the low poly charm it has going for it. Some structures look really cool, such as the monkey ruins,and the game does a great job at portraying the theme of each levels, for example, you know its an Asian level with how the buildings are done. So while the graphics are hit or miss, on to a point that will never miss, huh?
The music in Ape Escape is honestly as good as it can get. Great drum and bass that also fits the era in which you are playing? What more could you ask for? There is a previous blog post where i went into the music in much more detail than i will here, so i suggest you go and give that a read!
The story is one of the weaker points to this game. Essentially its just a cookie cutter story of a mad genius who you need to stop. It is quite cute however the way that they portray the story, which does need to be applauded. The story is in short, Stop homer from doing stuff in that one Tree House of horror episode.
This is where Ape Escape really shines. The game, at its heart is a collect-athon with segments of platforming and puzzling thrown in. However the way that the game approaches platforming is really fun in my opinion, and some of the puzzles are really well thought out. The game also has a few times where you will get a new item and have to go back to a previous level to complete it fully, which always adds a bit of fun into the mix! There are also these Coins floating around the place called “Specter Coins”, which once you collect, 10, 20 and 40 of them, unlock some cool mini-games, like Boxing, Skiing and a nice Arcade style Space Shooter. I assume these were all prof of concept games that they put into the final game as a cool we aside from the main story. The gadgets you encounter in the game range from a Lightsaber, a Hula Hoop that makes you run fast, and a Radio-Controlled car. In my opinion, that is fucking rad!
So, i hope i have convinced you to give this classic game a go!
Keep your realities separate...lunarised_