Hindsight : Ape Escape
Cart: Ape Escape
Cab: Playstation One
Coin: Sony Computer Entertainment Japan
To say that Ape Escape was a game changer would be a disservice to the game that introduced the world to the much-loved Dual Analog Controller.
Hailing from Japan, the story is suitably wacky; a monkey named Specter has donned a helmet which makes him super intelligent (and evil), conscripted a bunch of simians and headed back in time to achieve world domination, but not before kidnapping and brainwashing your best friend Buzz in the process. The player takes control of Spike, and is tasked with capturing said primates and stopping Specter before he realises his Planet of the Apes dream.
In order to catch these cheeky chimps, Spike must utilise a range of gadgets bestowed upon him during his adventure, including the Stun Baton, Monkey Net and Slingshot.
Katie thinks ‘you’re good’, how nice.
The control scheme of Ape Escape was its most praised feature, and rightly so due to its then innovative design. Movement was mapped to the left stick, and gadgets to the right, meaning every gadget was controlled differently; the Stun Baton was granted a 360° attack area, while gadgets such as the Dash Hoop required several rotations of the stick to charge up.
In keeping with the time travel theme, level locations varied from prehistoric times (complete with dinosaurs) to medieval Europe to feudal Japan, and finally a futuristic utopia ruled by Specter. With each new location came new monkey varieties; cave-monkeys, ninja monkeys, monkey knights and robo-monkeys were but a few of the enemy varieties Spike had to overcome.
Ape Escape received universal praise upon its release and is often listed among the best platformers on the Playstation One. The controls handle well, game-play is challenging while remaining fun, and the story, though strange, is engaging. It’s now available on the Playstation Store, and I strongly recommend you try it. A word of warning though; the ‘secret’ ending available after catching all 204 apes is not worth the extra effort. If you really want to see it, just check on Youtube.
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Hailing from 'The Grim North'; Joshua is about to graduate and enter the real world - and so has decided to throw himself into talking about the one thing he knows best: video games! As money is tight, he's ploughing through the plethora of retro games present in his student house. Just as soon as they pay the electricity bill.