Ape Escape was one of my favorite games on the PS1. I’m not 100% sure why, it didn’t have any spectacular plot, wasn’t exactly advanced in any technology aspects, and was very simple. But it was a fresh new game and I had a lot of fun playing it. For a while now it was being rumored whether or not an Ape Escape 2 would ever hit U.S. shelves. But it’s finally here and being the fan I am I had no choice but to check it out.Ape Escape 2 puts you in the role of Jimmy who is Spike’s (hero of first games) cousin. After Jimmy accidentally sends intelligence-boosting helmets to Monkey Park, all the monkeys, led by the white monkey Specter, setout to takeover mankind. Any of this ring a bell? Incase you never played the first one (go out and buy it right now) this is almost the exact same way the first game started. The story isn’t very deep and is predictable at times. If your expecting a novel-like story then you’ll be disappointed.
Ape Escape 2’s unique art style, which is a mix between computer generated and cel-shaded, really adds to the game. Each level is designed well and the varied color array helps keep the mood up beat and the game interesting. The character models will strike you as very odd at first, especially if you never played the first game. The character designs aren’t meant to look like real humans and the overall look is different from what most U.S. gamers are used to, but that really isn’t a bad thing, is it?
Ape Escape 2 has a very Japanese feel to it, in large part due to the music (and the fact that it was originally made in Japan). There are 50 different tunes that play throughout the course of the game. For every stage there is a song to go along with the theme. All the songs can be unlocked at the Gotcha Box but there is no real point in going out of your way to listen to them because they’re all instrumental. The main character sounds a lot like that guy from Pokemon (not that I’ve ever watched Pokemon, honest). All the voices are done well and can be heard very easily, which is always a nice thing if there are no subtitles at the bottom.
I always like when I see a humorous game. It shows that even while many games try to pursue flawlessness and realism there are still games being made just to enjoy. Ape Escape 2 has a lot of little things that will make you chuckle. After all how could a game having to do with monkeys not be funny?
The original Ape Escape was the first game on the PS1 to fully utilize the analog controllers. If you played the first game you know exactly what you’re in for. The Ape Escape 2 control-scheme is quite ideal, not too simple, not too complex. With all the tasks present in the game it really helps to be able to switch gadgets with the simple tap of a button and the function of the two joysticks helps make full use of the different gadgets.
The first Ape Escape, in its new style of gameplay, was extremely fun. Before I even played Ape Escape 2 I wondered if it could manage to be as fun as the first. It is. Ape Escae 2 is addicting fun. The combination of a lot of old platformer elements, a variety of cool multi-purpose gadgets, and the unique objective of trying to catch monkeys makes the game one of the most fun in a long time. It’s a bit on the easy side, especially the first half of the game. Luckily it’s not at such a low level where the game gets real boring real fast.
Ape Escape 2’s replay value exists in its 3 minigames that can be won from the Gotcha Box, which also happens to be the only part of the game that supports 2 players. Some may find the minigames fun, others frustrating because of the awkward controls. They are hard to learn, but once you get them figured out the minigames are very enjoyable.
Ape Escape 2 is a very enjoyable game that will keep you playing hours and hours at a time. If you were a big fan of the original Ape Escape your sure to love this game. The only major con is that it is very similar to the first one. The stories are very much alike and some of the levels are very heavily based on some of the levels in the original game. Of course this is a flaw that can be overlooked very easily. If your summer is as boring as mine, do yourself a favor and at least rent the game.
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