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Review: PS1 Ape Escape

For this game critique, Ape Escape for the PlayStation 1 comes to mind. This is quite a cult classic for those in the late 90s. What I can say from my experience with this game is that it was a total mess. But, that doesn’t mean it is a bad game — here is some context. 

Ape Escape Game.

Back when I was a child, I did not own a memory card for the system. This had disabled me from having me save my progress of the game. Whenever I would play Ape Escape, I would usually go to as many stages as possible in one sitting. One time, I even made it to the halfway point of the game. Sadly, I would have to turn off the game since I did not have the ability to complete it all in one sitting. 

I was only able to complete the PSP remake of it, though I now see that version inferior to its PS1 counterpart. It would take until my teen years when I got a PS1 memory card that I could properly play the game. And it is a real blast to experience. 

The story is interesting to learn about. Two kids named Spike and Jake try to access the Professor’s time machine. However, a group of evil monkeys took over the lab with their leader Specter, who was a popular ape in Monkey Park until he put on a helmet that gave him power and intelligence. 

Specter came up with the plan to travel back in time so that apes will rule over the humans. To add salt to the banana, Jake became an evil minion for Specter. It is up to Spike to save the day. 

Controlling Spike is standard but fair. He can use gadgets to help him on his journey, including a stun club, a monkey net, an RC car, super hoop and many more. 

Spike will have to travel from many time periods such as the dinosaur land, beach, ancient lands, and eventually the present in the game to hunt down the monkeys and catch them. 

But the apes will try to escape and eventually fight back. Some have guns, boxing gloves, bombs, missiles and UFOs as a way of defense. Even monsters, knights and creatures will try to kill Spike in his journey. 

Several things to say in favor of this game would have to go for the music. It is very entertaining and catchy to listen to from time to time. I find myself being idle in the game at times to just hear what tunes play in the journey. 

There are also some minigames worth playing with friends when a certain amount of the hidden Specter coins are collected. Overall, this game, especially the series as whole, is an underrated gem. Japan seems to favor it back in the day. 

Sadly, like the Sly Cooper franchise, Ape Escape is another dormant franchise that hasn’t received a new game for over a decade. The game is still worth trying out. 

Copies of the game are in game stores and websites. It is a certified game to make players go bananas.


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