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Ape Escape

video game review video game review video game review Video Game Review: Ape Escape Publisher: Sony
Category: Action
Platform: PS1
ESRB Rating: Everyone    Release Date: June 1999

Overall Rating: 3 Stars out of 4

Review by Tom Allen
3 Stars out of 4

Ape Escape is this year's Spyro the Dragon. It certainly is getting a big marketing push from Sony, and deservedly so. This is not your standard 3D action game. The control system is unique, using both analog thumbsticks on the PlayStation controller.

While the dual stick control is ideal for situations like the rowboat, it seems unnecessary for actions like swinging a net to capture wayward monkeys. We thought it would add to the game's scrambly, monkey feel, but it really doesn't. Also, swimming controls are way too fancy and cumbersome for their own good.

The control isn't bad, perhaps not even awkward, but you'll wish you could use the four geometric buttons to control items instead of the right thumbstick (like in Zelda). Since you have to press a geometric button to use an item anyway, it makes no sense to use a different button to control it.

Here's an analogy to explain what we mean. Pretend you're going into your pantry for some meatballs. Instead of grabbing a can of meatballs, you take the shelf with the meatballs on it, then get the meatballs. Why bother with the shelf?

If we've confused you even more, tough noogies. Aside from the control, the camera has a hard time consistently showing what's in front of you. This is a common gripe these days. The Gex series still has this exact same problem to this day.

Another surprising downside to Ape Escape is the graphics. Don't expect Crash Bandicoot quality here. The game suffers from frequent object popping, but you won't mind too much, especially since it doesn't interfere with game play.

The step-by-step in-game training and constant introduction of new gadgets keep you fairly interested in the game, much more so than the weak, cartoony plot. Despite all its flaws, Ape Escape is still fun and accessible for all ages. Expect this game to sell very well.

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