Ape Escape 2
Those of you who've played the first Ape Escape (PS1) should know exactly what to expect here--the gameplay hasn't changed a bit. This familiarity may seem disappointing to some--only three of the 12 gadgets here are actually new, making it feel more like an extended remix of the first game than a true sequel--but the colorful graphics, quirky humor, and great gameplay definitely help ease the pain. The new Gotcha Box and minigames make for nice diversions (Monkey Soccer is actually quite fun with four players), and the voiceover localization is surprisingly good. One gripe: the new sidekick, Pipotchi, is almost totally useless."]
Like its PS1 predecessor, AE2 is certainly cute and clever, but I wish there was more here than, well, just catching escaped apes. The dual-analog-stick control scheme is great, but the gimmicky primate retrieval gadgets don't alter the gameplay enough to keep me enthralled. Plus, the game's far too easy--even kids could likely finish this in an afternoon. Factor in some dull visuals, annoying music, and worthless unlockables (like stupid stories about apes...seriously), and you have a fine rental, but nothing more.
Lucky for Ape Escape 2 there's something incredibly fun about chasing monkeys around with a net. It helps to hide the fact that this isn't very difficult or long-- even a spazzy camera can't spoil the simian hijinks. I love the satisfying mix of action and puzzles as you find, disarm, and nab rogue apes, and the colorful, cartoony graphics and wacky story are top notch. (Plus I'm a sucker for games that use the voice actors from Pokemon.) Overall, a fun way to spend a weekend.
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Thought it seems an unlikely combination, monkeys have long been a part of videogames. It all started with the classic Donkey Kong, which captivated audiences back in the 80's with its unique gameplay. It could even be said that monkeys played a large part in Nintendo's rise in the console industry, as the success of Donkey Kong was the incentive Nintendo needed to sign Shigeru Miyamoto (creator of Donkey Kong and a slew of other famous franchises) who then went on to create Super Mario Bros' and well, the rest is history. Since then, primates and the like have starred in many other games, including Donkey Kong Country, , the series, Ape Escape, and much more. Curiously enough, each one was excellent' a couple of them were even revolutionary. Odd as it may sound, one has to wonder: do monkeys make a game better? If Ape Escape 2 is any indication, then the answer to that question very well might by 'yes.'?
Ape Escape 2 is the sequel to the sleeper hit Ape Escape on the PSOne. Ape Escape was a unique platform game that was noteworthy since it was the first game that required the Dual Shock 2 due to its innovative control scheme which used the left joystick to move around and the right one to attack. It remains the same in Ape Escape 2, as does most of the game's mechanics. Fans of the original Ape Escape looking for something new might be disappointed because it's the same basic formula: enter world, capture apes with wacky gadgets, and do a little dance when the world is beaten. A tried and true formula. Fortunately, Ape Escape 2 has solid level design that keeps things entertaining. The blend of basic jumping and puzzle elements coupled with the fun gadgets keeps Ape Escape 2 fresh throughout the entire game.
Ape Escape 2 isn't without its faults though. The camera is at best unreliable and needs constant manipulation to give you the proper field of vision. Also, Ape Escape 2 just isn't all that long, and can be easily completed in less than seven hours by the seasoned gamer. Fortunately, there are various extras that can be collected, and the three extra mini-games that can be won are all a blast, each one using the Dual Shock 2 in unique ways.
Ape Escape 2 doesn't push the PlayStation 2's hardware to the limits, but it all comes together well in spite of being technically behind the times. Environments and character look simplistic, but the cartoon look really enhances the visuals. Characters, especially the apes, are animated beautifully and really lend to the game's charming nature. Framerates are solid with little slowdown. Like every other platform game out there, it can be annoyingly cute, but most of the time it comes off as charming due to the game's quirky nature. Likewise, the sound fits in well, with appropriately cute voice acting, music, and sound effects.
Ape Escape 2, like it's predecessor, probably won't receive the recognition from the public that it deserves. It's a shame too because it's a solid platform game through and through. Simply put, Ape Escape 2 is worth going bananas over.