Ape Escape

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JaySevenZero
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Ape Escape

Post by JaySevenZero » January 13th, 2019, 12:50 pm

Here's where you can contribute your memories and opinions of Ape Escape for potential inclusion in the forthcoming podcast.

Friendly reminder to all that where feedback for the podcast is concerned, we love it - but self-editing (brevity) is appreciated. We do want to include a breadth of opinions where appropriate, but no-one wants a discussion podcast that’s mainly reading. Better to save yourself time and cut to the chase if you can.

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Simonsloth
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Re: 370: Ape Escape

Post by Simonsloth » March 2nd, 2019, 8:22 pm

Word of warning. I just popped my pal version of Ape Escape in my PS3 and i can’t get beyond the start screen. Turns out this is a known issue with the pal version which was never fixed :( I think you can get the NTSC version using a PSN account from US/Japan or use original hardware.

Update:
Tested on PHAT 60gb PS3 and same issue.
Not available on US psn store think it might be Japan only.
Works on slim ps2 and original ps1 as one would expect. Had to dig out my memory cards but it’s now up and running!

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Re: 370: Ape Escape

Post by seansthomas » March 22nd, 2019, 7:52 am

I remember being insanely excited for the launch of Ape Escape. Partly because all of the PlayStation magazines were saying it was a Mario beater, partly because I'd bought the original Dual Analog controller to play G-Police and hadn't had an excuse to use it since.

I had only ever owned bargain basement Sega consoles and second hand Amigas at this point, so my positive memories of the game may be skewed by a truly decent reference point, but I had a lot of fun with this game. It felt like Sony were desperate for a family-friendly Mario beating franchise, having launched Crash Bandicoot and Spyro already, but both had done nothing for me.

But Ape Escape was different and made me use a controller in a manner I'd never done before. It asked varied and imaginative things of you and those two analogue sticks, continuing to evolve as the game went on. They arguably used the technology better than anything else I can think of since. And catching the Apes (they seemed more like monkeys to me, but Monkey Escape doesn't have such a nice diction to it) with the net was euphoric, fun and stupid. I spent many happy hours with Ape Escape and even bothered to track down just about every last secret it held.

A few months later I bought an N64 with Mario 64, blitzed it for 24 hours getting every star and returned it that Sunday to get a refund from Electronic Boutique. And I knew what a truly brilliant platform game looked and played like. But I've always felt Ape Escape was the only PlayStation game from that era that ever held a light to it.

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Re: 370: Ape Escape

Post by DaMonth » April 15th, 2019, 11:11 am

The short and sweet of it is that I had a lot of fun with this. The controls. Everyone's gonna say this but I loved the control. I really appreciate a game that has very off not-immediate controls that take a learning curve: God Hand, MGS3, Resident Evil 4. Ho' boy, gotta love that SkyFlyer.

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Re: 370: Ape Escape

Post by Caligulas Horse » April 23rd, 2019, 1:35 pm

This is a game where you travel through time catching monkeys who have silly flashing lights on their heads, using a big net, a slingshot, an RC Car, a hula hoop & a stun rod that looks a bit like a knockoff toy light sabre - nuff said, it's amazing.

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Re: 370: Ape Escape

Post by Shystar137 » April 24th, 2019, 12:42 pm

Ape Escape played a big part in my gaming life as it was the first game I ever truly got in to. In fact it has a lot of my early gaming memories. I remember being so mesmerized by the world, the colors, the gadgets, and the music that it took me ages to realize there was more than one level. Eventually with the help of my friend it would also be the first game I ever 100%. I still remember the final boss giving me a hard time because I thought the warning sign that would flash on the screen was for me and I thought was doing something wrong.
Going back the game over a decade later and having played many games since I realize just how unique and interesting the game is. The first thing that hit me was just how crazy the game is. As kid I took every at face value didn’t question a thing, only now as an adult do I realize how mad the concept of catching monkeys throughout world history really is. And my god the voicing even worse then I remember… and I love it, I can’t help but laugh whenever scenes involving time traveling monkeys destroying history and everyone talks like it just another day in the office. The monkeys are all fun and I love reading up on all of them with the monkey radar and the gadget system is neat to. Having access to any four gadgets at once is really cool. But the most interesting thing is the dual analog controls. With the left analog stick left controlling movement and the controlling your gadgets. It’s a cool novelty but for the most part I feel that’s all it is. The majority of the weapons could be used just as easily with the a simple button press not dissimilar to the way a lot of Wii games would have you wiggle the Wii remote to perform a basic attack. However there are gadgets that do really take advantage of the second analog stick like the Monkey Radar which lets to scan for monkeys in any direction and run at the at the same time. But the best is the R.C. Car which acted as a second mini character to control and lent to some really cool puzzles.
I also played the PSP port on my Vita. Since the PSP lacked a second analog stick and a R2 and L2, it meant that buttons would now use the gadgets and X was bound to jump, it also left only three gadget slots. In some ways I prefer this, as spinning the analog stick every time I wanted to use the hop or flyer got tiring after a while and mushing a bottom works just as well. Plus jumping with the R1 button still feel feels strange. However I will admit losing the second analog gadgets does mean that the game lose some of its charm. I would say the PSP is overall about on par with its PS1 counterpart even if the three gadget slot and the improved voice acting means it is downgrade.
Still Ape Escape does mean a lot to me and I can’t help but smile whenever I hear that lab music. And I still do think it is a must play for any fan of 3D platformers.
Also I played Ape Escape 2 on my PS4. It’s pretty good but I feel it its overall downgrade. The music isn’t as catchy the gadget are mainly repeats, the double jump feels stiffer and the levels are I bit too big. Still there is enjoyment to be found, the monkey have even more personality now and the story is even crazier than before (though takes its self a lot less seriously now, which somehow makes it less funny). If you liked the first one then you will most likely enjoy the second. Never played 3 though.

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Re: 370: Ape Escape

Post by spoopycharlotte » May 8th, 2019, 12:02 pm

Simonsloth wrote:
March 2nd, 2019, 8:22 pm
Word of warning. I just popped my pal version of Ape Escape in my PS3 and i can’t get beyond the start screen. Turns out this is a known issue with the pal version which was never fixed :( I think you can get the NTSC version using a PSN account from US/Japan or use original hardware.

Update:
Tested on PHAT 60gb PS3 and same issue.
Not available on US psn store think it might be Japan only.
Works on slim ps2 and original ps1 as one would expect. Had to dig out my memory cards but it’s now up and running!
Indeed, it’s one of the few games where there are known emulation problems with the PS3. I got it working on my PS2 Slim - which I thought couldn’t read PS1 discs anymore. Silver linings!

Btw the Ape Escape soundtrack is on Spotify. It is very funky so would 100% recommend: https://open.spotify.com/album/1qrnvkgoCq3hJlw6k4ATiR

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Kez86
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Re: 370: Ape Escape

Post by Kez86 » May 13th, 2019, 11:14 am

This is written purely from memory having not played it in over 15 years although I would love to return to the series again.

I remember playing Ape Escape with a friend when the game came out and being mesmerised by the mandatory use of the DualShock controller. The bright, vibrant and wonderfully designed worlds were something unique which gave the game a sense of a time and space. Especially helpful considering the game is about travelling through time to catch anthropomorphic monkeys.

From using the Stun Club a.k.a The Child Friendly Lightsaber to the Dash Hoop and awesome R.C Car each gadget felt fun to use and rewarded you for your patience in sneaking up to those crafty monkeys. I remember frantically waggling the Dual Shock sticks to row the boat and feeling a sense of control and of being there which for me was a first and very unique.

Loved the game. In the present days I am thankful for Ape Escape as it introduced me to the sounds of the master DJ Soichi Terada whose music is a fantastic blend of Western House and Eastern soundscapes. It wasn't until discovering Soichi's music that I then realised he was composer for the Ape Escape. This made me like his music and the game even more.

THREE WORD REVIEW: Anthropomorphic monkey mayhem

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (18.5.19) - 370: Ape Escape

Post by Simonsloth » May 13th, 2019, 4:37 pm

Ape Escape is in my opinion as delightful now as it was on release. I never really felt at the time that it was seen as anything other than the analog controller gimmick game whereas it really was one of the finest examples of a 3D puzzle platformer on the PlayStation system. Crash Bandicoot was seemingly touted as the PlayStation's answer to Mario but I always felt in terms of quality Ape Escape was the far better comparison.

The game looks wonderful still especially on a CRT television. The colours are extremely vibrant and have an almost Nintendo-esque quality to them. The game is extremely memorable in level, character and puzzle design but above all else it still is fun to play. On revisiting it recently and remembering the right stick didn't control the camera I had flashbacks to the days of single stick 3D platformers and how integral the camera was to their design. In Ape Escape the gadgets are mapped to the right stick meaning the camera is manipulated using the shoulder buttons which despite how it sounds is surprisingly effective. I can't recall a single moment where the camera got stuck in the scenery or I made a mistake because I couldn't see what I was doing. The same cannot be said about a large chunk of 3D platformers both new and old.

The actual act of finding all the Apes was very fun although I felt that locking the true ending behind all of the monkeys was perhaps unnecessary as it became grating catching every single one by the end. I liked the little minigame arcade and the main hub being the in game menu was lovely also. There are plenty of good design decisions throughout like placing a respawning extra life before a tricky platforming sequence turning a potential horrible experience into a fun and challenging one. I think around this point in time the whole concept of lives in games was starting to be questioned. Also thank goodness for the monkey radar!

The only parts of the game which I found irritating all these years later were the woefully bad voice acting (oh no) and the overall soundtrack which sounded like nails across a chalkboard in terms of its appeal to my ears. I rarely turn the sound off in games but I frequently did when playing this. I appreciate I am perhaps in the minority here.

I have frequently considered if I really need my old PlayStation consoles any more given I own a fully backwards compatible PS3. However the fact this game can only be played in the UK on an older console is enough of a reason to make me hold onto them forever. Wonderful then, wonderful now, a fine game and one I would recommend to all.......even if you might need to turn the sound off.

Edit: I actually don't mind the soundtrack outside of the game as I have been listening to some using the link above. I can't stand it in the game though.

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370: Ape Escape

Post by Kez86 » May 14th, 2019, 3:04 pm

I feel this would be of some interest to the panel for the up-and-coming episode surrounding Ape Escape.



Essentially "Ape Escape 1.5: Monkey Pants Vacuum Bonanza"... Enjoy, or not...

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Re: Our next-but-one podcast recording (18.5.19) - 370: Ape Escape

Post by Mr Ixolite » May 15th, 2019, 7:07 pm

In a way, Ape Escape was my Mario 64. Not that it was my first 3D platformer, that honor goes to Crash Bandicoot, but it expanded how exactly games could work. For one thing, the levels were mostly devoid of exits, and were instead defined by whatever order you caught the monkeys, culminating in time trials that involves more strategy than twitch reflexes. Bosses only arrive at the back end of the game, and visual damage indicators instead of health bars. But the biggie is of course the Analog Controls, which had young me spending considerable time rowing in circles, and flailing the propeller impotently above me. In retrospect I lay some of the blame on the off-brand, gigantic, uncomfortable analog controller I got from my well-meaning parents. Because the controls in this game are spot-on, with great tactile feeling to everything from swinging your club, to steering an RC car into an unsuspecting ape.

That damn boat is still pretty bad though.

Revisiting the game for this podcast, I was surprised how well it holds up. The core gameplay loop is rock solid, to the point that the game can yank the final encounter with Specter from you not one, but four times, and all I think is “great, more game! The Circus is a space station now? Awesome!”

In terms of presentation, the time-travel framing may be underutilized in the stage design and some of the enemies look weirdly out of place, but levels are expansive and colorful, and even with the graphical limitations of a PS1 they’ve packed a ton of character into the monkeys. The plot also has a vibe all its own, with an empathically stated but poorly worded theme of “Power not being the true Strength” which I don’t think I’ve ever noticed before. And despite his dialogue being mostly variants on “So, You’ve come this far” and “see you later”, Specter is still an oddly compelling villain.

I also need to give a shoutout to the minigame corner, which was a major fixture of any multiplayer session in my home. I never bothered with Ski-Kids, but I’ve sold untold hours into the Zen-like simplicity of Galaxy Monkey, and nothing in the game has given me as sore thumbs as the chaotic flailing of Specter Boxing.

Ape Escape is a pretty singular experience among 3D platformers, with every aspect of the game oozing personality. But most importantly: The rush of catching a cheeky, occasionally missile-launching simian with a well-timed swing of your net is still one of the most satisfying feelings in all of gaming.

3 word review:
RC-Car Harassment

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Re: Ape Escape

Post by Alex79uk » May 22nd, 2019, 4:41 pm

Bugger, been meaning to post thoughts on this game for months and kept putting it off! Looking forward to the episode. I think the game was my first I played with my new Dual Shock pad - I may have even got them bundled together, my memory is rather hazy. I remember loving the game, although I'm not sure I ever completed it. It was such fun using all the tools and gadgets, though. I'd love a current gen remaster.

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Re: Ape Escape

Post by Simonsloth » May 28th, 2019, 8:53 pm

Just listened to the episode and realised my error when describing the controls. I think a little bit of Banjo Kazooie must have crept in. It was the dpad that controlled the camera with L1 centring it. Apologies.

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Re: Ape Escape

Post by ratsoalbion » May 28th, 2019, 9:05 pm

Simonsloth wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 8:53 pm
Just listened to the episode and realised my error when describing the controls. I think a little bit of Banjo Kazooie must have crept in. It was the dpad that controlled the camera with L1 centring it. Apologies.
We'll allow you to remain a member of the forum. This time.
;)

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Re: Ape Escape

Post by Simonsloth » May 28th, 2019, 9:14 pm

Phew. Lucky escape.

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Re: Ape Escape

Post by KissMammal » May 29th, 2019, 2:23 am

Really enjoyed the ep. Have very fond memories of this game, it's synonymous in my mind with the summer that The Phantom Menace came out. Best 3d platformer on the PS1 for my money.

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Re: Ape Escape

Post by Simonsloth » May 29th, 2019, 6:34 am

ratsoalbion wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 9:05 pm
Simonsloth wrote:
May 28th, 2019, 8:53 pm
Just listened to the episode and realised my error when describing the controls. I think a little bit of Banjo Kazooie must have crept in. It was the dpad that controlled the camera with L1 centring it. Apologies.
We'll allow you to remain a member of the forum. This time.
;)
I’ve already made another schoolboy error on the monkey island thread. I just counted my Amiga discs and there’s 11 not 12.

I shall await my removal from the forum.

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Re: Ape Escape

Post by ratsoalbion » May 29th, 2019, 6:39 am

Sorry mate but we have to maintain standards.

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