Ape Escape 2
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5  |  Ape Escape 2 Review (PS2)
larsoncc , 4/30/2005 9:49:30 PM

Ape Escape 2:  You're going to like it, a lot.  You'll probably hate me for not liking it.  That's OK, I'm pretty convinced that you ride the short bus if you like this game.  I'll take your criticisms in stride. 

The game's bad guy

Red Alert!  Red Alert!  This game sucks!

Here's my opinion of the game:  If you're a guy, and you're over the age of 18, forget it.  You know - pretend it doesn't exist.  This game clearly isn't for you; walk away slowly.  Let the kids and the uber-geeks have their giggle-fest, and turn SportsCenter back on.  Allow me to make this mistake for you - I got the game because of the hype, and the nearly universal good reviews.  Look for yourself - nearly EVERYONE on EVERY board likes this game.  That's because drugs are so damned cheap.  Also, most people that read and post on game boards are between the ages of nine and fifteen.  That's not a bad thing, that's a FACT, and that's the audience for this game.  At twelve and younger, I have no problem recommending this game - a nine year old would have a blast with Ape Escape 2.  

But frankly, I don't care about your kid.  I wanted a game that I'd enjoy.  Ape Escape 2 is not that game.

Here's the story line:  A bunch of monkeys are wearing helmets.  These helmets make them get into trouble.  You're the idiot that put the helmets on the monkeys in the first place.  You must stop those monkeys by capturing them with your net.  Zap the monkeys first with a stun bat, and swing away with your net.   There are gadgets along the way that help you do stuff better, like fly, swim, find the little bastards, etc etc.

Graphics

The graphics in Ape Escape 2 are very pastel.  They're not up there with the best of the PlayStation 2 games, but I don't think that's the point.  They are cartoon-ish, garish, very Japanese, and I'm pretty sure the developers like it that way.  I know most of the people playing the game will like it that way.  They're simplistic, and while I'm not going to fault the game for that, I don't think I need to be singing their praises either.

Graphically, there are some "nice touches", but they grow tiresome after a while.  When you capture an Ape, it gives a fairly dramatic animation of the capture.  That one isn't too bad, especially if you've been chasing a monkey around for 2-3 minutes.  The animation that gets on my nerves is the one at the beginning and end of each level.  It's this teleport animation that looks cool the first or second time that you play, but gets SO repetitive that you'll want to put your fist through the TV.

The camera system sucks.  I'm not going to get too mad about that, because the camera system sucks in most platformers.  But - be prepared to get stuck behind walls and crap like that.

catching a monkeySound

In Ape Escape 2, there is a lot of talking.  There's nothing worth noting that's either good or bad, other than it sounds like a badly acted cartoon.  To be precise, the speech is like a Yu-Gi-Oh cartoon or any other Fox Box cartoon; it's overacted and simple.

Game Play

The control scheme is different enough from other platformers that there is a bit of a learning curve.  Both analog sticks are used in character control - one for a weapon (a net, as there isn't any real violence in this game), and the other to move your character.  It won't take you too long to get used to the control scheme, and the levels start out fairly easy to give you time to learn the controls.

You don't need a walkthrough for Ape Escape 2.  You get a gadget, and then you use that gadget on the very next level.  If not that, then the environments make it obvious which gadgets you should be using (in water...  you'd use the water gadget.  To get up high, you use the helicopter).  There are also a million audio tutorials, enough to be annoying as hell.  Given all of that, you'll whiz through the first few levels without even breaking a sweat.

Other Thoughts

Here's what every other web site is saying about Ape Escape 2:

  • It's got an innovative control scheme.  This makes the game fun.
  • IT'S GOT MONKEYS!!  WHO DOESN'T LIKE MONKEYS!?!?  (anyone seen where I put my public hair?)
  • Oh, my God - you guys totally missed out on this game that didn't sell well, called Ape Escape.  Dude, we even put it on our "best of all time list".  We have to give this game a good review, both cause we're sheep, and because it proves our streed cred.
  • We can't put our finger on it, but it's just...  fun!

I call Sony-induced shenanigans. 
chasing a monkeyHere's what I say about Ape Escape 2:

  • If I play one more obviously Japanese game, with whacked-out Japanese crack smoking, stuff-me-into-the-subway, watch too much anime, pastel-til-you-puke design schemes, I'm just going to lose it.
  • The control scheme is unique, but it's not some fantastic leap of science.  Instead of using the right stick to control your camera, you use it to control your weapon.  Big whoop.
  • Screw the monkeys.  Monkeys were fun in Monkey Ball, not because of the monkeys, but because you could look PAST the monkeys and enjoy a GREAT multi-player experience.  This game is just you, monkeys, funny looks from your significant other, and your buddies mocking you when they see you playing the game.
  • Screw your street cred.
  • This is a kids game.  It's not universally appealing.  It's also not so different that it deserves a lot of attention.  It's not all that fun, because it's repetative.

Overall

Overall, I didn't like Ape Escape 2.  It is a game meant for kids; girls or boys.  That's fine, but I'm not a kid, and my heart is black as coal. I give Ape Escape 2 a 5/10 - it doesn't live up to the hype, and while competently executed, it doesn't really do anything new.

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