Ape Escape Review

For PlayStation

By Contributing Writer Jimmy Payne

Rating: Average     
   Ape Escape delivers exactly what I've come to expect from 3D platform 
games these days: Too much cuteness and not enough serious gameplay.  Right 
from the start, I was annoyed by the thrown-together-in-one-hour story line, 
and the mindless hunt for dumb monkeys pushed me over the edge.  Excited 
yet?  I didn't think so.
   Ape Escape's biggest flaw is its play mechanics.  In short, your goal is 
to run around huge areas looking for a bunch of evil monkeys.  Once found, 
you can use an assortment of gadgets, referred to as toys, to beat them over 
the head and catch them in a net.  Of course, while you're doing this you 
could take the time to explore, but there is absolutely nothing to entice 
you to do so.  Sure, there are special bonus items that can take you to 
mindless mini-games or boost your point total, but you have to ask yourself 
if you really want to waste your time doing this. Running around collecting 
items in Ape Escape is no more entertaining than running around collecting 
items in Banjo-Kazooie or Spyro the Dragon. Collecting items in these games 
creates no sense of accomplishment, and it's downright boring. 
   Pop Quiz: What is the one thing that is almost always screwed up in 3D 
action/platform games?  If you answered "the camera," you're absolutely 
right, and don't think for a minute that Ape Escape is an exception.  The 
most insignificant objects in Ape Escape possess the ability to block your 
view of the game at any time.  Also, the camera often zooms in way too 
close, which prevents the player from seeing enough of what's around him or
her.  The digital pad and shoulder buttons on the controller are assigned 
to moving the camera around at times like these, but they aren't very 
useful and they usually just end up distorting your view even more.          
   The graphics are a mixed bag.  The worlds look decent, but the polygonal 
characters are very jagged and distorted at times.  Up close, you can see  
jagged outlines of facial features instead of smooth ones.  In addition, 
the game's water and terrain effects aren't at all impressive.
   The music tracks are probably the nicest thing in Ape Escape.  I 
especially like how when you move slowly and quietly, some of the 
instruments fade out, creating a more simple and curious sound to them.  
However, I was sickened when I heard the crackly, fuzzy voices of the 
monkeys.  It sounds like the voice-overs were created using a ten-year-old 
tape recorder.
   Ape Escape isn't flawed enough to be a crappy game on the level of 
Superman or Mario Party, but it's still not very fun.  If you're not a fan 
of 3D platform games, Ape Escape isn't going to turn you into one.  And if 
you are a fan of 3D platform games, Ape Escape could very well make you 
less of one.

Send your thoughts on this review to jimmy@mastergamer.com

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