Ape Escape (1999) Review

Ape Escape is the first game in one of Sony’s most memorable but somewhat forgotten franchise, the game was Developed by Japan Studios as an exclusive for the PS1, it was the first game to ever make the Dual Shock Analog controller mandatory for play. A PSP remake came out in 2005 but was criticised for not being as good as the original with less manageable controls.

Specter a popular primate in a monkey themed amusement park gets his paws on a Peak Point helmet created by a scientist at the themepark, however due to it being a prototype it not only gives Specter human intelligence but also makes him extremely evil with a plot to take over the world.

Specter soon gives all of the monkeys at the park Peak Point Helmets and releases them to take over the Professors laboratory, at the time he and his assistant Katie are testing out a new time machine when our games hero Spike and his best friend Buzz turn up at the lab and end up being sent throughout various time periods with the monkeys!

Buzz is mind controlled to Join Specter leaving Spike alone to travel to the different time zones, capture all of the monkeys, defeat Specter and prevent any damages to the worlds historical timeline.

The gameplay here is definitely unique, in a sense the game itself if a 3D platforming collectathon where players need to collect a set number of items before proceeding to the next level.

There are only two items to find in the game, one of these are the Specter Coins which will unlock minigames for multiplayer purposes and the other is the monkeys themselves.

Capturing the monkeys while simple enough can get rather tricky later on in the game, the apes helmets all have a siren which glows a different colour representing their difficulty to capture blue is calm, amber is alert and red is high alert.

Sometimes the Monkeys also carry guns and will shoot Spike taking some real damage to your health (Cookies or Biscuits).

The gadgets you unlock throughout the game really help to make the capturing process go a lot smoother, there are 9 in the game and each is unlocked at different points throughout the campaign.

The Gadgets in no particular order are:

Net – a basic net used for capturing monkeys on land

Water Net – a device which allows Spike to swim fast underwater but can also be used to capture swimming monkeys

Sky Flyer – allows Spike to reach great heights and hover temporarily

Stun Club – used for stunning monkeys and turning wheels

Slingback Shooter – a slingshot with 3 ammo types, regular, explosive and homing

Super Hoop – Spike can run really fast with this helping to get past timed obstacles and attack enemies from behind.

Magic Punch – another stunning item but his one is more powerful and can destroy some walls.

RC Car – a remote controlled car which can get in to smaller spaces to chase out monkeys and help solve puzzles.

Monkey Radar – will pin point Spike in the direction of monkeys, the sonar gets more aggressive the closer to a monkey he gets.

Catching the monkeys is really satisfying and very addictive, I found myself wanting to keep coming back to the game to try and find as many as I could, as I previously stated some monkeys are hidden behind tricky puzzles but they can also be hidden behind armoured machinery such as flying saucers and giant mechs, these are difficult to defeat without taking much damage but soon became my favourite monkeys to get as they added more additional challenge where the rest of the game was a bit easier to relax too.

The games controls are actually quite innovative for the time, there is some effort made to evoke realism in the gameplay, its nothing revolutionary but the efforts made to have players use the other analog stick to physically pull back the elastic of the sling shot or spin the propeller of the sky flyer and super hoop was a risky choice by the developers considering that this differed from traditional and more simplified controls, it definitely took a little time to get used to but after a while I grew to really enjoy these choices and hope to see them used in more games I check out in the future.

The three minigames you unlock by collecting the Specter Coins are a nice reward to players for going the extra mile the ski game was my favourite and the galaxy game was a fun homage to space shooters of the past but the boxing game I couldn’t even land a hit in, I’m not sure if it was genuinely hard to control or I just sucked but either way it didn’t effect the main campaign or my enjoyment with Ape Escape.

Visually the game is packed full of colour which really helps to enhance the visuals, it takes on a cartoony look and does not put too much emphasis on textures, it still stands out though due to its brighter colours something that a lot of family friendly games of the era would use, a great example of another game which utilizes more colours would be Croc Legend of the Gobbo’s or Spyro the Dragon.

The soundtrack is an abosolute thrill ride with non stop pumping tracks to put you in a energetic and entusiastic mood to go and catch those monkeys !, I loved all of the music in the game but my favourite was always the opening title music.

Ape Escape is an absolute blast and a game I really wish I had growing up. Child me would have loved this one and while I did have so much fun doing this one as an adult back then I found the games I did have extremely difficult and could have done with something a little milder such as this.

What is there to say apart from Ape Escape is a one of a kind game which delivers in all categories from its gameplay, replay value, graphics and soundtrack. It offers reason to collect everything with the minigames and a secret final boss even after finishing everything I just want to start it all over again. Its innovative, made with love and as just about as charming as we could ask for needless to say I would be banana’s to award it any less than a clean 10/10

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

Thank You for all of your support.

Want me to review a specific game/movie/product or do you have a general question you would like me to answer? if so please email me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

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The Rage:Carrie 2 (1999) Review

The Rage: Carrie 2 is an unexpected sequel to say the least considering that the original story never had a continuation.

The film had originally began as a completely independent film but after the studio noticed the similarities to the 1976 film it lead to it being redeveloped as a sequel with returning actress Amy Irving reprising her role as Sue Snell.

In the movie the new lead is named Rachel and she is seeking out revenge on a group of School Jocks whose cruel game of sleeping with the most girls lead to the suicide of her best friend.

The casting for the movie is definitely one its highlights the entire cast is a lot of fun on screen and I think the choice of taking this movie much less seriously than the original definitely works in its favour.

Our lead actress Emily Bergl is fantastic in her performance, she is really good at showing emotion and realism in her role. She manages to handle the female taking revenge on men much better than I have seen in other similar films of that genre.

Emily Bergl having an intense interaction with Amy Irving (left) in a scene from the film ‘The Rage: Carrie 2’, 1999. (Photo by United Artists/Getty Images)

The return of Sue Snell was a nice touch and I think making her the school psychiatrist was a really good choice as it makes sense since she obviously would have had psychiatric help herself due to her nightmares after the events of the 1976 prom.

Another great detail added to this movie was that the telekinesis Gene that came from the father of both Carrie and Rachel, the mention of Ralph White was appreciated because it made it more believable that both girls could display the same powers.

One thing I really didn’t enjoy though was the weird black and white edits that were thrown in during occasional moments when Rachel was using her Telekinesis, I first thought that maybe this was meant to represent what she sees when using the power but this theory soon didn’t make any sense because in other moments the powers were used without the Black and White filters.

I also thought it was a bit cheap to make the mother crazy, this only really showed even more similarities between the two movies.

When you think about it they are almost the exact same film, a female with telekinetic powers and a crazy mother uses her abilities to take revenge on her high school bullies..

There is a love interest in this movie who isn’t encouraged to pursue Rachel, this is Jesse who is played by Jason Landon. Jesse wasn’t a particularly memorable character but I did enjoy seeing someone who was actually decent as person in one of these movies.

Yes the first movie did have the Gym teacher who showed care for Carrie but the difference with Jesse is that he actually thought highly of Rachel because of her personality and did genuinely have a romantic connection with her.

My biggest issue with the film is actually something that really bugged me and that was Rachel. It wasn’t her character that bothered me, she came across as fairly normal and actually quite cool which begs the question why would she be bullied or even so despised in the film.

Nothing about her character gives any reason what so ever why she would be targeted and again I have to compare with the 1976 film. Carrie White was odd and shy, she didn’t have a clue about the real world and came across as weird it made sense why she was bullied, it still wasn’t right for her to be tormented and cruelly bullied but you could in a way understand why she was, but with Rachel its just a bit dumb and they should have done something with her character to make this aspect of the film more realistic.

The Rage: Carrie 2 left me surprised because honestly I dreaded watching this and I thought it would awful but you know what its actually pretty decent It does not hold handle to the original but if you can look past how unnecessary it was to make this, it is quite a fun time and not once was I bored, the actors all do a great job and again this is taken much less seriously making for a decent popcorn flick to watch with friends just for the heck of it.

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The History of Spongebob Squarepants

Hello and welcome to Spongebob month, throughout August we will be taking a look at all things Spongebob including the television series, two movies and four video games.

Spongebob Squarepants was created by a Marine Biologist named Stephen Hillenburg who first began development of the character in a book called the Intertidal Zone which he created to help teach his students.

Before Spongebob there was Bob the Sponge, this character was the lead in the Intertidal Zone and would tell readers interesting facts about marine life and creatures who live under the sea.

Hillenburg struggled to sell his book to publishers and eventually decided to take a masters degree in art where he created a short film named Worm Holes. This Short-film was played in many film festivals including the 1992 Otawa Festival where Stephen Met Joe Murray the creator of Rocko’s Modern Life who was so impressed with Hillenburgs work he offered him a job to direct and work on Rocko’s Modern Life.

During his time working on Rocko, Hillenburgs colleague Martin Olsen read the Intertidal Zone and encouraged Hillenburg to use his expertise in Marine Biology to create his own animated series, Hillenburg had never thought about making his own cartoon before but he decided to give it a go and wanted to focus the premise of his show on the strangest sea creature he think of and eventually decided on a sponge.

When creating a pitch of the show for Nickelodeon it was originally called Spongeboy Ahoy ! the show was accepted as long as some changes were made including name which of course became Spongebob Squarepants, the pilot episode was released in 1999 and from there it became one of the most successful animated series of all time and is still being aired today with new episodes being made after Hillenburgs passing in 2018. Hillenburg hit the jackpot with Spongebob gaining himself a net worth in the millions. Spongebob is a very important TV series in the history of animation, it had many high points and low points as many shows do.

Many would argue that the later seasons were no where near as great as the first three seasons and the first movie and I tend to agree but I still love the property even if it has over stayed its welcome a little bit.

The show is still going after 20 years and it has spawned many types of main stream media, recently there was even a Broadway musical which I may get around too on a future Spongebob Month but until then lets take a deep dive into some of Spongebobs video games and the two current movies and I will see you in the next installment Spongebob Month 2020.

If you would like to help support the website please use the donation button at the top of the page, your donations will help to improve the website by allowing me to afford products to review and to be able to execute any costly updates and changes, any amount in donations are welcome.

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Book Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling

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Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban was released on the eighth of July 1999 and is the third book in the Harry Potter franchise, for a lot of people this is their favourite book in the series and I can see why, for one its scarier and darker than both its predecessors with maybe a few exceptions in the Chamber of Secrets plus it introduces some fan favourite characters including convicted murderer Sirius Black and the new defence against the dark arts teacher Professor Lupin.

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After his some what demise in the last book the lack of Lord Voldemort is not too much of an issue especially with the addition of Sirius Black being a potential threat as well as the terrifying Dementors who are guards at Azkaban, the Dementors will suck out the happiness of anyone who comes near them and what makes the Dementors even more frightening is their kiss, a Dementors kiss will not only suck out a persons happiness but also suck out their soul leaving the victim to a fate worse than death, Harry learns a new spell called Expecto Patronum which can help fend off the Dementors protecting Hogwarts Castle from Sirius Black.

As with the previous books a few moments in the Prisoner of Azkaban differ from the film however not much really stands out here, for example an entire section focusing on Harry Receiving a Fire Bolt broomstick is in the book but in the film Harry doesn’t receive it until the very end completely skipping over this plot point, the big twist with Scabbers is focused on more in the book and Hermiones new cat Crookshanks actually plays an extremely useful role here unlike in the film.

 

Harry Potters third adventure is yet again an excellent read and is a great addition to the franchise, I can understand why a lot of people really love this book but personally I still enjoyed Chamber of Secrets slightly more.

Thank you for reading this review of Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by JK Rowling

you can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com

 

 

Rayman 2: The Great Escape (PS1, PS2, N64, 3DS, Dreamcast, PC) (1999) Review

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After the massive success of Mario, Sonic and the Legend of Zelda making it big in the world of 3D gaming it was of no surprise that the rising video game star Rayman would soon be joining them and the result was one of the most beloved games of all time Rayman 2.

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Every resident of the Glade of Dreams including Rayman has been captured by an army of robotic pirates led by Admiral Razorbeard, the reason behind doing this isn’t explained very well and my only guess is that they are only doing this because they want slaves.

Rayman manages to escape the Prison Ship and returns to the Glade of Dreams, here he finds out that the pirates have destroyed the heart of the world causing Rayman to lose his powers,luckily a new fairy called Ly is on hand to help rayman regain his powers while he is on his quest to rescue all the slaves from their kidnappers.

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Similar to its predecessor Rayman 2 is an action platformer and the only major difference here is that this game is 3D and apart from that everything else is essentially the same, Rayman can run, jump, hover and grab and swing from pink rings, throughout the game you will sometimes run into Ly the fairy and when you do she will either give you a new power or she will enhance  power you already have making it more powerful and useful for example you can get a hover expansion which allows Rayman to fly in certain areas.

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The main objective of the game is that Rayman needs to find and collect four ancient masks in order to awaken the god Polokus, once awakened Polokus can help Rayman by destroying all of the Pirates who remain in the Glade of Dreams while Rayman returns to the prison ship to take on Razorbeard.

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There are still some fetch quests for Rayman this time around but luckily they are not required, one of the objectives is to find and collect all 1000 yellow lums (800 in the PS1 version) these yellow lums make up the heart of the world that was destroyed by the pirates, they are spread all over the glade of dreams and collecting them all gives bonuses in certain versions of the game in the PS1 version you will unlock the beta level of the original Rayman 2 before the game was made into 3D and in the pS2 and PC ports  you will unlock a minigame for each level that you collect all of the yellow lums, the PS2 and PC version also allow the player to purchase new upgrades and abilities using the lums you have collected.

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Another collectible in the game are the familiar spirits, these creatures have been locked in cages all over the land, Rayman can free these spirits in a similar manner to first game by simply punching the cages, in the PC and PS2 port if Rayman brings these spirits to Ly the fairy he can take part in different minigames that he can try to beat in order to gain a health expansion.

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In most versions of the game Rayman will travel throughout the Glade of Dreams via the Hall of Doors a magical portal to each stage in the game.

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The PC and PS2 ports of the game scrap the Hall of Doors for an open world environment that Rayman can use to access all of the stages while also using the hub world for access to new content such as the shop and Ly’s minigames.

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I have played a lot of 3D platformer’s in my time and out of all them this one has the best control and the smoothest frame rate, this was a big surprise to me because Rayman has so many abilities that it should make some of the games main mechanics quite difficult but instead everything is perfect and it feels great, this came out on the same systems as Mario 64 and Crash Bandicoot but it feels better than some of the more modern Mario Games and that is just mind blowing.

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The visuals in Rayman 2 are obviously going to be very different to the original game due to the leap into 3D, I like the visuals here but it’s hard to love them after playing the first game where its visuals were absolutely outstanding, the new look and style brought to Rayman 2 is nothing more than just ok and don’t get me wrong they are not by any means bad graphics, for the time they were up to par with the systems it had to work with, its just nothing about them is really unique or memorable which is more of a disappointment than an actual problem.

The soundtrack unfortunately has the same problem but in my opinion its worse, no music in this game made me sing along or made me feel any emotion, I’m sure there are people out there that love the soundtrack presented here but for me it was nothing more than generic and uninteresting.

Rayman 2 is a really good game but its not quite as unique as the original and that’s not really a bad thing especially considering that they are completely different experiences, the story is interesting, all characters are likable, it controls great and the only real disappointment were the visuals and soundtrack and even then that’s just a personal preference.

In my opinion I wouldn’t say that Rayman 2 is quite as good as the original game but I would recommend it out of the 2 of them its still a great game and the lack of needed fetch quests does make it a lot less stressful. 7.3/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Rayman 2: The Great Escape

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

you can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com