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

Advertisement

Shovel Knight: Shovel of Hope (2014) Review

One Knight, One Shovel, One chance of success

Was Shovel Knight an epic masterpiece or were Yaught Club Games digging them selves a very deep hole?

5912534e5bafe3a1803382c9.jpg
Shovel Knight and Shield Knight are two adventurers who formed a strong relationship with each other, together they would adventure across many lands and discovering many treasures on their travels, one day they tackle the tower of fate seeking a magical amulet, unfortunately the amulet is cursed and upon its discovery Shovel Knight  blacks out and awakens outside only to notice that the tower has been sealed and Shield Knight was no where to be seen.

shield knight sadGrieving the loss of his beloved, Shovel Knight gave up his life of being an adventurer and went on to live in solitude, with Shovel Knight gone an evil sorceress called The Enchantress gathered the Knights of the Order of the no Quarter and they started to wreak havoc on the land, Shovel Knight discovers that The Enchantress had unsealed the Tower of Fate and is using it as her new castle, Shovel Knight decides that the only way to save the land is too defeat The Enchantress in the Tower of Fate and to hopefully reunite with Shield Knight.

2014-06-19_00003

Shovel Knight plays and feels very similar to three very popular old school Nintendo classics, Duck tales on NES, Mega man and Super Mario Bros 3.

shovelknight

The game is a 2D action plat-former, players will need fight there way through each world using their shovels to their advantage, unlike a traditional Mario game players can not defeat enemies by simply jumping on them as this will cause Shovel Knight to take damage, instead you will need to use your Shovels to bounce off of your enemies you can also hit enemies with your shovel similar to using a sword.

shovel_knight_relics_by_pokesega64-d92tjop

Of course your shovel isn’t the only weapon Shovel Knight can use as there are also items called relics which can prove to be quite useful in the more tougher areas of the game, you can either buy these items from a merchant in town and some items can only be bought by secret merchants hidden each in knight level.

My three favorite relics are

Flare Wand: A magic wand which allows Shovel Knight to shoot balls of fire

Dust Knuckles: This item allows Shovel Knight to punch through blocks of dirt and enemies quickly and effectively

Propeller Dagger:  Allows Shovel Knight to temporarily dart through the air for a short distance

overworld

Shovel Knight uses a map system which draws inspiration from Mario 3, this doesn’t surprise me as Mario 3 perfected the formula for over world maps in video games and in turn many developers choose this style due to that games success, with that in mind it should be no shock that Shovel Knight follows this formula having the player needing to defeat certain levels to unlock new paths, bumping into other adventurers who want to duel and entering towns to stock up on items.

shovel-knight-boss

There are eight knights that  you will need to defeat before you can gain access to the Tower of Fate Spectre Knight, King Knight, Treasure Knight, Plague Knight, Mole Knight, Polar Knight, Tinker Knight and Propeller Knight, every time you defeat of one of these knights a new path on the overall map will open allowing you inch closer and closer to the Tower of Fate each time.

You may also bump into wandering travelers on your journey, these travelers will fight you if you cross paths so be wary of which path you take.

usgclub-shovelknight-spot3

Towns will prove to be very important pit stops on your quest as they will allow Shovel Knight to buy new weapons and armor as well as to increase his maximum health and magic, it is also a good idea to speak to the town bard as he will buy any music sheets that you have found while adventuring.

Troupple-King

Meet the Troupple King this cross between a trout and an apple will surely prove to be the most useful stop in the entire game, the Troupple King has the ability to create ichors which Shovel Knight can drink.

These ichors come in three colours.

Red: replenishes full health and magic

Blue: become temporarily invincible

Yellow: absorb all near by treasure

Make sure you choose your ichors wisely as you can only hold two at a time, also in order to use ichors you must buy a Troupple Chalice or two from the apple man in town.

2650167-4314298550-shove

Visually Shovel Knight is stunning it has a similar art style to the Nintendo Entertainment System using what appears to be 8 bit visuals, of course there is no way Shovel Knight could run on the NES due to how fast the game runs as well as its large colour palette.

 

The soundtrack is absolutely perfect for this style of game, its beautifully composed and there is not a single track in this game that I do not love, its not just the composition of the soundtrack but its also the direction that really helps create such a wonderful game play experience, each section of the game has what I consider to be the perfect choice of music for example when the game is intense the music is intense, when shovel knight is dreaming the music is still a lot of fun but its much slower and when your in towns the music is cheerful and a little silly which suits the towns superbly as the towns people are wacky and unusual.

Shovel Knight is a fantastic game and for a project that was only possible due to crowd funding it’s absolutely amazing, make sure to visit the hall of heroes to see paintings of all of the crowd funder’s as well as a secret boss fight.

I don’t know what to say apart from that the game is perfect and as an extra treat when you beat the game you will unlock extra challenges that you can complete and in a more recent update a brand new game called Shovel Knight: Plague of Shadows has been added for free and is also available upon completion of Shovel Knight.

but I will get to that adventure some other day

FOR SHOVELRY !! 10/10

I hope you enjoyed my review of Shovel Knight

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

By Padawan

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