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

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Sonic Colours (2010) (Wii) Review

A modern Sonic game that isn’t bad?

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Dr Robotnik has created an intergalactic amusement park and states that he is doing it to make up for his evil past and to start fresh, this quickly makes both Sonic and Tails very suspicious and so they decide to take a trip to the park themselves.

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While at the park Sonic and Tails meet Yacker a local wisp (Alien Species) who they are able to communicate with using a special translator, Yacker explains to Sonic that Dr Robotnik is kidnapping Wisps and using their energy to power the amusement park, after hearing this Sonic realizes that he has not only the world to save but an entire Alien race and so he runs off in search of Robotnik and all of his robots.

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The General game play is just basic Sonic platforming where the goal is too get to the end of each stage trying to not take any damage from enemy robots and obstacles, the main focus of Sonic Colours is the new wisp power-ups that Sonic can use to help him get through each stage of the game.

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There are a lot of these wisp power ups in the game especially if you include the ones that are only available in the 2p player mode

My top three favorite wisp power-ups are as follows

Orange Rocket – This power-up literally turns Sonic into a rocket ship which shoots to the top of the screen, Sonic will then sky dive back to the ground collecting loads of rings along the way.

Purple Frenzy – This power-up is pictured in the image above, Sonic will turn into dark creature with a large mouth similar to a crocodile, Sonic can now eat his way through all enemies and obstacles in his way.

Yellow Drill – This is my personal favorite power-up in the game, Sonic turns into a drill and can fly across the screen as well as drilling his way underground allowing him to find secret passages and hidden treasures.

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When you are not playing through the main campaign, you can enjoy some difficult bonus levels in the Sonic Simulator, these stages are exceptionally challenging and are the only way to collect the Chaos Emeralds, this is also where you can play the game with your friends.

The Chaos Emeralds are not needed to complete the game this time around and thank god for that because after the hell I had of completing Sonic Heroes earlier this year I was very happy when I realized that this would be a much more pleasant and less stressful experience.

The Chaos Emeralds are not needed to beat the game all though they do unlock the ability to play as Super Sonic, a feature I personally did not care about nor did I bother too unlock.

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The voice acting and in this game is almost perfect and I have never been able to say that about any of the modern Sonic games before, for once Tails is not annoying at all and he doesn’t have a stupidly high pitched voice, Dr Robotnik as always sounds awesome and menacing which doesn’t surprise me because I have never had problem with Robotnik’s character in any entry of the series, most of the minor characters are not too interesting but they are not annoying so I cant really complain, the only character I really have an issue with in this game is Sonic himself, he comes off as a complete douche a lot of the time and he keeps throwing horrible one liners and jokes at Robotnik and I cant tell if they are meant to be cringe worthy or if its just the game developers trying to be cool and funny but either way Sonic just kinda sucks.

The music really isn’t anything special, none of the songs really stuck with me when I was playing the game, but the games main theme Reach for the Stars is pretty good but its still not one of my favorite Sonic songs.

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Can we just take some time to talk about how amazing the graphics are in this game, they are outstanding for a Wii game, not only is the game full of fantastic graphical details such as grass textures and glistening stars in the sky, but there are just so many things on the screen at once that it honestly makes this world seem more realistic, this is helped by the games use of vibrant colours and many special effects.

Sonic Colours is a great game, it looks amazing for a Wii title, it has perfect controls and for most part even though it adds a lot of cool new Power-ups and unique game play aspects it stills feels like the classic Sonic games we grew up playing, but its not a perfect game as it does have its flaws, first of all the game only took me 5 hours to complete which is way to short for any game today and keep in mind that it originally came out with a price tag of £40, the music wasn’t very memorable, the completion bonus for beating the game 100 percent sucks and Sonic surprisingly isn’t very likable  but that last one is more of a personal opinion.

Its not the best Sonic game ever made but it is one of the best Sonic games to be released in a long time, perhaps one day I will get around to reviewing the DS version.

7.5/10

I hope you enjoyed this review of Sonic Colours for the Nintendo Wii

If you respect my opinion, I will respect yours

you can contact me at ragglefragglereviews@gmail.com