Ape Escape is not what you would think of when it comes to a proper PSP game. When it was released on the PS One back in 1998, it served as both a tech demo and a training piece for the Dual Shock controller. It could not be played unless you paid the cash to purchase the updated version of the standard pad. Missing the second analog stick, this remake seems wasted on the PSP, defeating the purpose of the original game, though still providing some basic platform entertainment.
Any video game that features rampaging chimps wearing lighted hats that are sent through time is going to earn some credibility with gamers. That’s what Ape Escape does best, setting a lighthearted mood as players snatch the simians with a net to send them back to the current day. The game progresses, items are unlocked, and you’re always fighting the unimproved camera system controlled with the d-pad.
This remake doesn’t do much different from the original. It’s the same exact game actually, only it’s missing the dual analog control scheme that made the game interesting in the first place. That’s not to say Ape Escape isn’t enjoyable; it is, just not as much so without the unique controls. Now all you need to do is run the right direction and hit a button to complete your tasks.
Now it has little to separate it from any other basic platformer, other than the fact that it’s now seven years old. It seems just a little dated, and if you played it enough back when it first came out, this is going to be a nostalgia trip. The mini games are, as usual, arguably more fun than the standard gameplay, offering up far more than just standard diversions. You’ll search each level, but not for monkeys. You’ll end up looking for coins to purchase the next extra.
The graphics engine can be divulged as the PS One disc running with the smoothing option on the PS2. The polygon counts look to be the same. The resolution has been increased a level and it’s obviously now in wide screen. It doesn’t particularly mesh with the rest of the software lineup and its age shows through the most here. The colors, while they burst off the screen, hardly hide the fact that this is a simplistic engine that’s not pushing the hardware in the least.
The music is catchy, upbeat, and you simply couldn’t ask for a better soundtrack for a game of this type. Each stage has a theme to match it, and it’s hard not to get into a rhythm because of it. Cinematics feature standard voice actors that could be from any children’s cartoon.
This game, while enjoyable, doesn’t really need to be out there, especially at full price. You could find a used PS One and the original disc (a Greatest Hits entry) for less than what it would cost to buy this UMD. The only benefit here is portability. If that’s important to you, then you’ll be on the receiving end of an out-of-date, basically enjoyable title, that does what it needs to do and not much else.