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PSP Review: Ape Escape

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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.

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About Matt Paprocki

Matt Paprocki has critiqued home media and video games for 13 years and is the reviews editor for Pulp365.com. His current passion project is the technically minded DoBlu.com. You can read Matt's body of work via his personal WordPress blog, and follow him on Twitter @Matt_Paprocki.
  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Simple, mindless games are sometimes the most addicting. Like, for instance, Ice Climber from the original NES. Or Tetris, or Columns, though those both require much more mental energy…

  • RJ

    I’m gay.

  • jarboy

    r u coming out to us, rj? like a trial balloon?

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    No. Some clown just used my moniker to post an inane comment.

  • jarboy

    oh. not nearly as interesting as if you had posted it just to see what it felt like to put it out there. building up your nerve, as it were.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Damn. I thought I was special because someone dcided to come out because of one of my reviews. =;)

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Heh.

    But what are your thoughts on Ice Climber? Was I the only fool in the world who really enjoyed this game?

  • jarboy

    sorry, rj, can’t comment of that, not a gamer. but i am bi, if that makes you feel better, mett.

  • http://www.breakingwindows.com Matt Paprocki

    Ice Climber is a classic RJ. The home port was censored since the arcade version let you club seals. You can imagine how poorly that would went over to a wide home audience. It’s a game that really needs to play cooperatively though. That’s where most of the fun comes in.

  • http://www.roblogpolitics.blogspot.com RJ

    Club seals! Oh, man! I was missing out! :-/