Review by The Endless

Reviewed: 07/08/03 | Updated: 07/08/03

Monkey catching fun comes to the PlayStation 2

About four years ago I remember that I bought the original Ape Escape for the PlayStation, and I must admit that it was one of the best purchases that I’ve ever made. Now, four years later, the sequel has arrived, and I am happy to say that it does not disappoint. With a high amount of monkeys to catch, plus many extras to get, you’ll certainly have a great time playing this wonderful game.

This time around you play as Jimmy, who is Spike’s cousin (the protagonist from the first game), and he must capture the monkeys after he accidentally gives all of them the helmets that make them smarter. Specter once again returns, and, as usual, he has plans of world domination. Natalie makes a return and this time she takes care of things at the Travel Station. The Professor also makes a return. Making his debut is the achingly cute monkey Pipotchi, who is Jimmy’s best friend. And of course, you can forget about the monkeys, each of which is different from the next. The character designs fit with the overall mood of the game: fun, silly, and cute.

One of the things that I loved the most about Ape Escape were the controls. All the buttons on the controller get used, and this time around, the controls are identical. It does take some getting used to if you haven’t played the original, but in no time flat you’ll be catching monkeys with great ease. The game features the same gadgets from the original, plus three new ones that certainly add to the overall gameplay. You’ll be having a great time simply experimenting when you get a new gadget.

And that’s where this game really shines: the gadgets. You start off with the Stun Club that you use to bop the monkeys on the head in order to temporarily stun them. The other gadget you start off with is your Monkey Net, which you obviously use to catch the monkeys. As you progress through the game, you’ll get various other gadgets. You’ll get things like the Slingback Shooter to knock down monkeys from high perches; the R.C. Car that is used to lure out monkeys that Jimmy can’t normally get to; the Bananarang (one of the new gadgets) which is used to entrance hungry monkeys with its yummy banana scent, and many others.

Graphics are also an integral aspect of any video game, and while there are various games that are more visually stunning on the PlayStation 2, Ape Escape 2 still has some charming visuals. Ape Escape 2 has some vibrant and colorful worlds, and really that’s all that it needs. All of the characters also have some very nice animations (specially the monkeys). Each and every single one of the cheeky monkeys has their own personality. The music is also appropriately light hearted and keeps things upbeat. The voice acting features actors from the Pokémon cartoon, and each voice is perfectly cast.

You’ll certainly be playing this for a good amount of time in order to get 100%. With 300 monkeys to catch, a high amount of items to be won with the Gotcha Box, and the Time Trials, you’ll have your hands full trying to get the perfect file. Plus, there’s a very nice secret once you beat the game with all 300 monkeys captured. And unlike some games where you feel like the extras are chores to acquire (like Final Fantasy X), the coins needed to win the various secrets are easily gained. You’ll win some really cute comics, pictures of the enemies, the soundtrack, character art, and many other things.

All in all, this is a perfect game if you’re looking to have a fun time. The only real downside is that with the amount of fun that you’ll be having, you’ll be disappointed when the game eventually ends. If you’re a fan of the original, then you’ll certainly love this game. It brings back some great memories of catching those monkeys the first time around. And even if you're not a fan, I highly recommend that you give it a chance. This is one of those games that you simply must pick up and add to your PlayStation 2 collection.

Rating:   4.5 - Outstanding

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