Review by Kirberteinstien55

Reviewed: 11/29/04

Apes, escapes, it all makes for one stellar game!

There are some sequels to already successful games that come out with blaring publicity and end up disappointing everyone but the most die-hard fans of that series. There are other sequels to successful games that get virtually no publicity whatsoever, but are incredible titles with lots to offer for old fans and newcomers to the series alike. Ape Escape 2 is most certainly the latter.

Honestly, before buying this game, I had heard of the Ape Escape series, and played the first one for about 5 minutes when I was a little kid, but beyond that I had no knowledge of the series other than that it revolved around catching monkeys and a rather unique control system. Running into this title completely by accident, I needed a game to play, and brought it home with me. Putting the disk into my PS2, not knowing what to expect, I played for a mere 5 minutes before getting hooked.

The basic idea of the game is that your character, Jimmy, is working at a zoo owned by the Professor, an eccentric genius, of sorts. One day, the Professor tells Jimmy to ship some new pants to the monkey exhibit, and then promptly goes on vacation, and chaos ensues. Jimmy accidentally sends, along with the pants, helmets that give the monkeys increased strength, and an albino monkey, by the name of Specter, commands these monkeys to take over the world. Armed with a net and a whole slew of other gadgets, Jimmy must catch all the monkeys to save the world. It's a bizarre plot, but for some reason it manages to hold together relatively well, despite a rather noticeable lack of back story and cut-scenes to explain why things are happening or why you're going to certain places.

You begin the game with a basic overview of the controls that you will be using for the basic gadgets of the game--the Stunclub and the Net, used to whack and catch monkeys, respectively. The control system is where the Ape Escape series shines, using innovative new methods of doing something normally controlled with the press of a button without making anything too terribly complicated. Control of your gadgets is almost entirely devoted to the right analog stick, enabling you to do tons of different motions for your net and club, while also making the other gadgets you find throughout the game very easy to use after about a minute of training. Overall, the controls work perfectly with what you are trying to accomplish, and are easy enough to pick up and use that you rarely run into frustration when trying to use them.

As far as the graphics go, the game generally has no problems with frame rate, and the environments look great. The camera works just fine for what it's meant to do (follow your character), and it doesn't get screwed up to often, only when you're in a really tight space and need to adjust your view, a pitfall for any camera system.

The music and sound in this game are pretty generic. You hear certain very common sound effects, like the screech of a monkey, all the time during the music and general gameplay. Never to the point where you have to turn the sound off entirely, but it's not exactly fun to listen to after hours of gameplay. The music can get a bit redundant after a while, as most of it seems to be based off of the same sounds and beat. Simply put, it's no Final Fantasy as far as music goes, but it's tolerable.

Finally, there's the replay value. This game, if you're just going for basic completion, is hideously easy. It's not like it's all that hard to catch enough monkies to complete the mission objectives, and the bosses aren't all that hard. What's worth going for that 100% is the sheer humour of the monkeys themselves. More often than not, the name and appearance of a monkey that you catch will resemble a movie star or something, and the quotes they have from the monkey on it's respective info page only add to the humour. That in itself is worth playing the extra 5 or 10 hours to get. However, that's not the only place to sink time into. There's all sorts of unlockables that can be won from a Super-Smash-Brothers-Melee style of coin operated dispenser thingy. You can collect things like relatively humorous comic strips by the artist for the series, various scenes from the game with amusing, funny, or downright stupid captions along with them, preschool-esque fables with the regular characters replaced by a monkey, music from the game, and, best of all, 3 minigames. The minigames themselves are fun to sink time into, especially Monkey Soccer, where you can use the monkeys you have caught to make teams, and play a good old-fashioned game of soccer. It's a great way to spend hours out of your life by yourself or with friends.

Overall, this game is very, very good. The controls are executed well, the graphics are good, the storyline works, and there's a whole slew of unlockables to obtain.
For people who have never played an Ape Escape game before, this game leaves plenty of time for you to get used to the Ape Escape system, and you'll be hooked for quite a few hours. One can only expect to take about 10-15 hours to complete this game, but you can spend so much more time on the minigames and other attractions that the game itself never really gets old.

Final verdict:
Buy it. You know you want to. That Ape-y goodness is waiting for you.

Rating:   4.0 - Great

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