Ape Escape, known in Japan as Saru Get You (サルゲッチュ) is a platform game published and developed by Sony for the PlayStation, and was released in 1999. The story revolves around the main protagonist, Spike, who has to prevent history from being changed by an army of Monkeys being led by Specter, the main antagonist.
Ape Escape was met with universal acclaim from critics and consumers alike, who praised the utilization of the new DualShock Controller.
The plot revolves around Specter, a white monkey, who staggers upon a device known as the Peak Point Helmet. After donning said helmet, his intelligence is augmented to extraordinary heights and mass produces the helmet in order to garner an army of apes under his command. After amassing a following, Specter and his troops infiltrate the Professor's lab in order to utilize his latest invention, the Time Machine. Spike and Jake, two of the Professor's associates, show up just to be sent back in time along with Specter and his underlings.
Now it is up to Spike to traverse through time, and put a stop to Specter and his plans before he changes history as we know it!
Specter, an albino monkey accidentally comes in contact with an experimental helmet, known as the Peak Point Helmet and puts it on. In the process, he gains augmented intelligence, in addition to psychic powers and a cruel desire to rule all of mankind. After escaping from Monkey Park and freeing the rest of his monkey brethren, the newly formed ape army makes their way to the Professor's laboratory. As it turns out, the Professor was the original inventor of the peak point helmet, and is currently underway on his latest creation, the Time Station. Specter and his monkey minions escape Monkey Park and heads to the Lab, captures the Professor and his granddaughter, Natalie, and prepares to use the Time Station.
While this is happening, Spike and his friend Jake are racing to get to the Professor's Lab, in hopes to travel in the Time Station. However, when the two reach the Professor's Lab, it is overrun by monkeys. Specter orders a monkey to activate the Time Station, which transports Spike, Jake, Specter and the monkeys all across time.
Spike, who is now separated from Jake, is contacted by the Professor, and is told that he needs capture the apes that were scattered across time. He sends Spike to use two Gadgets; the Time Net and the Stun Club to capture the apes in order to stop them from messing up any key elements of the past. Meanwhile, Specter contacts the Professor and Natalie and reveals his identity as the same monkey that use perform tricks at the amusement park. He tells them the detail of his plan: he will send apes back in time, protected by monster creations and advanced robotics, so that way all triumph of men is removed in time is spent so that apes are the superior race. He also shows them his advanced Peak Point Helmet, hovercraft throne, and the fact that he has used his new powers to subdue Jake and make his will subservient to his own. Specter then ends the transmission, warning the Professor and Natalie that any interference will not be tolerated and will be dealt with swiftly. Despite this warning, the Professor and Natalie continue to aid Spike with new Gadgets, including the Water Net, the Monkey Radar, the Slingback Shooter, the Super Hoop, and the Sky Flyer, which allows him to continue on capturing monkeys and defeat the greater threats that Specter has left for him. Jake also occasionally challenges Spike in an unknown dimension to try and kill him as well.
Spike eventually reaches the medieval period and finds both Specter in Jake and a large renovated castle, Specter reveals another invention of his own: The mark one battle cruiser, and swiftly teleports away with Jake back to the present time period.
Upon his return, Spike finds that Tokyo, Japan has been overrun with apes; billboards have been covered in Specter’s logo, and that statues are being changed to that of the monkeys and Specter’s likeness. Spike returns to the lab promptly find out from the AI Casi that Specter and the apes have kidnapped the Professor and Natalie and took them away before playing a videotape left by Professor for Spike upon his return, stating that Specter has made a base in the city center and that they will no longer feel to assist Spike before the apes finally break into the lab and the tape ends. She also gives Spike the R.C. Car.
Spike now on his own is further briefed by Casi about Specter’s base, telling him the location of a renovated factory that Specter is using to make weapons and advanced robotics as well as the renovated power grid that powers it. Spike quickly heads to the power generator and captures most of the monkeys there, rendering it inoperable before heading to the factory itself capturing most of the monkeys working there as well and temporarily stopping Specter’s mass production of weapons, robots, and peak point helmets. Spike, then quickly goes to Specter’s base. The base, being a large TV tower that has been remodeled to Specter’s needs, is quickly emptied of monkeys with Spike finally finding all of his friends with Specter on the ceiling of the building. Spike attempts to intervene with the current situation and free the two, however, Specter, who is now somewhat angry about Spike’s interference promptly has Jake remove the Professor and Natalie and then attempts to kill Spike himself with the battle cruiser. Through a fierce battle the battle cruiser is destroyed and Specter is forced to retreat, but not before leaving Spike a hint that he has a new game in mind.
Later, Specter contacts Spike, and he invites Spike to come to the renovated Monkey Park, which is now called Specter Land and filled with deathtraps. Through his sinister plot Specter had hid the Professor and Natalie somewhere in the park and intended for Spike to find them before something “terrible” happens to them. Spike having no other choice agrees to this dangerous game incomes of the park alone and armed only with his Gadgets. Spike then proceeds to go to the deathtrap filled rides, one being a haunted house roller coaster and the other being the circus freeing both the professor and Natalie from their respective confinements. The last challenge for Spike in the park is then going to go kart ride to face Jake. Finding his friend standing on top of a heavily armed car, Spike begs his old friend to turn away from Specter and to come back to the laboratory. Jake refuses and a final battle ensues between the two with Spike being the victor through a large explosion. Jake is freed from Specter’s control, and is able to return to the lab, though he is mildly injured. Spike then receives an invitation from Specter to come to the castle itself in the park (the gates to the castle were originally closed when Spike had arrived) to have a small discussion. Spike heads out to face Specter and makes his way through the heavily armed castle avoiding deathtraps and security at every turn, until he finally reaches the albinos throne room.
A small argument ensues with Specter demanding that Spike comes over to his side, just like his friend did beforehand. Spike refuses and thus Specter attempts to forcefully brainwash Spike. Through his willpower, Spike manages to force Specter out of his head; Specter finally loses his cool and realizes Spike is now a very dangerous threat to him and attempts kill Spike with his final, and last mechanoid, the Gorilliac armor in a two phased battle. Through the battle the robotic armor is destroyed and Specter is defeated. With all of his cards gone, Specter is forced to retreat after losing to Spike for the third time, though not before having a mental breakdown in front of Spike. Returning to the laboratory, Spike proceeds to reunite with Jake, the Professor, and Natalie while citywide cleanup begins.
In the meanwhile, Spike is given the Magic Punch, and returns to the previous lands of the past to remove any final traces of Specter or the monkeys at the Professor’s direction while the old man himself searches for Specter. After Spike has finished capturing all the apes, the Professor then finally tracks down Specter to the Peak Point Matrix. Spike goes to a final confrontation with Specter. Specter, who is now desperate pleads with Spike to join him, one final time. Spike refuses and offers Specter to return to the park the simple way. Specter becomes severely enraged and insists that his psychic power is enough to bring Spike down before engaging Spike in a one-on-one confrontation on his mechanized throne. Specter, however, loses the fourth and final time and is captured and returned to the park, once again a common monkey with no memory of the previous events. Afterwards, Spike and Jake come over to the lab to begin helping with the cleanup, as most of the equipment having been damaged during the earlier ransacking of the laboratory.
Spike can run, jump, climb, and swing on objects. Throughout the adventure, he gains several gadgets from the Professor in order to help in his monkey catching mission. The controls main focus are the two analog sticks, as the DualShock Controller is mandatory to play the game.
When Entering a stage, Casi will display the number of monkeys that should be captured in order to complete the stage. However, more may be available in the stage than asked for. It means that you will need to return into the stage another time to finish it entirely. The bottom-right corner of the screen displays a group of icons indicating how many apes have been captured (a net icon) and how many must still be captured (an ape head icon). Spike's Health is shown by cookies, which he can gain from a cookie jar or enemies. His life icon is symbolized by his Shirt. They can be gathered randomly or after getting 100 gold chips.
Gadgets are Spike's main arsenal. As the game goes on, gadgets are obtained in order to capture more apes, which cannot be captured by normal measures. A training session must be completed first in order to use the said gadget.
|Stun Club||An electrified club used to attack targets in close proximity.|
|Time Net||A net which is used to capture apes.|
|Water Net||Used the moment Spike touches water, this gadget aids in swimming and can deploy a net to capture monkeys under water.|
|Monkey Radar||A radar used to locate hidden or nearby apes one may not see. Using the L2 button will switch the camera view to see said monkeys.|
|Slingback Shooter||A slingshot that can hit switches or monkeys from a distance. Can also fire Homing and Explosive ammunition, though the supply of these is limited. Press the L2 button to aim in first-person view.|
|Super Hoop||A hula hoop that will provide Spike with super speed.|
|Sky Flyer||A hand held propeller used to reach new heights.|
|RC Car||A remote control toy car used to access small spaces that Spike can't fit through, or to hold down switches that require constant pressure without Spike standing on them.|
|Magic Punch||A giant boxing glove that is like a stronger variant to Stun Club. It can break and open many things (boxes, etc.).|
| || || |
|Ski Kidz Racing||10|
In each level, you can usually collect 1 to 4 Specter Coins, which can be used to unlock Minigames. Each level is connected through the Hub world, called the Time Station. Spike needs to catch 204 apes.
- Spike: The main protagonist of the game. A 10 year old boy who is kind, brave, persistent, and simple-minded. He's on a mission to stop Specter and capture all of the apes by time traveling. He's arsenal consists of his Gotcha Gadgets.
- Specter: The main antagonist of the game. He is said to be the first monkey to have ever worn a Peak Point Helmet. However, the helmet at the time was a prototype that had been untested, resulting in Specter gaining rare, special psychic and telekinetic powers, the ability to talk in human language, and increased intelligence. The device also flawed Specter's mind, causing him to turn evil with a general hatred of humans, freeing his fellow monkeys before giving them their own less powerful helmets.
- The Professor: A genius inventor who created the Time Station, Peak Point Helmet and the many gadgets that you use throughout the game. He is a good man at heart, though he can be a little distracted at times.
- Natalie (Katie in European dub): A tomboyish 14 year old girl who helps the Professor with his research. She is known to have a short temper and is the granddaughter of the Professor. She usually handles computer work to make sure nothing breaks.
- Jake (Buzz in European dub): Spike's best friend who enjoys a friendly rivalry with him. As they were split up, he became mind-controlled by Specter.
- Apes: Specter's army that Spike must catch and send back to the lab. They all have colored pants and helmets to increase their intelligence. The color of the flasher unit on their helmet describes their mood, while the color of their pants describes their nature.
- Casi: A computer program brought to life in order to assist people inside the Time Station. She usually tells Spike how many apes and Specter coins he still needs to collect in a level. She also appears as a back up helper.
Ape Escape was the first game requiring the use of the Dual Analog Controller. The music of the game was composed by Soichi Terada. The game's sound effects were created by Masaaki Kaneko, while the sound effects in the game cinematics were provided by Masatoshi Mizumachi. The voice acting of the American version of the game was recorded at Dubey Tunes Studios with Sara Holihan serving as the voice-over director and Hunter A. Pipes III serving as the voice-over producer. The game is compatible with the PocketStation Application and during Sony Computer's entertainment America winter holiday market campaign in 1999 they showed on-air promotions for it on Cartoon Network.
Voice Actors Edit
|Role||American Voice Actor||Japanese Voice Actor|
|Spike/Kakeru||Scott McGregor||Fujiko Takimoto|
|Jake/Hiroki||Peter Bayhem||Kazue Ikura|
|Professor||Michael Sousa||Jouji Yanami|
|Natalie/Natsumi||Christiane Crawford||Tomoko Kawakami|
|Casi/Charu||Peggy Small||Tomoko Kawakami|
|Specter||Pete Burrows||Chika Sakamoto|
|Additional Characters||Susan Michele|
Many people had positive reviews towards the game. Even leading to some calling it the best 3D Platform game on the Playstation. Bringing with it many unique game mechanics and art styling. Also noted was its originality and fun held within it. Many magazines also supported the game, "Electronic Gaming Monthly" in their January 2004 issues claimed it was "The amazing 3D action game that made capturing monkeys popular again."
The game's graphics were met with mostly good comments. But some were indifferent, saying most textures weren't terribly stunning and extremely crude and simple. The character designs were fundamental, and the entire game had a cartoony styling in comparison to the soon arriving Sonic Adventure for Dreamcast. However, said person also noted that the special effect when capturing an ape was "Awesome" and the Mixture of transparent lights in the forms of rings and sparks and quickly moving camera created very satisfying effects.
Scott Alan Marriott of Allgame noted the "distinct Japanese style" of the graphics and added that the environments were "fun", but suffered from some pop-up and other minor glitches.
Reception of the game's audio was mainly positive, with some if not all criticism going to the voice acting. Some disliked the mixture of J-Pop and techno-style synth that was more Japenese than Western. A lot of people disliked Spike and Jake's voices, but loved the apes' screeches and such. The VA work left a lot to be desired, but no complaints towards others had been stated as of this time. Pete Bartholow of GameSpot referred to the "playful techno" soundtrack as "stage-appropriate" and noted its "mildly interactive" nature in that some of the music's instruments are muted when the player character moves stealthily.
The staff of IGN included Ape Escape in an article documenting the "greatest PlayStation 3D platformers ever". The staff of IGN also included it as #8 in their "Top 25 PlayStation Games of All Time". In the final issue of Official UK PlayStation Magazine, the game was chosen as the 9th best game of all time. The IGN PlayStation Team included the game as #8 in their "Top 10 Classics that Belong on the PSN".
Remakes and Re-Releases Edit
Main Article: Ape Escape: On the Loose
After 6 years since the initial release, a PlayStation Portable remake, called Ape Escape: On the Loose, was published. The game shows some differences with the original version, including a multiplayer mode, a new minigame.
Main Article: Ape Escape M
A demake called Ape Escape M was released on mobile devices in 2005.
- Out of all the Ape Escape games, it was re-released the most, being for:
- "Best for Family" and "Sony Greatest Hits" in 2000
- Platinum Range in 2001
- The PSone Books in 2005
- PSone Classics (PSN) in 2007 (Japan only)
- Ape Escape is the only Ape Escape game to receive a remake.
- Ape Escape is notable as the first video game to require the use of the Dual Analog Controller for gameplay. In fact, the game is unplayable without it.
- Although it is the first game to require the Analog sticks, the first game to actually have support for them was "Gran Turismo: The Real Driving Simulator" which was released in 1997 while Ape Escape was released in 1999.
- In the Winter 2000 issue of Disney Adventures Magazine, there was an Ape Escape comic inside to promote the game. It featured Spike traveling back in time to recover the Magic Punch gadget and to catch many monkeys, including Specter.
- The only Ape Escape website that is still up and running as of January 2014 is based on the UK version of the game. You can tell by the logo used within the site and Natalie and Jake's names being named Katie and Buzz.
- By entering "R2, Down, L2, Up, Right, Down, Right, Left.", you can get 99 explosive bullets for your slingshot.
- Entering "R2, Up, L2, Down, Left, Up, Left, Right, R2, L2", you can be given 99 lives.
- Unlike most video games, which has one English dub to the Japanese dub, Ape Escape is known to have 2 different English dubs, one by Americans, and one by Europeans. This would later to go on in most of the later Ape Escape games.
- The European voices in Ape Escape are uncredited.
- The European version of Ape Escape has an unique anti-piracy measure that prevents pirated copies of Ape Escape to play. If you play a pirated copy of Ape Escape, then the DualShock Controller will not respond, and players will be stuck on the title screen.
- Unfortunately, this anti-piracy measure also backfired, as European players cannot play European copies of Ape Escape on a PlayStation 3, because the PS3 software emulation sets off the anti-piracy checks.
|Characters||Casi · Jake · Natalie · Professor · Specter · Spike|
|Gadgets||Dash Hoop · Magic Punch · Monkey Radar · R.C. Car · Sky Flyer · Slingback Shooter · Stun Club · Time Net · Water Net|
| || |
|Prehistoric Era/ The Lost Land||Fossil Field · Primordial Ooze · Molten Lava|
|Cenozoic Era/ Mysterious Age||Thick Jungle · Dark Ruins · Cryptic Relics|
|Dimension/Dimension X||Stadium Attack|
|Primitive Age/Oceana||Crabby beach · Coral Cave · Dexter's Island|
|Ice age/New Freezeland||Snowy Mammoth · Frosty Retreat · Hot Springs|
|Dimension/Dimension X||Gladiator Attack|
|Recent Past/Medieval Mayhem||Sushi Temple · Wabi Sabi Wall · Crumbling Castle|
|Present-Day/Futurama||City Park · Specter's Factory · TV Tower|
|Present-Day 2/Specter Land||Monkey Madness|
|Dimension/Dimension X||Peak Point Matrix|