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, released in 1999. The story revolves around the main protagonist, Spike, who has to prevent history from being changed by an army of Monkeys 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.
Story[edit | edit source]
The plot revolves around Specter, a white monkey, who happens upon a device known as the Peak Point Helmet. After wearing said helmet, his intelligence is augmented to extraordinary heights and he escapes the Monkey Park. He mass-produces the helmet in order to garner an army of apes under his command. After amassing a following of Pipo Monkeys, 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 in time to be sent back to the past 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!
Synopsis[edit | edit source]
Specter, an albino monkey, accidentally comes in contact with an experimental helmet known as the Peak Point Helmet and puts it on. He gains augmented intelligence near instantly 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 capture the Professor and his granddaughter Natalie and prepare 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. When the two reach the Professor's Lab, it's 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 got separated from Jake, is contacted by the Professor. He is told that he needs capture the apes that were scattered across time. The Professor sends him two Gadgets, the Time Net and the Stun Club, in order to capture the apes and stop them from messing up any key elements of the past. While Spike captures the monkeys, Specter contacts the Professor and Natalie to reveal his identity as the same monkey that used perform tricks at the Monkey Park. He tells them the details of his plan to send apes back in time, protected by monsterous creations and advanced robotics, so that all triumph of man is removed from time so that apes are the superior race. He also shows them his advanced Peak Point Helmet, hovering 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 his 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 allow him to continue on capturing monkeys and defeat the threats Specter has left for him. Jake 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 in a large renovated castle. Specter reveals another invention of his own: The Mark One battle cruiser. He swiftly teleports with Jake back to the present time. Spike follows them.
Upon his return, Spike finds that Japan's capital Tokyo has been overrun with apes. Billboards have been covered in Specter’s logo and statues are being changed to that of the monkeys' and Specter’s likeness. Spike returns to the lab promptly to find out from the AI Casi that Specter and the apes have kidnapped the Professor and Natalie, taking them away. They play 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 be able to assist Spike. The apes finally break into the lab and the tape ends. Before Spike leaves, Casi gives him the R.C. Car.
Spike, now on his own, is further briefed by Casi about Specter’s base. She tells him 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. He captures most of the monkeys working there as well and temporarily stops Specter’s mass production of weapons, robots, and peak point helmets. His mission done, Spike hurries to Specter’s base. The base, being a large TV-tower remodeled to Specter’s needs, is quickly emptied of monkeys. Spike finally finds his friends with Specter on the top of the building. Spike attempts to intervene with the current situation and free the two. Specter, who is now getting angry about Spike’s interference, has Jake promptly remove the Professor and Natalie and then attempts to kill Spike by 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.
Specter finally contacts Spike, inviting him to come to the renovated Monkey Park, now deathtrap-filled and renamed Specter Land. 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” would happen to them. Spike, having no other choice, agreed to this dangerous game. He came of the park alone and armed only with his Gadgets. Spike then proceeded to go to the deathtrap-filled rides, one being a haunted house rollercoaster and the other being a circus, freeing both the professor and Natalie from their respective confinements. The last challenge for Spike in the park is 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 in the park to have a small discussion. Spike heads out to face Specter and makes his way through the heavily armed castle, avoiding traps and security at every turn, until he finally reaches the throne room.
A small argument ensues with Specter demanding that Spike come over to his side, just like his friend did beforehand. Spike refuses and thus Specter attempts to forcefully brainwash him. 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 Goliath-armor in a two phased battle. Through the battle the robotic armor is destroyed and Specter is defeated. With all of his cards played, Specter is forced to retreat after losing to Spike for the third time, though not before having a mental breakdown in front of of him. Returning to the laboratory, Spike proceeds to reunite with Jake, the Professor, and Natalie while a citywide cleanup begins.
Spike is given the Magic Punch and he 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's hideout. After Spike has finished capturing all the apes, the Professor finally tracks down Specter to the Peak Point Matrix. Spike goes to a final confrontation with Specter. Specter, who is now desperate to win argues for 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 loses the fourth and final time and is captured and returned to the park, once again a common monkey. Spike and Jake come over to the Professor's lab to help with the cleanup, as most of the equipment had been damaged during the ransacking of the laboratory.
Gameplay[edit | edit source]
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. 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|
Enemies[edit | edit source]
Stages[edit | edit source]
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 to clear the game.
Characters[edit | edit source]
- 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. His arsenal consists of his Gotcha Gadgets.
- Specter: The main antagonist of the game. He is 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: 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: 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 light 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.
Development[edit | edit source]
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 | edit source]
|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|
Reception[edit | edit source]
Many people had positive reviews towards the game, even leading to some calling it the best 3D Platform game on the Playstation. It had many unique game mechanics and art styles. 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. 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. Said critic 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 | edit source]
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 from the original version, including a multiplayer mode and a new minigame.
Main Article: Ape Escape M
A remake called Ape Escape M was released on mobile devices in 2005.
Gallery[edit | edit source]
Trivia[edit | edit source]
- Out of all the Ape Escape games, the original was re-released the most, appearing in:
- "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. 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. 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 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 have one English 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, 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. The PS3 software emulation sets off the anti-piracy checks on Ape Escape.
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References[edit | edit source]
|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|
|Characters||Haru · Hero · Specter · Tohko · Tsukushi|
|Gadgets||Ape Vacuum · Banannerizer · Monkey Net · Slingback Shooter · Smasher|
|Levels||Wobbly Home · Mysterious Ruins · Monkey Carousel · Monkey Road · The Hot Springs · Dinosaur Glacier · Haunted House · Asian Town · Spa Gardens · Food City · Skull Volcano · Monkeyland · Steam Castle · Battery Tower · Monkey Station|