Ape Escape is this year's Spyro the Dragon. It certainly is getting a big marketing push
from Sony, and deservedly so. This is not your standard 3D action game. The control
system is unique, using both analog thumbsticks on the PlayStation controller.
While the dual stick control is ideal for situations like the rowboat, it seems unnecessary
for actions like swinging a net to capture wayward monkeys. We thought it would add to
the game's scrambly, monkey feel, but it really doesn't. Also, swimming controls are
way too fancy and cumbersome for their own good.
The control isn't bad, perhaps not even awkward, but you'll wish you could use the four
geometric buttons to control items instead of the right thumbstick (like in Zelda). Since
you have to press a geometric button to use an item anyway, it makes no sense to use
a different button to control it.
Here's an analogy to explain what we mean. Pretend you're going into your pantry for
some meatballs. Instead of grabbing a can of meatballs, you take the shelf with the
meatballs on it, then get the meatballs. Why bother with the shelf?
If we've confused you even more, tough noogies. Aside from the control, the camera
has a hard time consistently showing what's in front of you. This is a common gripe
these days. The Gex series still has this exact same problem to this day.
Another surprising downside to Ape Escape is the graphics. Don't expect Crash
Bandicoot quality here. The game suffers from frequent object popping, but you won't
mind too much, especially since it doesn't interfere with game play.
The step-by-step in-game training and constant introduction of new gadgets keep you
fairly interested in the game, much more so than the weak, cartoony plot. Despite all its
flaws, Ape Escape is still fun and accessible for all ages. Expect this game to sell very