Review by DJ cream

Reviewed: 07/02/03 | Updated: 07/16/03

It was cool the first time around.

Whoa, what's with all these ill tempered but cute little monkeys doing in those funny outfits? Everyone has been left non-capturing monkeys for four years and we need a game to do the whole thing all over again. After the trials and tribulations of finding out the developers, Ubi-Soft presents Ape Escape 2! Gee, I wonder what's new in this seemingly kiddy game.

Once upon a time, there lived a cute little circus monkey with white fur. His name was Specter. Specter was a naughty monkey, which he is. One day, he entered the professor’s lab and found a rather familiar helmet. Specter was quite curious about it and tried the helmet on. All of the sudden, Specter have gained massive amounts of intelligence. Now with the smarts of the typical mad genius that tries to gain control of the world, he does what all-typical mad genius do. Eat bananas...oh yeah and take over the world. In addition, he mass produced the helmets and distributed the things to his monkey homies. With a mad genius and an army of messed up monkeys, this is where the **** hits the fans. By the time the professor and his assistant, Natalise, found out they enlisted the help of cute little Jimmy. Let the monkey catching begin!

Essentially, the controls of the game haven’t changed at all since Ape Escape 1. The left analog stick controls movement, while movement of the camera is controlled by the d-pad. More information on the camera later. The normal buttons (X, Square, etc.) selects the weapon of choice from the inventory on the top-right corner of the screen. To use them, swing the left analog around. The R buttons control the jump and double jump. Feel free to use any combination of the two, it don't matter. The L buttons control the third-person and first-person views.

The most important and essential part of a platform game, that this is, has to be the gameplay aspects. One thing I’ve noticed right away is the fact that the double jump has lost more of its height. This makes reaching high places a little harder. Aside the total analog control scheme, the feature that stands out the most is the “high-tech” gadgetry. The gadgets are basically James Bond’s kindergarten toys, if you want a comparison. Anyways, all the same weapons from the first one are back with cooler designs (and the Sling-back Shooter changed its name to the Catapult), and we get to enjoy three more interesting weapons (the Water Cannon, the Bananarang, and the Electro Magnet). Once again, we are only allowed to carry four of the gadgets for quick inventory at all times. The only bad part I can see is the fact that the camera is quite rebellious most of the time. Since most of the buttons already has some function, there seem to be no room for manual camera movement. “Well, what about the d-pad then?” you ask. Well after slowly aiming it, most of the time it will switch to it’s default position, rendering it hopeless. This makes fighting bosses even more difficult, so get used to it!

“It’s [Ape Escape 2] cute as hell, fun as can be, but a few steps back on the evolutionary ladder.” – Matt Helgeson, Senior Associate Editor of Game Informer

I couldn’t agree more on Matt’s comment. The graphics are a step above PS1 qualities…a small step above. Too bad this is the year 2003 and graphics from Ape Escape 2 are unsatisfactory. For four years, Ubi-Soft has enough time to play the first one and upgrade the quality, but nooooooo! Where was the test staff’s judgment in this one? I don’t know. All they did is slightly smoothed out the graphics and didn’t even start on the detail work. Nice try, NEXT!

Music…the music is not standing out on the game. Most of the time, I’m playing with the sound on my TV down and the sound of my radio all the max. There is no need to be listening to anything that is being over-shadowed by the gameplay. That’s why old school Mario was off the hook. As a final note on the music, I really hate the screaming monkey intro “music”.

How long do you think that you can catch 300 messed up monkeys? This game should take around a month to say the most. In addition to the 300 monkeys, there are three mini-games to play using the money you collect on the way. The first one is played like a typical music game format (pressing the right button at the right time), the second one is monkey soccer, and the last one is just hard like hell.

I can’t help but feel that the game was better off entitled Ape Escape 1.5. Ubi-Soft just added new levels, three new weapons, replaced the old mini-games with three new ones, and fishes from Space Fisherman. At least the whole thing is cute enough for people to give a damn. I wish it was still owned by Sony Computer Entertainment.


Rating:   3.5 - Good

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