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Ape Escape
Score: 94%
ESRB: Everyone
Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment America
Media: CD/1
Players: 1
Genre: Action/ Platformer (3D)

Graphics & Sound:
The graphics in Ape Escape are truly beautiful. They have an almost anime feel to them, but more of the ‘cutesy’ type. There was a whole lot of thought put into the characters; every ‘ape’ in the game has a bio you can see once you’ve caught them, with a snapshot and short note about them. The sound effects and voice acting are really good. The background music is nice and up-tempo, but is repetitive. Altogether, Ape Escape is a nicely polished game.

Gameplay:
If you’ve been avoiding analog sticks all this time, BEWARE! You have NO choice in this game. If you sink or swim, you will be doing it in analog. Ape Escape is the first (and so far, only) title to REQUIRE the use of the analog sticks. Not only that, but EVERY possible input is used for something. This makes it a little more difficult to catch onto, but allows for a wide repertoire of possible actions.

Difficulty:
Stop. This is important. You MUST be proficient at using the analog controller to play this game. The game CANNOT be played without one. Also, there are a lot of things that you can do, so there are a lot of controls that must be remembered. To help in this, the action buttons (for selecting which device to use) are displayed in the top right corner of the screen. Also, they are configurable. This helps some. The hardest thing to get used to is the fact that the right analog stick is used to control your device (weapon, net, or other useful device). This makes it possible to run one way while attacking (or whatever) in a different direction. If you’re looking for a cute, easy-to-play adventure game for a small child or someone who is new to the PlayStation, you might want to look elsewhere. However, if you are familiar with the analog sticks, and like to play games that give you a lot of different actions to choose from, then Ape Escape is great addition to your game library.

Game Mechanics:
The primary unique mechanical aspect of Ape Escape would obviously be the controller setup. It is the first game to require a dual analog controller to play. (Do NOT rent or buy this game unless you already own or purchase an analog controller to go with it.) While being unique, it is also useful. You can choose from a wide variety of actions, and control all aspects of movement, from diving to running, walking, crawling, and swirling your stun club around in a whirlwind motion. There’s even a part where you get to row in a rowboat. Your left stick controls one oar, and your right controls the other! You can actually slowly ‘row’ the stick in circular motions to row the oar in the same direction. This use of two controls together had been done a long time ago, in the early years of gaming (Ikari Warriors, Robotron, Battletank, etc.), but it seemed to fade out, and was NEVER so useful and fully developed. Time will tell if this extreme level of control will become the new standard or simply be a footnote in the history of PlayStation games.

-Geck0, GameVortex Communications
AKA Robert Perkins

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