Monday, 21 July 2014

Ape Escape 3 Review (PS2)


Monkeys, there is just something about them that makes people laugh. If ordinary monkeys can entertain then adding a silly costume, a hat with a flashing light and using them to parody Hollywood can only be a recipe for success.

Ape Escape 3 works on the same premise as the first two titles in the series. Taking control of either a male or female character you must search around the levels catching a set amount of monkeys before being able to move on. This time around the levels are themed around various films ranging from Beauty and the Beast and Titanic to Howls Moving Castle and Star Wars. Only now monkeys play all the roles.

All the levels throughout the game are well designed and creative. There may not be strictly speaking anything truly ground breaking on show but what is here is highly enjoyable, with all the film set styled levels being well thought out. The difficulty is set fairly low, but even though you may not find yourself faced with death too often there are so many monkeys to catch and locations to get see that it hardly matters.

Playing through the title for the first time will probably take somewhere between six and eight hours depending on if you commit to catching all the monkeys from each stage. Once completed however more monkeys become available to catch along with the mini game ‘Mesal Gear’ which is more than enough to keep the players interest for a fair amount longer.

As the name suggests ‘Mesal gear’ is a parody of everyone’s favourite ageing stealth hero. Here we find that Snake has been captured and the only one who can save him is a highly trained monkey in a silly hat. What follows is a selection of sections taken from the regular Metal Gear titles re-made with monkeys. It sounds like the most stupid idea in the world but somehow it works.

Mountains of extras aside, the only major addition to the main gameplay comes in the form of the many themed personas that the player can take on. These allow your character to use special powers for a limited time such as wall running or firing pistols. Unfortunately, though it is a decent idea, in execution most places where the special powers need to be used are heavily signposted.

The main idea behind the Ape Escape series has always revolved around the use of the dual analogue sticks. The original playstation version of the game pioneered the approach and the gadgets on display here are still operated by using the sticks in a number of different ways (such as rotating through three-hundred and sixty degrees to hover for instance). However, the selection of gadgets available has hardly changed since the first title which is disappointing. This means that veterans of the series may find things a little too familiar for their liking.

Ape Escape 3 may not be about to set the platforming world alight but to dismiss the game (or indeed the series as a whole) would be incredibly short sighted. Although over familiar at times the title is always a highly enjoyable and imaginative affair. It may not be seen as an essential purchase by many but it certainly is a lot more fun than many other games. Ape Escape 3 is a good game filled with several tons of extras, three very good mini games and comes at a fairly cheap price. For those looking for some stress free monkey catching antics it is hard to think of a better place to turn to.

Overall 7/10

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