Ape Escape is a platform video game, developed by SCE Japan Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation in May 1999 in North America, and June 1999 in Japan. The first in the Ape Escape series, the game tells the story of an ape named Specter who gains enhanced intelligence and a malevolent streak through the use of an experimental helmet. Specter produces an army of apes, which he sends through time in an attempt to rewrite history. Spike, the player character, sets out to capture the apes with the aid of special gadgets.
Ape Escape is played from a third-person perspective. Players use a variety of gadgets to pursue and capture the apes, traversing across several environments. The game’s controls are heavily centred around the analog sticks, being the first game to require the use of the PlayStation’s DualShock. Development of Ape Escape lasted over two years, and was generally focused on adapting to the use of the controller, which was a significant challenge for the development team.
Ape Escape was met with critical acclaim from critics, with praise particularly directed at the innovative use of the dual analog controls, as well as the graphics and music; the voice acting received minor criticism. The game is widely considered to be one of the greatest on the PlayStation console, and received several re-releases. The game also spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs, beginning with Ape Escape 2 in 2001. A remake, Ape Escape: On the Loose, was released for the PlayStation Portable in 2005 to mixed reviews.
Ape Escape is a platform game that is viewed from a third-person perspective. Players traverse several different environments to advance through the game. For most of the game, players control Spike—a boy tasked with pursuing and capturing the apes across time, preventing them from rewriting history. Players use various gadgets to pursue and capture the apes, such as the Stun Club, used as an offensive measure against enemies, and the Time Net, used to capture apes and transport them to present day. More gadgets become available as players progress through the game. Players also control vehicles throughout the game, including a rubber raft, which allows travel over water, and the water net, which assists in traversing underwater. The game’s controls are heavily centered around the analog sticks: the left stick is used to move players, while the right stick manipulates the various gadgets.
The apes are equipped with helmets, which feature a siren representing their alarm level: blue means relaxed, and unaware of the player characters’ presence; yellow is alert; and red indicates fully alarmed, resulting in attempting to escape or becoming hostile. An ape’s personality can also be determined by the colour of shorts: yellow is standard, light blue means timid, and red represents aggressive. Some apes are equipped with weaponry, allowing them to attack players, or binoculars that allow them to identify players from long distances. Players are required to capture a specific amount of apes to clear a level; remaining apes can be captured upon revisiting the level.
Should players take damage, they lose a life. Players can recharge their health by collecting cookies. Throughout the game, players can gather Specter Coins, which can be found in hidden locations in each stage. Collecting enough Specter Coins unlocks three bonus mini-games: Ski Kidz Racing, a skiing game in which players race against opponents; Galaxy Monkey, a shoot ’em up where players fight against aliens; and Specter Boxing, a boxing game where players dodge and punch using the analog sticks.
NB: are available other PAL versions of the game, like
french: PAL (FRA),
german: PAL (GER),
italian: PAL (ITA),
spanish: PAL (SPA)