There has been a sweeping wave of games that are being remastered again and again for the next-generation consoles that are coming out. Out of love for the older editions, nostalgia, and just wanting to see what the game would look like on the technology we have available today. Unfortunately, a lot of the games that were developed for the PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, and the PlayStation Portable have been left on those devices, never to see the light of day again (unless someone still has the older consoles and shows those games some much-needed love). One such game that has been left to rot in the ages is Ape Escape, and it’s high time that we finally saw an Ape Escape 4 for the PlayStation 5.
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Ape Escape was first developed by Japan Studio and then published by Sony Computer Entertainment for the PlayStation in 1999 in Japan. At first, it was developed under the name Sarugetchu. The game, of course, contained witty ape-related humour, a unique and innovative gameplay style, and a wide variety of pop culture references (as did most games that were made and released in the 1990s). In addition, the game marked the first ever released by Sony that required that players had a DualShock or Dual Analog controller, because of its ultra-unique gameplay style.
Ape Escape was a well-loved game that came in Japan in 1999, for now, archaic PlayStation. The game’s story follows a white-haired monkey that players know as Specter. Specter comes across a helmet that seems to boost his intelligence, called the Peak Point Helmet, nicknamed the Pipo Helmet for short. He somehow manages to equip an entire army of monkeys with their own Pipo Helmets and enhance his own so that he remains a little smarter than the rest. Specter then sends his army of now intelligent monkeys to take over the world and venture out into space.
Unfortunately, players do not get to play as intelligent apes. However, that might be a concept that Sony should look into. Just look at the popularity of games like GOAT Simulator and Untitled Goose Game. Instead, players play as protagonists equipped with various high-tech gadgets and set out on a mission to capture the intelligent monkeys and restore law and order to the world.
The array of gadgets available to the players was to locate and capture the monkeys that had escaped. Once a monkey was discovered, the player had to use a Time Net gadget to catch them and did so with a set number of monkeys, depending on the level they were progressing through. Once the levels had been unlocked, the players could return with the gadgets and capture more monkeys if they wished.
One remarkable and innovative thing about Ape Escape was its revolutionary control method. Unlike traditional console games, which use a combination of the left and right analogue sticks to angle the camera and move the character around, in Ape Escape, The left analogue stick is used to move the surface. In contrast, the right one operates whatever gadget the character has in their possession at the time. Another ingenious control method was that the ‘shape’ buttons were used to cycle through the available items in the inventory, meaning that PlayStation’s usual ‘X’ to jump couldn’t work on this one. So instead, in Ape Escape, players used R1 and R2 to jump.
Unfortunately, this innovative method of controlling the character and the gadget was only available on the PS, PS2 and PS3, and did not extend to the PSP, due to the limitations in controls. The PSP doesn’t have the right analogue stick, so can’t control the character in the same way. Ape Escape was also the first game on the PlayStation. Because of its innovative controlling style, it required that players have a DualShock or Dual Analog controller.
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Ape Escape’s Massive Success
The game was released and was an almost instant success. It went Platinum, entered the greatest hits series in North America, and made it to Japan’s “Best Of” releases. Many of the releases were exclusive to Japan, Exclusive to Japan and USA, or Exclusive to Japan and Europe. The game was often compared to others like Super Mario 64, one of Nintendo’s best-sellers.
Ape Escape was published in many forms, starting on the PlayStation in 1999 and ending on the PlayStation 3 in 2010. Their titles included Ape Escape (1999) which was the only game released on the PlayStation, Ape Escape 2001 (2001), Ape Escape 2 (2002), Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed (2004), Ape Escape 3 (2005), Ape Escape Million Monkeys (2006) were all released on the PlayStation 2.
Ape Escape Academy (2004), Ape Escape: On The Loose (2005), Ape Escape 2 (2005), Ape Escape Racing (2006), Ape Escape SaruSaru Big Mission (2006), Ape Quest (2007) were released on the PlayStation Portable, and you might notice some overlap, with Ape Escape 2 having been remastered so that players on the portable device could join in on the fun of the game.
PlayStation Move Ape Escape (2010) was the latest game to be released in the series and was the only one released on the PlayStation 3. Since then, we have not had any new or even the same games released on updated consoles. The series lived and seemingly died on the PS, PS2, PS3, and PSP. But it’s time for that to change.
The innovative gameplay style of the Ape Escape is something that many gamers miss from the ‘good old days’ and could still be fun for younger users who are now growing up with a PlayStation 5. Who wouldn’t want to see a revival of the much-beloved series of Ape Escape, finally seeing a continuation in the story with a possible Ape Escape 4? For a long time, we have been living in the era of revivals, reboots, reproducing, retroducing etc. With the significant graphics improvements, the tech improvements, and just the overall technological leaps and bounds that Sony has made from the PlayStation 3 to the PlayStation 5, who knows what Ape Escape 4 could look like with what they are capable of now?
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If you agree that we need an Ape Escape 4, sound off in the comments!