Ape Escape 3

Review

posted 3/8/2006 by Cyril Lachel
other articles by Cyril Lachel
One Page Platforms: PS2

These monkeys may be crafty, but you have a few handy tools up your sleeve.  From the start you get your trusty net and glowing club weapon (which looks an awful lot like one of those lightsabers from Star Wars).  Along the way you'll pick up new and more useful weapons, including a slingshot, monkey radar, and even a radio-controlled car.  Not only are these weapons helpful for getting rid of the attacking enemies, but many of them can be used to reach new areas and catch more monkeys.  The sky flyer, for example, allows you to float through the air and reach higher ledges, all of which you can do by quickly rotating the right analog stick on the PS2 control.

If all those weapons weren't enough, Ape Escape 3 also allows you to morph into completely different characters each with their own secret powers.  These characters, each based on a different area you fight through, are all very different and are a lot of fun to play around with.  Whenever you feel like it (and have enough power to do so) you can change in to everybody from the Wild West Kid to Miracle Ninja to Cyber Ace, each giving you a completely different experience.  One of my personal favorites was the Genie morph, which allows you to trap enemies in your rhythms … and then let you trap them.  These morphs are a great addition to Ape Escape and add a lot of flavor to this platformer.

But even with all the items and cool little morphs you are far from invincible.  Not only do you have to worry about losing all your life (in this game, cookies), but those pesky little apes will take your weapons and use them against you.  I'm going to tell you right now, there is nothing more embarrassing than having your net taken by a monkey dressed like a bunny rabbit capturing you and sending you to the beginning.  That's something you're going to take with you for the rest of your life.

One of the most exciting parts of Ape Escape 3 is how you never really know what you're going to be asked to go next.  This is not one of those games where all of the levels connect in one way or another, Ape Escape 3 has no problem taking you from a Titanic parody to a Star Wars homage.  You'll be in the desert doing your best to avoid quicksand one minute and then jumping from one airplane to the next in the very next minute.  It's just all over the board, but in a good way.

And if you get sick of playing through the real adventure there are more than a couple mini games worth checking out.  Chief among them is Mesal Gear Solid: Snake Escape, a full blown Metal Gear Solid rip off that has to be seen to be believed.  With completely different game mechanics, levels stolen directly from the Metal Gear Solid universe and plenty of monkeys with guns, this is definitely one of the best reasons to play Ape Escape 3.

Although the graphics are colorful and crisp, they haven't changed much since the original Ape Escape.  Things have become more detailed and some of the smoke effects are fantastic, but by and large this is not one of the best looking games on the PlayStation 2.  Even with the simple graphics I detected a few moments in the game where there were frame rate issues, they weren't terrible but certainly noticeable.  Hopefully Sony will continue this series on the PlayStation 3 and give the game some much-needed new clothes.

The game itself is not especially long, lasting a good 7 to 10 hours.  But once those credits have rolled you still have some work to do, including catching all of the loose monkeys.  You may have defeated Specter, but those apes he unleashed on the world are still out there and waiting for you to grab them.  With your new items and abilities you can go back through the earlier stages and find all of those sneaky simians.  The closer you get to catching them all the more cool extras you uncover.  If you're looking for a game that will keep you busy through these slow months then look no further than Ape Escape 3. 

All of these activities in Ape Escape 3 are fun.  The chase, the items, the mini games; it's all a lot of fun.  But there isn't a whole lot here that is brand new.  We're still dealing with the same control, a lot of the same items, and even a few familiar faces.  It's just all too familiar now and needs to be shaken up.  What Ape Escape 3 does it does it well; it's just unfortunate that it doesn't aspire to be even bigger and better.  In the end this is still one heck of a platformer, but maybe it's time to throw us for a loop when Ape Escape 4 comes around.




B-
It looks the same and plays the same, but once you've started chasing down those cute monkeys you won't want to put down the control. Ape Escape 3 gets nearly every element right, it's just not very ambitious in its goals.


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