A Game We Just Want To See Back In Action Again #1: Ape Escape

Hello everyone, this is the start of a new weekly blog series on WeAreJustGamers.com where we talk about old video games that we would love to see back in action on a modern console and also how it could return maybe.

I thought about many different games that all deserved to be the first one in this series but the first name that came to mind honestly was the Ape Escape series known in Japan as Saru! Get You.

Ape Escape Logo

The first game of this series was released back in 1999, on May 31, my 19th birthday actually. It was developed by the SCE Sony Japan Studio as a game that would require and demonstrate the functions of the analog controls that were still pretty new at the time and featured the main protagonist named Spike who has to hunt Apes with his “Time Net” . There was also some standard platforming, but the main focus of the Ape Escape game was to use both analog sticks for more interaction in a 3D based game than before.

The player controlled Spike himself with the left analog stick while the right one is used to move Spike’s gadgets like the net. It was also one of the first Playstation games that used the L3 and R3 buttons on the dual shock controller.

Controls like that became the standard in the following game console generations and are used in similar ways till today. Ape Escape got great reviews at the time and around 1,63M copies were sold if VGchartz got that number right.

Ape Escape was actually one of the last platformers I played completely through on the original Playstation, i had a fun time with it and if you can stand?? 32bit graphics you might still have fun with it now in 2015 but its sequels on the Playstation 2 really topped everything about the game.

Ape Escape 2 was released in summer 2011 for the PS2 and was all in all pretty similar to the first game aside from it featuring a lot better graphics of course, slighty improved controls, damn great boss battles and all in all it was a bit bigger as well. There were also new protagonists like Hikaru (Spike’s cousin) and Pipotchi. There are a lot more gadgets and the worlds show a bit more variation as well.

But all in all I would say it was more of the same. I think this game was the most successful part of the series when it comes to raw sales. According to Wikipedia over 6M copies were sold.

 

Now Ape Escape 3 is the – in my opinion – still the best game of the series and I still play it from time to time via emulator. It was released in July 2005 in Japan and it took Sony around a year to finally release it in the USA and Europe. At that time we knew and saw the new consoles the PS3 and the XB360 already and while the Playstation 2 got its last great games by the big companies.

This game improved just every aspect of the older Ape Escape games, it was big..really big and to complete if fully you could capture damn 434! of the annoying monkeys in it.

AE3

It had really great graphics for a Playstation 2 game, a very good presentation, the story and its new characters were lovely, the soundtrack super catchy and it even starred fucking Metal Gear Solid in the form of a mini game that actually plays a lot like the real Metal Gear Solid but is set in the Ape Escape universe of course.

This game was pure greatness but it was damn overlooked at its time and I guess the time of its release played a big role. Not only because the new consoles but also because a ton of big games were released at the time frame and the interest about the Ape Escape series started to slow down after Sony released a not really good Ape Escape Mini-Game Collection game with Eyetoy support.

 

The other Ape Escape Games..and how Sony threw away a great opportunity for their IP.

There was a fourth Ape Escape main series game called Saru! Get You! Million Monkeys but it was only released in Japan back in July 2006, the same month when we got Ape Escape 3. I never played it but read reviews that described it as great. I think Sony really missed the opportunity to make a quick HD release of it back in 2007-9.

ape escape spinoff games

The last Ape Escape game so far is Playstation Move: Ape Escape, released in 2010/2011 for the Playstation 3 and well..the Move was not really a success and for some reason they made a damn on rails-shooter Ape Escape game. ’nuff said.

There were also a couple more Ape Escape spinoff games but none of them was as successful or fun as the first three games of the series. I wonder why Sony never used their chance to try to make Ape Escape their completely own Platformer & Mascot series. I mean..they ruined their chances with Crash and Spyro already that were both bought by other companies later, but Ape Escape was and is their own thing and they could have made it something a lot more popular.

 

ape-escape-morpheus

How to restart Ape Escape and bring it back?

The standard way would be to maybe finally create Ape Escape 4 as a game that goes back to the roots of the series and plays a lot like Ape Escape 1-3. To rise interest, Sony could also release a HD collection of Ape Escape 2,3, and Million Monkeys and maybe add the original version of Ape Escape as well.

But personally I would go a different route that would be similar to how the first game made use of the new analog controls back in 1999. Make a damn good Ape Escape for Project Morpheus that is not something weird like a shooter or something but brings back the classic Ape Escape gameplay but powered by the crazy VR technology in 2016 or 17.

 

Ape Escape is a damn likeable Universe and I am sure its features could be used for a very fun and interesting virtual reality experience, it would be crazy to be able to hunt and capture the little monkeys in that setting and a lot people would probably love to try out Project Morpheus to play a game with that new medium they knew from their past.

Something like that would not even be very risky for Sony I think.

 

Thanks for reading, what are your thoughts and memories about the Ape Escape series and would you like to see it back in action as well?

  • FullmetalJ

    With Nintendo not really putting many cute and platform-y games out there, you’d think SONY would seize the opportunity to get to that market.

    But I guess not.

    Because of Kaz Hirai, probably.

    I bet Kaz Hirai just hates Ape Escape.

    • https://www.wearejustgamers.com/ R.Hoffmann

      They have a big success with their aims for an older market /audience of people but approaching more markets really should be possible. I think the Playstation 4 could really benefit from a couple of cute looking games for the whole family..as Nintendo would say.

      I was at the local gamestop 2 days ago where a good friend works and asked him about the Wii U and if it sells better now, and also who buys the amiibos. He said, mostly kids.