It’s a shame that whenever I tell people that Ape Escape is Sony’s best IP, they look and respond to me like I’m insane. A game about catching brainwashed monkey’s that wear helmet, with your arsenal of toy like gadgets, doesn’t sound like it should be that great. But trust me, it absolutely is.
Ape Escape is a game that does gimmicks right with just a normal controller. The first Ape Escape on Playstation 1 helped pioneer in the era of the Dualshock. You actually couldn’t play the game without the dual analogs. And with that controller, they managed to use every single button, to make a game that was truly incredible. You used your face buttons to pick your gadget, and the right analog stick to control it. It was a really unusual control scheme, even at the time. The jump button was even mapped to the R1 button. But it just felt so right. Catching each monkey and then hearing a “Gotcha!” once you captured it, was always so satisfying.
While Crash Bandicoot and Spyro the Dragon may have been the faces of PS1, and looked at as the premiere platformers for the console, I think Ape Escape was the better game. I’d even go on to say that it was probably the best platformer of its generation. Even better than the games coming out of the N64. And don’t even get me started on that legendary soundtrack composed by Soichi Terada. Legendary. There were Ape Escape games after 1, but I think the original is still the very best one. Whatever the case, I hope Ape Escape 4 becomes a thing sooner than later. It’s one of the few games that would be able to take full advantage of the technology within the Dualshock 4. Hopefully Japan Studio takes a pause on the Knack series, to revive this classic series.