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Ape Escape

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Released: 1999

Genre: Platformer

Format reviewed: PlayStation

Publisher: Sony Computer Entertainment

Developer: Sony Computer Entertainment

As a PlayStation-owning teenager, I resented Ape Escape a little bit. Not because it was a bad game, mind you – it was a good game I just couldn’t play, because unlike the vast majority of PlayStation releases it demanded a Dual Shock controller. Never mind the fact that the game and pad were available as a bundle, I already had two standard pads and saw being forced to buy a third as a simple cash grab. Dear readers, this is merely more evidence that I was not a smart kid, as I later learned that Ape Escape is an essential PlayStation game.

Ape Escape is the sort of game that, earlier in the Nineties, people had thought to be impossible on the PlayStation. The system had struggled to deliver the sort of open environments seen in N64 platformers, with Crash Bandicoot – the system’s most prominent platforming series – limited to very linear pathways. But if you’re going to chase monkeys around, they need to have places to run, and Ape Escape delivered on that front.

The Dual Shock controller was definitely a necessity, too. Even the L3 and R3 buttons were brought into play in a control scheme that was a more little complex than average, but allowed for greater ease of monkey-bagging, with one analogue stick controlling the player and the other swinging the net. For the sake of not buying a new controller, passing up on Ape Escape was a big mistake – but thankfully, one I’ve now rectified.