So today I dusted off my old PS2 and plugged it in. I can’t even remember the last time I played it, but I was suddenly overcome with a niggling desire to play one of my all-time favourite video games – Ape Escape 3.
My first experience of Ape Escape was too many years ago to even remember. It was back in the days of video rental stores, and there was one a few streets down from our house called Choices. Yes, my first copy of Ape Escape 2 was rented, and renewed several times so I could complete it. I was in love. It was so much fun! And then I discovered the existence of Ape Escape 3, which built on its predecessor but with additional new elements of game play. And so I bought it, popped it in, and never looked back.
If, like me, you’re old enough to remember what classic level-based action games were like, then you’ll see where I’m coming from when I say how great this was. In fact, I wish more games like this still existed. Open world exploration and crappy little mobile games are great, but you can’t beat the old entering a level and having to collect certain things in each to achieve 100% completion. (Think the Toy Story 2 Action Game, now that’s going back!)
The characters, the story, the level design – everything about Ape Escape 3 is just so perfect. It has beautiful cartoon graphics in a vivid colour palette, and the themes of real-life tales adds some familiarity. In one level you go after Red Riding Hood and the Wolf. In another you try to catch monkeys on the sinking Titanic. The addition of personas with different abilities added even more depth to your strategy, and they were just plain fun to use. And then you had the monkey-cams to film a particular monkey in each level. If you collected all of these, you could even create and edit your own films with the monkeys you had collected. It was everything I could possibly want back then, and putting it on again took me back to those wonderful evenings after school, gazing in wonder at the screen as my fingers tapped eagerly away on the controller.
The way games are developing is great and there are so many dynamic and revolutionary titles being released with every passing year, but sometimes, just sometimes, it’s nice to go back and remember your old childhood favourites. Maybe I’ll put Spyro the Dragon back in next. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see…