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Ape Escape


© St. Petersburg Times, published July 19, 1999

Sony's Ape Escape is a gem for two reasons. Not only is it the most original game for the PlayStation to come along in months, but it also comes at a traditionally slow time for interactive software: summer.

Ape Escape is an incentive to stay indoors, offering a playfully themed free roaming action game, in which a time-hopping kid takes on the role of monkey catcher. But these aren't just any monkeys. They have been equipped with special "smart" helmets that give them the ability fly UFOs, fire automatic weapons and work giant gale-producing fans.

Control in Ape Escape is complex, using both analog sticks on Sony's Dual Shock controllers. You could toggle between 14 buttons to get your character Spike firing on all cylinders. But players are eased into Spike's many moves, and such complicated game play adds to Ape Escape's depth, which will have you trying to outsmart our evolutionary friends, often to no avail.

Grade: A

Tarza System: PlayStation

It seems a rule that a book is always better than the movie based on the book. And, in a similar vein, the movie inspiration of a game is usually better then the game itself. Unless, of course, the game is the movie -- as is the case with Tarzan

Basically, if you buy Tarzan for the PlayStation, you are paying $40 for a copy of Disney's latest animated feature, with a little game play sprinkled between movie clips. The play is so standard, it is a little insulting.

Tarzan picks and chooses elements from other side-scrolling jungle games such as Donkey Kong Country -- pounding the ground for hidden bonuses -- and from Tomba! -- backgrounds that become foregrounds.

If these elements were a first, then older players might appreciate them. On the other hand, Tarzan is far too difficult for the younger crowd to enjoy. If you really can't wait for the video, save your money and see the movie again.

Grade: C+

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