Official series logo
|Developers||SCE Japan Studio|
|Publishers||Sony Computer Entertainment|
|Platforms||PlayStation, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable|
|First release||Ape Escape
|Latest release||PlayStation Move Ape Escape
Ape Escape (known as Saru Get You (サルゲッチュ Saru Getchu?) in Japan) is a series of video games made by Sony Computer Entertainment, starting with Ape Escape for PlayStation in 1999. The series often incorporates ape-related humour, unique gameplay, and a wide variety of pop culture references; it is also notable for being the first game to make the DualShock controller mandatory. The first game and various spin-off's were developed by SCEI while the second, third and other various party games were developed by SCE Japan Studio.
- 1 History
- 1.1 Ape Escape, Piposaru 2001 and Sequel (1999 - 2003)
- 1.2 Pumped & Primed, On The Loose, Ape Academy, Monkey Mania and Ape Escape 3 (2004 - 2005)
- 1.3 Ape Academy 2, PipoRacer, Ape Escape: Million Monkeys and Ape Escape: SaruSaru Big Mission (2006 - 2007)
- 1.4 Ape Escape 4, Ape Quest, PlayStation Move and PlayStation All-Stars (2008 - present)
- 2 Games
- 3 Story
- 4 Gameplay
- 5 Other media
- 6 References
- 7 External links
Ape Escape, Piposaru 2001 and Sequel (1999 - 2003)
In 1998, it was confirmed that a title would be developed under the name "Sarugetchu" and would be specifically designed for the DualShock controller, and would be the first game to do so. The title was a massive success, going Platinum, entering the Greatest Hits series in the US, and entered the "Best Of" releases in Japan. It was reviewed positively, and was compared to games such as Super Mario 64. In 2001, it was confirmed that two games would be coming out from the franchise. "Piposaru 2001" was confirmed first as well as "Ape Escape 2" to follow. Piposaru 2001, was released in July 2001 in Asia only, and was a massive success making it into the "Best Of" series. It was received well, most saying that the game was fun, and easily one of the best platformers the PlayStation 2 had seen. But it was criticized for not being as addictive as the original. In 2003, Ape Escape 2 was released worldwide to great success, entering the "Best Of" series again in Asia, making it the franchise's 3rd consecutive title to enter the series. In the US, the game entered the "Greatest Hits" series and in Europe, the title was re-packaged in 2005, with a whole new look, to match the then just-released title "Ape Escape 3". The game gained similar reviews, with its only criticism being the game wasn't as good as the first.
After the success of all three titles that were released, "Ape Escape" was pushed an official franchise. In 2003, SCEI confirmed to be working on a multi-player party game and the sequel to "Piposaru 2001". There was also confirmation that the original "Ape Escape" was to be ported to the PlayStation Portable. "Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed" was released in Japan through Sony Computer Entertainment Inc. and the US through UbiSoft in 2004. It was met with mixed reviews stating that the content was there, it just wasn't executed well. "Ape Escape: On The Loose" was then released globally as one of the launch titles to the PlayStation Portable. It was met with positive reviews with critics stating it was still a great game, but suffered the loss of the right analogue stick. It entered the "Platinum", "Best of" and "Greatest Hits" for selling over five hundred thousand units in each of the regions. It was then later released in the "PSP Essentials" collection for selling over 5 million copies. In 2005, Ape Academy (also known as Ape Escape Academy) was released for the PlayStation Portable with mixed critical reception but to fair sales over one and a half million, resulting the title to be re-released under the "Platinum", "Best Of" and Greatest Hits titles. "Eye Toy: Monkey Mania" a party game inspired by Mario Party, failed to match the success of the previous entries causing a cancellation in the US before release and a limited supply released in the UK and Australia. In mid-2005, Ape Escape 3 was released to positive critical reception. In Japan, the title quickly entered the "Best of" category, while in the US, UK and Australia, the title was only given a small release due to the failure of "Eye Toy: Monkey Mania". It was never re-released in either "Platinum" or "Greatest Hits" editions despite being eligible.
Ape Academy 2, PipoRacer, Ape Escape: Million Monkeys and Ape Escape: SaruSaru Big Mission (2006 - 2007)
After the release of Ape Escape 3, Sony Computer Entertainment Europe showed interest in publishing "Ape Academy 2" and "Ape Escape: Million Monkeys" however Sony Computer Entertainment America showed more interest in developing their own title. "Ape Academy 2" was released in 2006 for the PlayStation Portable to mixed success and sold very well in Japan, entering the "Best of" category, but failed to perform well in Europe, due to Sony focusing on Million Monkeys. Million Monkeys was released in Japan in July 2006, making it the last official PlayStation 2 title in the series. It was met with mostly positive reception and became the best selling Ape Escape title in Japan for the PlayStation 2 selling over 2 million units in Japan alone. It entered the "Best of" collection before it had even been available for a full calendar year. Sony Computer Entertainment Europe, pushed for the game to be released in 2006 to feed off its international success. Trailers were released, and promotion had started. It was then announced that it had been "banned" for graphic violence in comparison to the other titles in the series. Sony attempted to censor the game, and it was set for release in September 2008, but was then cancelled. Its impact in Japan led to Spike in his Million Monkeys form to be included in the PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale video game in 2012. In late 2006, PipoRacer was released in Japan for PlayStation Portable. It received positive sales entering the "Best of" in Japan, and was met with positive reviews with critics complimenting that it did its job better than Mario Kart DS. In 2007, it was announced that another exclusive PlayStation Portable title would be released. The Japan Studio and h.a.n.d developed "Ape Escape: SaruSaru Big Mission" was released in Japan to warm response, again entering the "Best of" series, and was met critical success. It was never released outside Japan, as SCEA was working on their own title to be released the following year, and SCEE was already publishing "Ape Escape: Million Monkeys" despite it eventually being cancelled. Despite not being an ape catching game, or noted as the fourth entry, its working title was "Sarugetchu 4" which would hint at "Ape Escape 4".
In 2006, Sony placed an ad in Famitsu magazine with interest in hiring staff for an upcoming title. It contained a picture, with four monkeys, with the first holding up "Ape Escape", the second "Ape Escape 2", the third "Ape Escape 3" and the fourth holding a cover with "?". The fourth entry is currently in development. "Ape Quest" was officially released in 2008 exclusively to the US PSN store, and was the first game to be developed by Sony Computer Entertainment America. It was then published by Sony Computer Entertainment Europe in May 2008 and was finally released in March 2009 in Japan. It was the first game in the series to be a PSN only title, excluding Asia where it received a physical release. In 2009, a game titled "Ape Escape" was announced along with the PlayStation Move. Fans and critics speculated that it was the fourth entry in the series, after Sony's 2006 advertisement. In Q3 2010, "PlayStation Move: Ape Escape" was officially announced under the party genre, and with a different name for every region. It was released in Japan in December 2010, Asia in January 2011, and the UK and Europe in mid-2012. In the US, the title was only made available on the PSN store. After the release of PlayStation Move: Ape Escape, no titles were announced in 2012 making it the first year since 2002 that no Ape Escape title had been released and the first year in the history of the franchise that no title had been announced within each region. Despite this, Spike is a character in "PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale", which was released in November 2012.
- Ape Escape (PlayStation) - June 1999
- Ape Escape 2 (PlayStation 2) - July 2001
- Ape Escape: On the Loose (PlayStation Portable) - March 2005
- Ape Escape 3 (PlayStation 2) - July 2005
- Ape Escape 2001 (PS2) (Japan only) - July 2001
- Ape Escape Million Monkeys (PS2) (Japan only) - July 2006
- Ape Escape Racing (PSP) (Japan only) - December 2006
- Ape Escape SaruSaru Big Mission (PSP) (Japan only) - July 2007
- Ape Quest (PSP) (released in North America & Europe exclusively on the PlayStation Store and a UMD in Japan only) - January 2008
- Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed (PS2) (Japan & USA only) - July 2004
- EyeToy: Monkey Mania (PS2) - August 2004
- Ape Escape Academy (PSP) - December 2004
- Ape Academy 2 (PSP) (Japan & Europe only) - December 2005
- PlayStation Move Ape Escape (PlayStation 3) - December 2010
- Monster Rancher 4
- Everybody's Golf 4
- Ratchet & Clank
- Metal Gear Solid 3: Snake Eater
- PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale (Spike is a playable character, in his "Million Monkey" version)
One of the main story elements of each of the main series involves a white-haired monkey named Specter obtaining a helmet known as the Peak Point Helmet (Pipo Helmet for short), which boosts his intelligence. After equipping an army of monkeys with Pipo Helmets, and using an enhanced helmet for himself, Specter sends his monkey army to take over the world, and Space. It is up to the game's protagonists, equipped with various gadgets, to capture the monkeys and restore order to the world.
The alternate series, developed by SCEI, Is the alternate main series. Specter and the Monkeys take over the world, or try to sabotage players in "Pumped and Primed". In both games, Specter does not end up being the main villain and there are usually darker forces behind Specter that you will have to defeat. The villains change from game to game. It is up to the game's protagonists, equipped with various gadgets, to capture or defeat monkeys/characters, to save the day.
The Ape Escape series is notable from its radical departure from the tried-and-true control method in most other games. It was the first PlayStation game to require the use of a DualShock controller; the left stick moves the character while the right operates whatever gadget the player has in his/her possession. Again, unlike many games which use to jump, both the R1 and R2 buttons are used, while the 'shape' buttons are used to cycle through the available items in the inventory.
In the PSP spin-offs, a more conventional control scheme must be used, due to the PSP's lack of a right analog stick.
The main objective through the majority of the games is to use your available array of gadgets to locate and capture monkeys. When a monkey has been found, he needs to be caught with the Time Net gadget. On the first through, players will have a set number of monkeys to catch before progressing towards the next level. Once each level has been completed, they can be reentered with the gadgets necessary to catch the remaining monkeys.
In the main series, there are three unlockable minigames that can be played at the hub. These can be accessed by clearing the necessary amount of stages and/or having the necessary amount of coins. In Ape Escape and Ape Escape: On the Loose, you had to collect a certain amount of Specter Tokens to unlock a minigame.
In Ape Escape 2, you could obtain these three minigames by betting ten coins in the Gotcha Box, but here the stage-clearing was much more vital, yet it didn't mean it'd be based on your percentage on your record.
In Ape Escape 3, because coins were far more abundant than Ape Escape 2 and the fact that you could hold coins past 999, the prices went up for the mini-games as well. Another thing is that this time it was based on your percentage, so clearing stages, beating time attacks, or purchasing things from the shops would get you faster to making the mini games become available to purchase. The minigame Mesal Gear Solid seems fuller and more of a game of its own rather than just a simple unlockable. This game has a plot and more traditional gameplay of the AE series, and could be the start of more fuller minigames based on a series already established, like Metal Gear Solid.
- Ape Escape (shorts) (2002 computer generated anime shorts)
- Saru Get You -On Air- (anime series based on the franchise)
- Ape Escape (cartoon series) (animated shorts created by American studio Frederator Studios)
- Manga (CoroCoro comics)
- Franchise History | Ape Club
- Ape Escape 4 | IGN| http://au.ign.com/articles/2006/01/27/new-ape-escape-in-the-works
- Ape Escape, Ape Escape 2, Ape Escape 3 Game Booklets
- Ape Escape: Pumped and Primed, Ape Escape: Million Monkeys Game Booklets
- Official Japanese site (Japanese)