You can’t spell Escape without Ape

I completed Ape Escape 2 last weekend. Well, “completed.” I’m going for the platinum trophy, you see, and the game asks you to beat it twice for that. Which is a little ridiculous.

Let’s back up a bit, though. Ape Escape 2 asks you to tromp through its levels and used a variety of gadgets to find and capture all the monkeys that are running rampant. It’s kinda like Super Mario 64 if Super Mario 64’s stages were oversized loops and the power stars would run away and shoot homing missiles at you. So, much more aggravating than Super Mario 64.

Anyway, when you visit a stage, you only have to catch X of Y monkeys to clear it and move on. At which point you’re booted back out to the level select menu. So your (my) gut instinct is to jump back in and snatch up the remaining monkeys. Now, sometimes, certain monkeys are behind barriers that you can only pass once you get a particular gadget. So you collect all your toys and then go back to collect all the monkeys. Super.

What’s curious, though, is that the stages say “cleared” while the boss stages say “perfectly cleared.” Hmmm.

Then you get to the end of the game and defeat the final boss. Hooray! But if you load up your save file again, you’ll be told that OOPS guess he’s back on the loose and also there are now more monkeys in every stage! Hope you didn’t go back to collect them all already! If you did, hope you enjoy exploring each stage a third time!

Yes, I know, Super Mario 64 makes you play each course six times. But those stages are typically smaller, wide-open playgrounds, rather than big, long tubes. Each star usually has you going to different parts of the level, and most levels change depending on which star you select. Super Mario 64 encourages and rewards exploration, and it’s fun. Mario can get nearly everywhere with his basic moveset, and anywhere he can’t get to, there’s always a nearby cap to help. Whereas in Ape Escape, you’re just following your radar down the tube, being slowed down by having to constantly stop to switch out and use gadgets. Going through a level multiple times feels more like work than play.

But that’s still not the end. Once you capture all 299 (!!!) monkeys, you finally get to fight the true final boss. Defeat him, and you’ll earn the ability to start a new game as Spike (or “Kakeru”, because apparently the PS4 release is the European version), the protagonist from the first game, who comes equipped with all the gadgets right from the start. You have to collect all 300 monkeys again as Spike/Kakeru to earn Ape Escape 2’s final trophy. That doesn’t sound too bad!

Ape Escape 2’s last troll, however, is that every stage still has the “collect X of Y monkeys” thing on your second time around, which is suuuuuuuuuuuuper dumb. Even though you start the game with all the tools you need to catch all the monkeys, they still force you to slog through every stage twice. So lame. If that “feature” had been removed for new game+, I wouldn’t have even bothered to write this dumb rant.

So if it bothers me so much, why am I going through all the trouble? Because I’m a masochist and a trophy whore, obviously.

Oh, Ape Escape 2, I wish you were more fun. And also I wish you didn’t have trophies, so I could just not care about all of your bullcrap. This is the last updated PS2 game that I buy!

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