With my thumb on the left analog stick, I find myself creeping like a stealth master along the ground. At any given moment, I'm poised to push that analog stick up and Spike makes the awkward motion of getting up as any normal person would getting up from the ground. It's anything less than graceful, honestly.
With my thumb on the right stick and my Time Net already equipped, I move to strike.
The Art of Stealth is lost on me for there's only so much you can do to catch a cool as hell shade-wearing, AK-47 gun-toting monkey.
Wait, what the whatinson?! He was carrying missiles on his back too!
As the tiny, heat-seeking missiles all make their way in a crazy fashion towards Spike's head, I realized that I never really stood a chance and upon impact, Spike eats some Cenozoic jungle dirt.
"This bites," he utters in his very cliched Southern Californian Surfer dude voice.
It sure does, Spike. It sure does.
I'm not sure what Spike was thinking when he was creeping around on the ground trying to catch those monkeys with the very colourful descriptive narratives to assess each of their personalities.
Uh, those aren't monkeys. GOSH! Everything fools me so easily!
Did he not think his very tall red spiky skunk hair would draw attention? Did he not think that a monkey so cleverly disguised as a cactus could sense trouble a mile away? Any monkey brave enough to don a cactus suit has a middle name of "trouble" and knows nothing more than secret plans and clever tricks.
While Spike may not have known what he was doing, I know what I was doing. I was enjoying the hell out of Ape Escape.
Wait, is that a cactus or a dirty monkey moonlighting as a cactus... I'm very confused.
There are a few games with awesome Time Travel mechanics (hello Chrono Trigger) but the original Ape Escape was the one to make me love a bunch of wayward, crazy monkeys running amok through time donking, (uh, monkeying?) up the various historical eras; and in doing so, creating a fantastic future for monkey kind. The game let me travel through time to fight Ninja Monkeys in the Bamboo Forests in feudal Japan, capture shy monkeys who ate some yellow snow during the Ice Age, and take a ride on a wooly mammoth too.
What can I say? I was very nearly a History minor and Ape Escape just sort of fascinated me with the ability to visit a fantasy version of The Great Wall of China. The game provided me the opportunity to dance along with the crustaceans on a Crabby Beach while some ancient Nessie type creature lurked out in deeper waters. Atop the hot springs I enjoyed a relaxing soak (no, actually the monkeys did that and I had to frantically stun them with my Stun Club). Even getting my ass-handed to me in a death trapped Castle from Medieval times was very appealing. Then there was the futuristic world the monkeys created for themselves which involved a Robo Monkey of epic proportions because well, why not?
But what's a game with all these incredible quirks in design without an amazing soundtrack to boot?
It's a soundtrack so incredibly interwoven in varying musical styles that aptly portrayed each period of the future and the past. It remains to this day one of my favourite soundtracks of all time (see what I did there?). Soichi Terada created something fun, giving each track an electronic vibe blended in with the appropriate use of instruments representing each of the time periods. The soundtrack made me want to dance along with its cleverness and never felt dull.
As if that was not enough, there was a secret to this already amazing soundtrack to make it even that much more engaging. Every time you hit the ground to go sneaking around, the music would quiet down, certain elements and instruments would be stripped from it to put you in full concentration (Be vewwy quiet, I'm hunting wabbits - uh, monkeys) mode. It was darling. It was daring. It made for some absolutely brilliant moments in music and created alternate versions of already great tunes.
Utilizing the dual shock controller to its full extent along with every thing else I've mentioned made this one of my favourite games I've ever played. While I've never been a fan of stealth in my games, this one was ridiculously campy. It warmed my heart and it hurt like hell when those monkeys hit my face with their Monkey Paws of Fury.
I'm fairly certain petting these would hurt like hell too.
Hey KoTAYku, some of you are all about some stealth games, huh? What about time traveling? Perhaps you've fond memories of ninja music? Leave me a stealthy reply in the comments below...but make sure you leave it in the future. If you leave me one in the past, I'm going to have to call witchcraft, get my pitchfork out and light my torch that I've sitting in the corner of my room for such emergencies.
- Visit TAY Classic for all sorts of monkey business. Yeah, you heard me! 24/7 monkey business where you too can fling your personal belongings (such as your discussions, questions and comments) at any and everyone. Keep it civil though, yeah? It's hard cleaning up after a Monkey ParTAY. Just be sure to make some relative tags for whatever topic you're discussing and make the second or third "TAY Classic".
- Had some questions on how TAY works? That shy monkey I told you about? You know the one that ate the yellow snow? He's called TheUnfathomableTruth and he made you a guide. Please don't bring up the yellow snow bit though because he gets all sorts of embarrassed. Keep that between us, okay?