Ape Escape: On the Loose

Who knew that capturing damn dirty apes would grow into something of a popular trend here in the States? Back when the PlayStation was still king of the video game world, Sony released a memorable platform/adventure game called Ape Escape, which combined the slick use of two analog sticks with platforming tactics to create a unique next-generation experience.

Since that time, the series has seen two more releases on the PlayStation 2, with Ubisoft letting Ape Escape 2 and Ape Escape: Pumped and Primed fly onto shelves with reckless abandon. Now, Sony's back in charge of the apes again, as they're preparing for their handheld debut with the forthcoming Ape Escape: On the Loose.

In the game, we learn that a well-meaning professor has invented what's known as a Peak Point Helmet, which can increase the capacity of one's space in their brain and make them smarter as a result. However, a mischievous monkey by the name of Specter puts the Helmet on, and soon undergoes a furious transformation that makes him power-hungry and hellbent on ruling the world. In order to do so, he invades a local zoo and frees up all the monkeys, asking them for their help.

Somehow, they agree, and soon the monkeys rampage back to the professor's lab, where they find access to a time machine. They use it to whisk away to another era, and the professor, in a panic, immediately calls upon his friend Spike, a helpful young kid. Spike is then whisked back in time with the task of capturing the monkeys before they can change the world- leading to an eventual showdown against the angry Specter.

The plot's very similar to that of the PlayStation game, but there's a few touches that will truly make this game its own. First of all, it features WiFi capability that allows multiple players to engage in mini-games, or up to two players to work cooperatively in the main game, capturing monkeys with a net and using strategy to trap them before they can run away.

Then there's also the retouched graphics, bringing the huge worlds that Spike explores to more impressive life than ever before. We're looking forward to seeing how Ape Escape takes advantage of the stellar PSP hardware, but things are looking great so far. And the gameplay's been worked over a little bit to take advantage of the PSP unit, so that it still retains the fresh feeling the game is known for without having to use the analog sticks.

With over 20 levels of exciting monkey capturing action and over 200 different types of monkeys to capture, it's no doubt that Ape Escape: On the Loose will keep fans of the series happily engaged, while gathering a new crowd that are bound to see what the hubbub is all about. We can't wait to get some hands-on time with the game because Ape Escape: On the Loose is sure to be more fun than a barrel of... well, you know.