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Video Game / Ape Escape

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Ape Escape is a series of 3D Collect-A-Thon Platform Games. It is known as Saru! Get You! in Japan.

All three main games are about an evil monkey named Specter who suddenly gains super-intelligence through a hapless professor's intelligence-increasing helmet, who proceeds to put said helmets on every other monkey in a monkey enclosure and teleport them all over the place. Your character's task is to... well, catch them all.

The series has two main gimmicks. The first is that you have a huge variety of gadgets and gizmos at your disposal, all of which are activated and controlled using the right analog stick. Instead of using the face buttons to jump and interact with the environment, the buttons are instead used to equip multiple gadgets at once, and the triggers are used for jumping instead. This gives the series a unique feel, as each gadget interacts with the right stick in a unique way—you can swing the Net vertically or horizontally for instance, while the Monkey Radar needs to be rotated in a circle in order to locate the nearest monkey. The second are the titular monkeys, which act as this game's Stars or Jiggies. Unlike those two games, the monkeys in this game are fully sentient enemies, and will actually run away if you approach. There are also numerous types of monkeys, each of which has a different type of behavior. Some will run, but others will stay and fight, while others might choose to pilot vehicles to escape from you, and so on. Often, the challenge is less based around finding the monkeys, and more about putting them into situations where they become easily catchable, meaning the series has more of a puzzle bent to it than its contemporaries.

Your characters change from game to game, starting with a guy named Spike/Kakeru, then going to a kid named Jimmy/Hikaru, then your choice of two characters Kei and Yumi (NA)/Satoru and Sayaka (PAL) in 3, and a nameless Heroic Mime in the PlayStation Move game. Also, starting from Ape Escape 2, the game's Quirky Miniboss Squad, the Freaky Monkey Five, shows up, monkeys that have been fed the power-boosting Vita-Z Banana, making them go completely insane.

Main series:

  • Saru Get You/Ape Escape (1999, PlayStation) - The first PlayStation game to explicitly require the use of the DualShock controller.
  • Saru Get You 2/Ape Escape 2 (2002 in Japan, 2003 in US and EU, PlayStation 2)
  • Saru Get You P/Ape Escape: On the Loose (2005 in Japan and US, 2006 in EU, PlayStation Portable) - A port of the first game.
  • Saru Get You 3/Ape Escape 3 (2005 in Japan, 2006 in US and EU, PlayStation 2)
  • Saru Get You: Million Monkeys (2006, PlayStation 2)
  • Saru Get You: SaruSaru Daisakusen (2007, PSP)


  • Pipo Saru 2001 (2001, PlayStation 2)
  • Gacha Mecha Stadium Saru Battle/Ape Escape: Pumped & Primed (2004, PlayStation 2)
  • Saru Eye Toy Oosawagi/EyeToy: Monkey Mania (2004, PlayStation 2)
  • Pipo Saru Academia/Ape (Escape) Academy (2004, PSP)
  • Pipo Saru Academia 2/Ape Academy 2 (2005, PSP)
  • Saru Get You: Pipo Saru Racer (2006, PSP)
  • Ape Quest/Pipo Saru Senki (2008, PSP)
  • Furi Furi! Saru Get You/(PlayStation Move) Ape Escape (2010, PlayStation 3)

Spike appeared as a playable character in PlayStation All-Stars Battle Royale in his Million Monkeys attire, albeit with a more Westernized look.

Not to confuse with the 1982 game of the same name for the VIC-20, or the 1983 game for Commodore 64, or the 1984 game for Apple ][.

This video game series contains examples of:

  • 100% Completion:
    • Reaching the final boss of an Ape Escape game requires that you catch all of the monkeys in the game.
    • Pumped & Primed has another form of 100% completion, where you must collect all presents as all characters.
  • Absurdly-Spacious Sewer: Both the first and the third games have one of these. They both appear late in their respective games and are very difficult.
  • Alien Invasion:
    • In the PlayStation Move reboot, the monkeys working with Specter are quite literally space monkeys. It's not so much a serious invasion as something they did for fun, though.
    • Million Monkeys features an initially covert invasion by a race of robotic alien mutant blob monsters serving as The Man Behind the Man for the Big Bad. Once he falls, the aliens play the trope much more straight and start attacking the earth directly.
  • All Love Is Unrequited: In Ape Escape 3, Blue Monkey has a crush on Pink Monkey, who is attracted to Specter, who just doesn't care about her.
  • All Up to You: Most of the games, as the protagonists are the only ones in a position to catch the monkeys.
  • All Your Powers Combined: One of the secret monkeys in 2 wears red pants, but in addition to the red pants' aggression, also has the navy pants' speed and is armed with the black pants' machine gun and the white pants' bombs. Various other monkeys play with this varying degrees, especially later in the game.
  • Amusement Park of Doom: Specter Land, the first half of the last non-boss level of the first game.
  • Anime of the Game:
    • A series of shorts titled aired in Japan in 2002.
    • Saru Get You -On Air-, which ran for a little bit over a full year with two seasons and a total of 77 episodes.
    • A series of shorts by Frederator Studios aired on Nicktoons in 2009.
  • Anime Hair: Played straight with Spike, Jake, and Kei.
  • Art Shift:
    • In Ape Escape 3, a few cutscenes will temporarily switch to 2D animation for reaction shots. Tomoki's backstory, the first set of credits and the bonus cinematic detailing the origins of the Pipotrons are also animated in 2D. Specter's explanation of the "Two Heavens" plan is also portrayed in 2D, albiet as Stylistic Suck.
    • The anime is mainly animated in 3D but occasionally switches to 2D for emphasis or reaction shots.
    • The cutscenes in the PlayStation Move game. The protagonists look much older than the ones from the previous games. The overall style is less cutesy as well (except for all the monkeys, Specter himself is much cuter looking).
    • Million Monkeys has about 50% of the cutscenes filmed in real life.
  • Attack of the 50-Foot Whatever:
    • After making a Villain: Exit, Stage Left, Yellow Monkey returns to fight Jimmy at the end of Code C.H.I.M.P. Only this time, he's huge and on a rampage thanks to an overdose of Vita-Z Bananas.
    • In the anime, Pink grows bigger when she gets angry because Casi wins in Episode 33.
  • Bait-and-Switch Boss: At the end of Code C.H.I.M.P., Specter reveals his latest creation to stop you: the Mk. II Battlecruiser! As you soil yourself at the thought of fighting a flying battleship with a net and a stun club, Specter gloats... until a glowing banana peel falls on his head. He looks up to see Giant Yellow Monkey, huge and on a rampage due to an overdose of Vita-Z Bananas, who promptly smashes the Battlecruiser to bits because Specter denied him yet more bananas.
  • Big Bad: Specter, 75% of the time.
  • Black Comedy: The Monkey Fables from 2 can sometime delve into this.
  • Blessed with Suck: In Ape Escape 3, after the sixth boss battle, it is revealed that Dr. Tomoki was a human test subject for the Pipo helmet, when a freak accident caused it to fuse to his head, resulting in his intelligence being multiplied approximately tenfold (if his claim of an I.Q. of 1300 is to be believed), but also leaving him with a ridiculous-looking light forever attached to his cranium and being shunned and mocked by his fellow scientists.
  • Blonde, Brunette, Redhead: Pink Monkey, Helga, and Natalie in the second season of the anime.
  • Bonus Boss: There are three secret monkeys in Ape Escape 2 that only appear after completing the game and capturing all the monkeys in their respective levels. One is dressed in Mickey Mouse's Sorcerer's Apprentice getup and summons hordes of enemies while teleporting around the area, one is based off Sun Wukong, and the other is a cyborg who is faster than the other cyborg monkeys, more powerful than them, and takes several hits from the Magic Punch before the suit is destroyed.
  • Book Ends: A non-story example, but in 2, the Pipo-Mech is both the first and last vehicle in the game that Jimmy gets to pilot.
  • Boss in Mook Clothing: Some of the toughest monkeys could qualify.
  • Bottomless Pits: Everywhere, to the point of frustration. The Nintendo Hard sequence in the last level of the first game stands out as a particularly painful example.
  • Brainwashed and Crazy: Jake in 1 and Pumped & Primed. He gets better, thanks to Spike.
  • Brown Note: The Specter TV broadcasts in the third game hypnotized everyone who watches it, including, conveniently, the protagonists from the past two games.
  • The Cameo: In 3, a few underwater enemies come straight out of the Japan-only Sony game Space Fishermen. It's even lampshaded in the description for one of the enemies, wondering if it's in the wrong game.
  • Camp Gay: Yellow Monkey. So much so that he "flirts" with Kei, the male protagonist of 3. Dr. Tomoki may also qualify, albeit to a lesser extent.
  • Casting Gag: Jimmy and Natalie, in Ape Escape 2, a game where you Gotta Catch 'Em All, are voiced by Ash and Misty.
  • Catchphrase: "Gotcha!" whenever a monkey is caught.
  • Colour-Coded Characters:
    • The monkeys all wear different colored pants, which hints at their nature when you encounter them in a level: yellow = basic grunts; light blue = cowards; navy = insanely fast speedsters, red = aggressive fighters (and they gain the ability to block your attacks in 2); green = nimble monkeys with sharp eyesight and Backpack Cannons that shoot homing rockets; black = machine gun-toting monkeys with A-Team Firing skills; white = oddballs with weird quirks and poor eyesight due to their Opaque Nerd Glasses but are exceptionally alert (and thus pretty much impossible to sneak up on).
    • Later on in each game, particularly in 2, this is subverted as often as it is played straight, as monkeys may often borrow abilities from colors besides their own, and many use weapons on top of this, making catching them that much more difficult. This isn't even mentioning the "unique" monkeys that are often decked out in unusual costumes related to the theme of the level — with them, it's impossible to tell what abilities they have without engaging them, as the Monkey Radar can only tell you so much.
  • Conspicuous Electric Obstacle: Code C.H.I.M.P level in Ape Escape 2 has electric nodes all over that shoot out electricity between them. They're between Floating Platforms and on conveyor belts. Moon Base level has a section with metallic ball pairs that shoot out electricity.
  • Continuity Reboot: The PlayStation Move Ape Escape had a completely new story compared to its predecessors. The main character is a teenager Heroic Mime who, along with his two sisters, captures monkeys from space while looking for their grandmother. The overall style underwent an Art Shift (although the monkeys themselves remain the same). The only returning character is Specter, and his backstory has been completely changed from a circus monkey corrupted by a intelligence-boosting helmet to an already intelligent Woobie, Destroyer of Worlds after being forcibly launched up into space. While not horrible, most fans are hoping it doesn't stick.
  • Convection, Schmonvection: Not only can the protagonists of most of the games walk right next to boiling lava with no issues, but they can also paddle across it in inflatable rowboats.
  • Cool Helmet: The Peak Point/Pipo helmets the monkeys wear, which boost their intelligence.
  • Cool Shades: Black-pantsed monkeys wear sweet shades and carry submachine guns. Yeah, mankind is screwed.
  • Crossover: Appears as a Mini-Game in the PS2 versions of Metal Gear Solid 3. The third Ape Escape game also has a mini-game called Mesal Gear Solid, which is basically Metal Gear Solid except shorter and more kid-friendly.
  • Darker and Edgier:
    • Pumped and Primed had a few elements of this. Specter's role as Big Bad gets usurped by the Grid Core, a much more intimidating villain. Most of the intermission videos are lighthearted and wacky, but the ones for Helga detail her Dark and Troubled Past, and the ones for the Pipotrons detail their creepy origins and their kidnapping of Helga's father.
    • Million Monkeys shows what happens when a No-Nonsense Nemesis gets control of the monkeys instead of Specter: he wages war on the whole world.
    • The PlayStation Move game to a lesser extent in terms of art style for the most part.
  • Denser and Wackier: Ape Escape 3 is noticeably a lot sillier compared to the other games in addition to being Lighter and Softer. The Frederator Cartoon series is this as well.
  • Deus Exit Machina: In 3, Spike, Jimmy, and the Professor are Brainwashed by Specter, rendering them inactive during the story.
  • Die, Chair, Die!: A lot of destructible objects appear in the first game. Most drop the triangular currency of the game, or health cookies. Most apparent when you're piloting the tank and almost everything in sight can be destroyed.
  • Difficulty by Region: In the NTSC version of 2, monkeys can see Jimmy from further away than the Japanese version. Additionally, some 1-Ups in stages were removed.
  • Disc-One Final Dungeon:
    • Pulled thrice in the first game. The first time is Crumbling Castle (see Wham Episode below). When you return to the present, you then have to deal with TV Tower, which is merely a front for Specter Land. There's also the end of Specter Land, known as Monkey Madness. After this, you have to go back and capture all the remaining monkeys before the True Final Boss.
    • In 2, you make it to Code C.H.I.M.P after defeating Red Monkey, only for Giant Yellow Monkey to crash the party, forcing Specter to retreat. You do get to confront Specter one level later on the Moon Base, though.
  • Dub Name Change: Present throughout the series, starting on the US and UK versions of the first game. The UK versions would backtrack and use the Japanese names from 2 onwards (except for the PSP remake of 1, which mixed them together).
    • Kakeru to Spike.
    • Hiroki to Jake in the US version of 1 and Buzz in the UK release.
    • Natsumi to Natalie in the US and Katie in the UK.
    • Charu to Casi.
    • Hikaru to Jimmy.
    • Satoru to Kei.
    • Sayaka to Yumi.
    • Akie to Aki.
    • Haruka to Helga.
  • Early-Installment Weirdness:
    • Certain aspects of the controls and gadgets were notably different in the first game compared to rest of the main trilogy.
      • The net controls worked a bit different. There were no horizontal swings, Spike would always swing the net vertically and could even spin around in place with it down. Starting in 2, the net could be swung horizontally and being able to spin in place was removed. Additionally, the net lacked collision for level geometry.
      • The ability to do a jumping attack from a crouch was not present.
      • Unlike 2 and 3, Spike cannot move when spinning with the Stun Club. Like the net, it also lacked collision for walls.
      • The Slingback Shooter's ammo is capped at 9.
      • The Sky Flyer doesn't slow down your horizontal momentum when initially used.
      • There were no unlockable chassises for the RC Car.
    • The first game was themed around time travel. Levels came in groups of three to a time period, followed by an obstacle course race against your rival. 2 and 3 both take place entirely in present day and do not sort their levels by any theme. Proper boss battles with the Freaky Monkey Five would replace the obstacle courses.
    • The post-game gadget/morph was not required in every stage. Starting in 2, every stage would have monkeys that required the post-game unlock.
    • The first game had cookie jars you could find to completely refill your health. They are nowhere to be seen in later games.
    • Health worked a bit different in the first game. The player had straight up 5 hits only, as the broken Cookie system wasn't introduced until the sequel. Additionally, drowning and falling in pits is an instant life loss, while 2 and 3 changed it to only taking off one cookie.
    • The first game had a slightly more involved plot, with a brainwashed best friend to rescue, and your Mission Control getting kidnapped towards the end of the game and overall it was treated rather seriously. The plots would eventually start getting more involved, but 2 is comparatively straightforward and lighter in tone, with 3 even moreso.
    • The first final boss in 1 does not end in Specter's capture, instead he angrily teleports away. In 2 and 3, Specter is captured after that fight, only to get away some time after to setup the true final boss.
    • Jake and Casi do not appear in 2 or 3 (though concept art and other unlockables in the second game indicate they might've had a role early on in development).
    • The first game frequently featured large animals to spice up the levels, such as dinosaurs, mammoths, sharks, and polar bears. Dinosaurs were used similarly in one level in 2, while 3 didn't use the idea at all.
  • Enemy Mine: In Pumped & Primed. After the High-Tech Tournament comes to a close, the Pipotrons take the trophy from the winner (Or didn't have to if they themselves won) and reveals to the audience that the disc that controls the virtual world was inside the trophy. And after distorting the virtual world to the Grid Core's image, the heroes, monkeys, and the Pipotrons too (As the Core threw them under the bus) find themselves teaming up to defeat him.
  • Energy Weapon: Some monkeys carry laser blasters with them. Most notable in the first and third games.
  • Expy: The characters of the PlayStation Move games seem to be this to the ones of the original series:
  • The Faceless: You never see a full front shot of the protagonist's head in any of the cutscenes in the PlayStation Move game. You see his mouth for one scene but that's it.
  • Fartillery: Red Monkey can even fly with farts.
  • Gotta Catch Them All: You only need to catch a certain number of monkeys in each level to advance, but to unlock the final boss fight, you need to capture every single monkey in the game.
  • G-Rated Drug: Vita-Z bananas, which apparently act like steroids with the side effect of total, complete insanity.
  • The Hat Makes the Man: The Hat Makes the Ape? All the apes (with the exception of Pipotchi in the second game) have their personalities altered by the Peak Point helmets.
  • Heel–Face Turn:
    • In the third game, Dr. Tomoki, who at the end is willing to give his life to stop Specter because the kids didn't laugh at him and accepted his baldness.
    • At the end of the PlayStation Move game, upon being re-united with his owner Haru, Specter is more than happy to be with her and her grandchildren, and they take him home to give him a bath.
  • Henshin Hero: The third game allows the kids to transform, allowing the kids to wear different costumes and use their abilities.
  • Heroic Mime:
    • To a degree, Spike in 2 when you unlock him upon catching all the monkeys with Jimmy. He has lines, but no interactions with any of the characters.
    • The main character of the PlayStation Move game is this, to the point where his dialogue in the cutscenes is text only.
  • Heroic Willpower: How Spike wards off Specter's psychic probing in the penultimate battle against him from the first game. Why he's unable to do the same in the third game is unknown, though it's possible he was caught off guard and/or Specter's mental powers had improved since then.
  • Hit Points: In the original games, player health is measured by Cookies.
  • Hoist by His Own Petard: In Ape Escape 3, Kei and Yumi can have their stun club and monkey net stolen by the monkeys and used against them. If the monkeys catch them with the Monkey Net, they are sent back to the hub. Luckily, the tools they had stolen from them are warped back with them.
  • Homing Projectile: The Homing Bullets for the Slingback Shooter, as well as the homing rockets used against you by green-pants monkeys.
  • Idiot Hero: Jimmy has shades of it. Most notably, he's the one who accidentally sends a shipment of Pipo helmets to the zoo, setting off the plot of the second game.
  • Idol Singer: Pink Monkey, and Yumi from the third game. It's a Running Gag that the heroes keep screwing up Pink's concerts.
  • Improbable Weapon User: Some of the main tools in your arsenal are a butterfly net, a hula hoop, an RC car, a slingshot, and a boxing glove attached to a spring.
  • Infinity -1 Sword: Your first weapon is the Stun Club in every game. Doesn't sound too good at first, but in the first game, the only thing stronger is the Magic Punch. Unless you're dealing with a special monkey it's almost guaranteed to knock them out in one direct swing and there's only a very few areas that require the post-game Punch to get to.
  • Infinity +1 Sword: The Magic Punch from the first two games. It can break flashing blocks to open up shortcuts, break damaging obstacles that normally are unbreakable and it functions like a Stun Club except that it knocks monkeys out far longer, greatly simplifying your monkey hunt.
  • Inherently Funny Words: You know, saying "monkey" that much was already making everyone giggle. But when "monkey pants" were a prominent part of the second game...
  • Innocent Innuendo: At the end of the second game, before the hunt for hidden monkeys starts, Jimmy cries out "I'm gonna spank you, monkey!" while capturing Specter.
  • Irritation Is the Sincerest Form of Flattery: Many monkeys imitate human ways, which they find cool.
  • It's All About Me: Dr. Tomoki, much to Specter's dismay.
  • Kid Hero: Spike in the first game, Jimmy in the second, Kei and Yumi in the third, with all of them implied to be around 10 or so.
  • Kill Sat: The Satellite Laser in Million Monkeys. Unlike most examples, the laser is fired from the ground and the satellite is for reflecting the beam to the target.
  • Large Ham: Specter is this in the UK dub.
  • Lighter and Softer: Ape Escape 2 and especially Ape Escape 3 compared to the first game, as well as the aforementioned Federator cartoon.
  • Load-Bearing Boss: After Specter is caught in Ape Escape 2, his moon base starts to explode with Jimmy racing to escape.
  • The Man Behind the Man: The ending of the PlayStation Move game implies that the monkeys (who were descended from monkeys launched into space and eventually evolved and devolved into their current state) were behind the invasion of Earth on their own free will, not Specter's. They decide life is boring without him and invade Earth again and kidnap him.
  • Marathon Level: The final few levels of all three games are significantly larger than those that came before them. This actually corresponds with an increase in difficulty, as larger areas = more hiding places for monkeys. For example, in the first game, Crumbling Castle is a warm-up Marathon Level about 75% into the game.
  • Mascot Mook: The helmeted Pipo Monkeys are the head attraction of the series. Very rarely will you see the protagonists, or even the villain Specter be seen on Ape Escape promotional material and box art.
  • Mecha-Mooks: The third game consists entirely of Mecha-Mooks. With large glowing wind-up dials on their backs.
  • Mini-Boss: The second game includes a number of monkeys piloting vehicles which must be destroyed before they can be caught, including bull robots, skeleton robots, rocket turrets, and miniature Flying Saucers.
  • Mini-Mecha:
    • The second game has the Pipo-Mech, a giant robotic version of Pipotchi. Unfortunately, its only attack is to whack things with a spiked metal baby rattle, and it's too tall to hit most normal enemies.
    • The third game has an angel robot which the protagonists use in certain levels, including the battle with Doctor Tomoki in the third game, which pits your mecha against his. Unfortunately, the turtle carrier was only used in the final level... as a platform.
  • Mix-and-Match Critter: Before 3, the grand majority of uncatchable Mooks were these, such as a bee crossed with an eggplant or an owl crossed with a candle. Even the Porkies are an example, as an unlockable comic strip reveals that they're pigs crossed with... "something smelly."
  • Money Spider: The Lousy Rats in the second game are a risky variation. They don't count for the trope if you defeat them instantly, but if you let them steal your coins and then beat them before they get away, they give all of the stolen coins back. And because of the way collected coins briefly increase in value if you collect enough in a row, you can get back much more money than what was stolen from you.
  • The Mole: The Pipotrons, apart from Helga's suspicions, no one knew their true intentions.
  • Mundane Made Awesome: Mesal Gear Solid. Particularly, hearing Metal Gear Solid 3 music in an Ape Escape game.
  • New Game Plus: After capturing all the monkeys in 2, the player could hold L1 while selecting a new game to access this. In addition to playing as Spike, main character of the first game, all gadgets would be unlocked from the start and all Gotcha Box rewards could be obtained right away, as some required reaching certain stages in a normal game.
  • Nintendo Hard: Several instances throughout the series, but the last level of the first game is particularly egregious. We're talking about bottomless pits everywhere, and things that just love to knock you into them placed every few feet. Get used to hearing Spike's "Whooooooaaaaaa!" for the next several minutes.
  • No OSHA Compliance: There's usually a factory level in most games.
  • One-Steve Limit: Often averted by the monkeys, which may share their names with other monkeys in different levels. The second game, for instance, has two monkeys called Ty, both of whom are aggressive red monkeys with boxing gloves, likely referencing Mike Tyson. Then there's monkeys who simply have a different spelling or variation of another monkey's name (e.g. Lily and Lili, Oliver and Ollie, Bruce and Brucie), or those that have the same name but with the addition of a surname (Bruce and Bruce Monkee).
  • Optional Stealth: You have to crawl around to catch monkeys unaware, otherwise they'll run away and/or fire their weapons at you. But even then, it's entirely possible to catch most monkeys just by running around enough, especially if you abuse the hell out of the Super Hoop.
  • Patrick Stewart Speech: Jimmy, of all people, delivers one to Specter below finally snagging him with the Gotcha Net:
    Specter: Come on now, surely you can't refuse the chance to be ruled by superior beings?!
    Jimmy: You got us wrong. You don't know anything about us...
    Specter: What?!
    Jimmy: Humans never stop trying! That's what gives us a future! We'll never give into the likes of you!
    Specter: Give up - you don't stand a chance.
    (dramatic staredown as Specter prepares to activate the Lethargy Laser)
    Jimmy: Yaaaah!! Specteerrrr!!! Gotchaaa!! (catches Specter)
    Specter: Gyaaahh!! Nooo!! I was so close...!!
  • Piranha Problem: In one level of the second game, you have to use a raft to cross a river filled with piranhas.
  • Pointless Bandaid: Jimmy, the protagonist of 2, wears one on his nose. Slightly justified, considering he could get injured trying to catch the monkeys.
  • Psychic Powers:
  • Psycho Serum: Vita-Z Bananas.
  • Public Domain Soundtrack: The music for the Space TV Fortress in 3 is a synthesized re-arrangement of "Mars, the Bringer of War" from Holst's The Planets. In Academy, there are a re-arrangement of "Korobeiniki" and Rimsky-Korsakov's "Flight of the Bumblebee".
  • Put on a Bus:
    • Roughly half of the main cast from the first game (Spike, Jake, and Casi) are missing from the events of Ape Escape 2. While it can be surmised that Spike and Jake had better things to do or were away at the time (Spike reappears during the true ending to greet Natalie, the Professor, Pipotchi, and Jimmy, but oddly knows of Specter's wrongdoings throughout the game), Casi is a PC program in the form of a human girl who worked at the lab. There's even a photo of Natalie and Casi posing together. Unlockable sketches and concept art suggest that all of these characters were going to be included in the second game at some point, perhaps with a role in the story.
    • Pumped & Primed likewise introduces us to Helga, heroine and Implied Love Interest of Spike. She too goes missing after the game.
    • Jimmy and Pipotchi never reappear after the third game, the Federator cartoon notwithstanding.
    • All of the characters (except Specter) might be gone now, as the PlayStation Move game has a completely different storyline with new characters.
  • Red Eyes, Take Warning: Specter when wearing a Pipo helmet. Also Jake when under the influence of Specter.
  • Reference Overdosed: The monkeys' names and descriptions are absolutely chock-full of references to different medias.
  • Regional Bonus: The Ratchet Monkey is only in the Japanese and European versions of 3.
  • Repeat Cut: When you finally catch Specter in the first game, it's shown from three different angles.
  • Retraux Flashback: In 2, when Natalie brings up Specter not learning his lesson after being beaten by Spike, it cuts to footage of Spike's final confrontation with Specter in the first game, PS1 blocky graphics and all.
  • Rewarding Vandalism: All sorts of things spew coins and energy (and monkeys, on the rare occasion) when you smash them to bits with your club.
  • Ridiculously Cute Critter:
    • Pipotchi.
    • Specter, when he's not under the influence of the Peak Point Helmet, is also quite adorable and huggable. He also looks like this in the PlayStation Move title, due to the Art Shift and being The Woobie.
  • Rival Turned Evil: Jake (named Buzz in PAL territories, probably to better fit "Spike") from the first game and Pumped and Primed.
  • Sandbox Mode: The games had a few "extra" modes. Some were Time Trial mode, but another was "Free Play" mode, which gave you infinite lives within the level you chose the mode for. This mode made it so the player could explore the level without having to worry about dying and running out of lives. In the third one, there's only one major flaw which can ruin the experience: Getting caught with your own Monkey Net. Why? It sends you back to the Hub Level, which normally wouldn't reset much, but your progress in "Free Mode" is not saved.
  • Screw This, I'm Outta Here: Specter pulls this in the second game after Yellow Monkey smashes the Mk. II Battlecruiser, leaving you to fight against Yellow Monkey for the second time.
  • Second Love: In SaruSaru Big Mission, Blue is madly in love with Aki.
  • Sequel Escalation: While not as bad as other series about it, each of the games has more monkeys to catch than the last. The first game has 204, the second has 297 (Japanese version) or 300 (North American version), and the third game has 434 (plus 8 that can be added through codes).
  • Sequel Hook: At the end of the PlayStation Move game, the Space!Monkeys return to Earth and kidnap Specter. Tsukushi and Tohko inform tell their brother to go and rescue him.
  • Ship Tease:
    • Between Spike and Helga. Both the anime and Pumped & Primed make this very clear.
    • The anime also provides us with Jake and Natalie.
  • Shout-Out:
    • The first game has four monkeys named Stan, Kyle, "Cratman", and Kenny. They are all in the same level.
    • The very next level in the same game has two monkeys named Spanky and Stymie.
    • The second game has plenty of monkeys named after Star Wars characters on the Moon Base, one of whom is frozen in carbonite (strangely, this monkey is called Lister — there is another monkey called Han, who is found earlier in the same level). The same game also has a wizard wearing Mickey Mouse's Sorcerer outfit and a monkey called Goku Flying on a Cloud and attacking with a pole.
    • Still in the second game, one of the monkeys in Pirate Isle is called Captain Ook, whose description mentions he hates crocodiles.
    • Several Black-Pantsed monkeys in Casino City in the second game are references to American action movies and actors, including Clint Apewood, Simian Seagal, and two monkeys sporting afros called Julius and Vincent, the latter of whom is always thinking about a Royale with Cheese. Unlike the Vincent he's named after, he at least remembered to pick up his gun.
    • Later on in Code C.H.I.M.P., two of the soldier monkeys are called Sylvester and Arnold, who's keen to remind you that he'll be back.
    • The second game has a fair few references to The Simpsons: A monkey named Homer whose description reads "Mmmm... bananas", a monkey named Mel who says "What a sideshow!" or Scratchy the monkey who is "itching to get you."
    • The snowmobile in the second game is Robbit.
    • The third game has quite a few, being based on movies and whatnot. Not to mention Mesal Gear Solid. Metal Gear Solid 3 returned the favor.
    • The third game includes cheats the player has to input in the main menu and then load the game with the corresponding save that gave you the code. After that you will unlock different monkeys in different cameo clothing. Two of them are straight references to the first two games while one other is a reference to Ratchet & Clank. (Conversely, Ratchet & Clank: Up Your Arsenal and Ratchet: Deadlocked had Pipo Monkey skins for Ratchet in Japan.)
    • In Million Monkeys, the Medium Robot is a bi-pedal mecha resembling the ED-209.
  • Stealth-Based Game: Ape Escape 3 features a Metal Gear mini-game, while the PS2 versions of Metal Gear Solid 3 features a Ape Escape mini-game.
  • Tank Goodness: You get to control at least one in all three games.
  • This Looks Like a Job for Aquaman: Whenever you get a new Gadget, it's often vitally important to the level immediately after it's introduced. For example, the Aqua Net is introduced just before you have to swim in 2.
  • Threatening Shark: There are two of those in Coral Cave in the first game. One is a hammerhead (which a Pipo Monkey rides on) while the other is possibly a great white.
  • Time Travel: You do this for all of the levels in the first game, as Specter and his monkeys are trying to rewrite history from the Dinosaur Age onward.
  • Tomorrowland: Dr. Tomoki's Tomoki City level in 3:
    I have seen the future, and it is BLUE ON BLUE.
  • Tropical Island Adventure: Oceana in the first game, The Blue Baboon in the second game and Eversummer Island in the third game.
  • True Final Boss: The final battle is unlocked after capturing every monkey in the game.
  • Tsundere:
    • Monkey Pink takes this to ridiculous levels, going so far as to change her fighting style depending on what mood she's in.
    • Tsukushi and Tohko, the protagonist's sisters from the PlayStation Move title are this to some extent as well.
  • Ur-Example: Ape Escape was the first PlayStation game that required the use of the DualShock controller. Thankfully, the game still managed to be fun enough to stand out on its own right.
  • Unique Enemy: In 2, the Submarine Lookalike (a whale that looks like a submarine), and the Space Can (a sentient can on a beach that does absolutely nothing, but is completely invincible, and pretty much only exists to get whacked around). Both of them are only encountered a grand total of once in the whole game, but still get their own entries in the enemy photo album.
  • Utility Weapon: Many of the gadgets can be used offensively.
  • The Very Definitely Final Dungeon: The final level of each game is extremely long and considerably harder than anything encountered before then.
  • Wham Episode:
    • Crumbling Castle in 1. Though it seems like the last level, no sooner do you reach Specter and Jake before they ditch you, leaving you to fight an armored warrior. Then you get transported back to the present day where the monkeys are already in charge of the city and The Professor and Natalie have been kidnapped.
    • Later in the first game, Natsumi and the Professor are kidnapped atop TV Tower.
    • The wham episode of the third game happens twice: first is during the intro of the game, explaining why the new protagonists have to do what to do, while the second explains a certain villain's past.
    • Million Monkeys makes no attempt whatsoever to hide that it is a very different game than the rest. To put it into perspective, the Goliath mechas that serve as the Final Boss of the first two games were usually incomplete or flawed. In Million Monkeys, a boss fight against a fully functional Goliath is the first mission.
  • What Happened to the Mouse?: Spike, Jimmy, and the Professor are rendered inactive during the main story of 3 due to the TV broadcasts. Although they are shown to have recovered in the first ending, none of the three are referenced again afterwards, despite Specter and the Freaky Monkey Five are still out there.
  • Whole-Plot Reference: Though possibly unintentionally, Ape Escape 3 is one to the Gex series, having a plot in which a villain utilizes trashy TV in his plans.
  • With This Herring: Throughout the series, the protagonist usually has equipment that's mostly non-lethal (the Stun Club being their main tool in that regard) or are souped up versions of children's toys, one of which is flat-out a slingshot. (Granted, it's a slingshot that can shoot explosive ammo, but still.) That does not stop them from accomplishing such feats as beating flying fortresses, Giant Mechas, or even giant, banana steroid-fueled monkeys without much trouble.
  • Womb Level: Dexter's Island in 1, as most of the level takes place inside a massive dinosaur named Dexter.
  • World Tour: The main theme of 2.
  • Wrestler in All of Us: Red Monkey. His boss battle in 2 takes place in a wrestling ring, and most of his attacks involve wrestling techniques, including a Zangief-style Spinning Lariat and suplexing dinosaurs into the ring to create shockwaves.
  • Yellow Snow: Apparently Denggoy the Monkey from the Snowy Mammoth level in the first game ate some. He's not exactly happy about it.


Video Example(s):

Alternative Title(s): Ape Escape 2



Yumi, one of the two playable characters from Ape Escape 3, is a 9-year old idol singer who's a sensation all over Japan. The game opens with her aunt, Aki, watching one of her programs on TV, and her stardom acts as a defense mechanism against the Monkeys in-game.

How well does it match the trope?

5 (3 votes)

Example of:

Main / IdolSinger

Media sources: