Planet Of The Apes (PSX, 2001) Part One
Despite having been around since the late 1960s, the PotA franchise didn't get a video game until 2001. Work on the game started in 1998, and although the game was made with the intention of being a tie-in to the 2001 Tim Burton remake, it had absolutely nothing to do with it. Instead, the game follows the story of Ulysses (named after Ulysse, the main character from the original book), an astronaut who crashes and ends up on a planet where intelligent apes rule over humans. I'm sure this all sounds familiar. The intro video even directly copies the reveal of the apes in the first movie.
The game is essentially a Tomb Raider clone. You'll solve "puzzles" and retrieve objects to pass to the next level. It has a clunky inventory system that allows you to hold weapons, keys, papers, and health packs. It has a second inventory option that is to carry stuff you can't use or get rid of until it is needed. You can walk, run, jump, punch, climb, and hang. When you squat, an audiometer shows up on screen to show you where your enemies are, while also letting you move undetected. That's pretty much everything. For the whole game.
Medical Center 1
After being KO'd by one of those damn monkeys, you awake in a cell straight out of the first two movies. You'll notice how garbage everything looks. This came out in 2001. These graphics are worse than most PSX launch titles The controls are stiff and all around clunky. When a human slave brings you your food (apparently a bowl of shit), there is a key and note hidden inside. The note tells you to head to the med center. Apparently, you're the only human around and the apes aren't very good at security, since you can unlock your cell and just walk out. If you do run into them, you have to box them. There is a way to kick, but I didn't even see it until I was almost done with the game and have no idea how to do it. You can also block, which is another thing I didn't figure out for a long fucking time. As this is essentially a puzzle game, anything that looks like it doesn't fit in with the scenery will be used for something. If you see something shiny, you pick it up. If you see something more detailed than everything around it, you're going to probably have to get something to use on it. In this case, you find a grate on the wall with a lock on it. When you find a surgical blade in the operating room, you then have to head back to that grate and cut the lock off. Now, this ENTIRE game is predicated on stuff like that. You find something that you can not pass until you get the needed object. Most of the time, the object is a key. And you will backtrack all over the whole fucking stage 9000 times because everything looks the same and there is no map, so prepare to get lost constantly. After crawling through the grate, you'll spy on Zaius and my girl Zira arguing over the same shit as in the movies. It took me a solid hour just to figure out how anything worked in this game. This is not the kind of game for hand-holding and tutorials.
Medical Center 2
Here, I learned of the audiometer. When you crouch down, you can see an audio representation of where enemies are. USE IT ALL THE FUCKING TIME. DO NOT ENGAGE UNLESS YOU HAVE TO. These apes are bullshit and you will die constantly if you try to fight or be seen by all of them. Sometimes you'll get lucky and for some reason they won't block at all. Most of the time, they spam block and then hit you too fast to break up their strikes. It's fairly inconsistent. Sometimes you can kill an ape in six punches. Sometimes its up to twelve. Weapons don't seem to increase or decrease this at all. You also learn that the AI is dumb as shit and you can literally be crouched and an ape can walk right past you and not see you. I mean, directly in front of you. Yet, other times in the game will have them see you with their backs turned. No consistency at all. This stage is mostly a sneaking mission to get a key to open another door. You only have to engage in one fight in order to make the ape drop his card. You can skip around the rest. We also find that these shitty apes keep mandrills locked up in cages as well. Also, they sleep on the fucking job.
Medical Center 3
This stage has a more complicated puzzle. You'll find a lab report that details the results of experiments with a drug known as, "Detirium". There are various shades that do different things. The way to get out of the stage is to take the red Detirium, which made subjects appear to have a heart attack and die for a certain amount of time. Before you take it, you'll hit the alarm, so by the time the guards get to you, they think you are dead and transport you to the morgue. If you don't read the signs and letters, you'll never figure out shit in this game. Before all that, you get to show off your sweet climbing skills, plus how to sabotage machinery. After you wake up in the morgue, a cut scene will play of you running out into a city, where another human promptly knocks you out. Two knock outs in what I assume is a couple of days at most? No doubt some brain damage going on for Ulysses.
You wake up from your concussion in a creepy abandoned monastery. Instead of apes, the only enemies are giant rats and shitty graphics. After running around for an hour, entering the same rooms over and over because everything looks the same, you'll find a desk with two little statues on them. Well, those things are out of place, so you should try to use them. Pull on them both and the desk reveals a hidden projector. In another room, behind a bookshelf that you'll push even though nothing gives you an indication that you can do such a thing in the game at all, you will find the hologram disc to play in the projector. Head back to that room, getting lost for 20 minutes running into the wrong rooms. The hologram is some creepy dude in a hooded robe who talks about god, sins, and how humanity fucked everything up with infighting. Not really a shocker unless you've somehow never heard of PotA and randomly picked this game up on a lark. Oh look, it'ss that cunt who knocked you out earlier....and he's gone. Fuck. Chasing him leads to a room with what I assume is massive beer kegs. Only one of them doesn't have a coat of arms on it, plus it sounds hollow. Find the coat of arms, place it on the keg, and you've opened up a hidden passage. Neat.
Things start getting a little weird here. For starters, a chamber full of druid statues and purple curtains is always creepy. Then you find a parchment that tells you what you'll need to do for the next few stages, but all wrapped up in Jesus talk. THEN you'll straight up enter a giant painting of Jesus that leads you to a book that tells the story of the founders of the church and gives you more hints on what you'll need to do. Just not in the, "Press X to x" kind of way. I'm kind of enjoying this kind of game, despite the disgusting graphics and clunky gameplay. I haven't played a game like this in a long, long time. If you read your book, you'll recognize that there is probably something in all that corn you find after exiting Jesus. Have a life and death battle with a baboon and then yank yer chain to make corn and a bust fall out. Take that little statue guy back to near the start of the stage, where there is a place for two statues, but one is missing. This opens up a hidden passage in the fire place. This is pretty much how every stage goes, by the way.
You'll do more climbing and fight more giant rats. Are they mutated? They're as big as dogs. Most of this stage is fucking around in a giant church. There is an awful lot of Christian symbolism in this game. It's weird. This has an altar and crosses and shit. What is going on? The object to find in this level is a piece of music, which you put into an organ and...you don't even get to hear the music play. What the fuck? I wanted to hear the song of the masters, you fuckers. Of course, it unlocked a hidden passage that takes ten minutes to get back to. This game makes the most of out each level, that's for sure.
God damn. STILL in the monastery? This time, you get the added bonus of water sections. You know, the best section in all of video games. You have incredible lung capacity, because you definitely shouldn't be able to dive a few hundred feet, then swim through another hundred feet of tunnels in one breath. But you do. This is in the jail part of the monastery. Do monastery's usually have jail sections and/or dungeons? This one does. And it has spooky trap doors and bone levers to open doors. Once you find yourself trapped, you'll notice one section of the wall looks extra shitty, so go over to it and SURPRISE IT'S A SECRET MOVING WALL! Head into the door and you'll find two men, one of which was the dude that knocked you out and then ran like a bitch. He believes Ulysses to be the savior from the prophecy...so why the fuck did you hit him on the head and run from him? Why did you make him chase you all across this deadly fucking place? What if he had died doing that stupid shit? You're a dumb mother fucker. Basically, they're here to catch Ulysses up on what has happened while he was in space. Again, they're doing this out of what is basically a bible based on people who read the bible. After explaining all the players, you're now tasked to find the silver and glass pieces to something that combines with a gold piece. What it does when combined, no one really knows, but its super important you get them.
This stage at least has something a little different going on. You have to power up and reroute a train car to get to the next stage. Which also takes forever and isn't that fun, but it is a little better than having to find a key or statue. What started as kind of cool from a novelty point of view is now starting to wear on me.
Now we're getting deep, brehs. So deep that there is poisonous gas everywhere. How do you get rid of it, you ask? Why, getting a gun and blowing up barrels, of course. Seems like that would do more damage than good, but what do I know? I am but a caveman astronaut. On the bright side, at least you now get a gun instead of using a club. Too bad the aiming is garbage and it isn't even that strong.
Hopefully we're almost out of the mines, because holy shit do they look disgusting. These textures literally gave me headaches if I played for more than an hour at a time, which was usually about a stage and a half. There is another train car you have to move. Not only do you have to turn on the power, but you have to find a battery for the car itself. And then you're introduced to the newest enemy: GIANT FUCKING BATS. Are there no normal sized animals on the Planet of the Apes? There are a few ways to beat this man bat. You have an audio frequency device that you find through out your endless searching of what the fuck to do. When you have that on, it fucks with the bats, freezing them in the air. If they're low enough, you can punch the shit out of them. Climb up the wall as fast as you can, because the bats respawn and won't let you climb the wall. However, I only got the bat low enough for me to punch it to death one time. The other option is to shoot it if you still have ammo left in your gun. This is also difficult, because the aiming is shit and you'll likely only have one or two bullets left. Plus, you pretty much have to shoot it from the border of the area, which means you have to book it as fast as possible to the wall AND get to the top before the bat respawns. Which takes a few tries. Basically, fuck this section. You'll do some parkour shit to exit the area.
The Ruined City
You might think you're finally going to head back to civilization. You'd be wrong. You might think you'd get to run around in the city. You'd be wrong. Again. Despite the title of the stage, you're in a hotel. Sneak around up the stairs and you'll find an ape guard sleeping on the job (some of the apes SLEEP ON THE JOB WHILE STANDING UP in this game). Kill him. On the other side of the screen is a woman in a cage. Free her. How does she repay you? She runs away. Not even a thank you. You're now stuck in this hotel. I probably would just stay there. It seems a lot nicer than anywhere else Ulysses has been so far. You can get to the exit, but you need a code. So then you have to go back to the room with the cage and go out on the ledge. A sniper baboon will take shots at you as you climb up the hotel. It's all done from the perspective of the baboon, too, so good luck not falling off the edges. Of course, you'll find the code in a note in a safe that you find the code to by shutting the blinds. Because it is that kind of game. This means you have to go back down the way you climbed, while getting shot at again, then back to the bottom of the hotel, where you run into an ape that is about to shoot you. He takes a while to monologue about how much money this is going to make him and then you're saved by the woman you saved, who is actually Nova and now speaks perfectly. And then she runs away like she's afraid of you or some shit. You chase after her, though. Why do people helping Ulysses keep running away from him?
Ruined City 2
The lack of 1 made me think it was a one and done area. How wrong I was. There are lots of apes around, so you have to do a lot of sneaking. The main point is to get, and get this, a KEY TO OPEN A DOOR. Along the way you hold General Ursus hostage for a bit. Ulysses seems to know who he is, but I don't recall anything in this game showing why he would know anything about Ursus. He just learned that he was 2000 years in the future a few hours ago. Now he's well versed on Ursus? You'll shit talk him, take a special report by Dr. Cornelius, and also gain a weird box thing. Then you'll use the key you've either found or have yet to find and will be searching for for another hour, and bounce.
Ruined City 3
Did you think you were out of the city? Well, fuck you. You ain't shit and you aren't out of this shithole. In fact, you're now in the subway and the apes are sent after you. Look at this fucking baboon sliding down the escalator. Motherfucker thinks he's cute. I might have forgotten to mention it, but the baboons in this game are like the super soldiers who know kung fu. They're hard as shit to fight against. And since they're immediately set to chase after you, you have to run around like an asshole until you find a little hole in the wall you can crawl into like a scumbag piece of shit. You can kill them from behind the hole, which is nice. Then you have to jump across electrified water. Then you get to do fucking repair work. You're now the maintenance crew. Fixing blown fuses in an elevator. Just what I want to do in a video game about Planet of the Apes. Hey, why don't you make a game where I can be the apes and beat the shit out of humans? A racism simulator. That's what video gaming needs. Anyway, once you clock out after fixing the elevator, you'll meet a dude named BOSKO. He and Nova lead you to the human villages. Now, this is thirteen stages into the game. You'd think it's about over. NOPE. This is only the half way point. FUCK.