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Planet of the Apes Package Art
Torus Games
Ubi Soft Entertainment

Planet of the Apes

Riding a small wave of revived popularity, those damn, dirty apes have invaded Game Boy Advance. This side-scrolling, ape-fighting action game is based on one of the old Planet of the Apes films. Is it worth your time and money? For the answer, read this quick and painless review.


Planet of the Apes has a healthy share of problems, none of which are in the visual department. The various backgrounds are colorful, crisp, and detailed, with small extras (like rolling tumbleweeds) appearing on occasion. The character sprites are a little less polished than the surroundings, but everything is smoothly animated to save face.


The sound effects are mediocre, but also appropriate, while the music is a mixed blessing. There are two major tracks: one for the title screen, and one that plays in the background of every stage. Both tracks are well composed and of extremely high quality. The problem, of course, is that there are only two major compositions.


Planet of the Apes is structured like most side-scrollers. The goal is to make it to the end of each level, avoiding traps and defeating enemies along the way. Players begin with only a knife, though it is not long before an array of firearms can be collected. Red flags are scattered around each level, and the player is rewarded with a healing item for grabbing all of them (healing items can also be found within the stages).

When side-scrollers do not play well, it is usually because they are sloppy or uninspired. However, Planet of the Apes manages to falter in a unique way. The game is an awkward mix of two different side-scrolling styles. Ben, the player-controlled character, is slow and has extremely limited abilities. He is similar to the heroes in games like Out of this World, in which the focus is on solving puzzles and finding creative ways around insurmountable odds. In other words, Ben belongs in game that asks players to plan more than it asks them to attack. However, the level design is straight forward and the enemies are plentiful, much like a fast-paced action game.

The clash of styles results in some horrible pacing. Defeating an ape who patrols a raised ledge goes like this: Put away your weapon. Jump up and grab the ledge. Pull yourself over the ledge. Draw your weapon. Commence attacking (though the ape has likely caused some damage by now).

This type of slow, clunky nonsense goes on for the entire game. To fix Planet of the Apes, the developers could have taken one of two routes. Either the player-controlled character should have been made more versatile to smooth out the action, or the level designs should have been altered to make players use their brains more than their fingers.




A uniquely bad game like Planet of the Apes is still a bad game. Gamers should stay far, far away from this awkward piece of software.

final score Action/10

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