Ape Escape is a platform video game, developed by SCE Japan Studio and published by Sony Computer Entertainment. It was released for the PlayStation in May 1999 in North America, and June 1999 in Japan. The first in the Ape Escape series, the game tells the story of an ape named Specter who gains enhanced intelligence and a malevolent streak through the use of an experimental helmet. Specter produces an army of apes, which he sends through time in an attempt to rewrite history. Spike, the player character, sets out to capture the apes with the aid of special gadgets.
Ape Escape is played from a third-person perspective. Players use a variety of gadgets to pursue and capture the apes, traversing across several environments. The game's controls are heavily centred around the analog sticks, being the first game to require the use of the PlayStation's DualShock. Development of Ape Escape lasted over two years, and was generally focused on adapting to the use of the controller, which was a significant challenge for the development team.
Ape Escape was met with critical acclaim from critics, with praise particularly directed at the innovative use of the dual analog controls, as well as the graphics and music; the voice acting received minor criticism. The game is widely considered to be one of the greatest on the PlayStation console, and received several re-releases. The game also spawned numerous sequels and spin-offs, beginning with Ape Escape 2 in 2001. A remake, Ape Escape: On the Loose, was released for the PlayStation Portable in 2005 to mixed reviews.