Ape Escape 2 was developed by SCEI (now SCE Japan Studio) exclusively for the PlayStation 2 and was published by Sony in both Japan and Europe. Ubisoft published the title in North America after SCEA confirmed that they had chosen not to publish the title in favor of focusing on their homegrown platformers Jak and Daxter and Ratchet & Clank.
The game closely follows the pattern set forth by Ape Escape, using the same controls and premise of capturing monkeys as the original. The game is comprised of twenty levels across seven worlds. Features include a new protagonist, new monkeys, new gadgets, and new mini games.
The goal of the game is to capture three hundred monkeys that are out wreaking havoc on the world, with the ultimate goal being to stop their leader, the super-intelligent evil white monkey known as Specter, from using them to take over the world.
It's been a few years since the events of Ape Escape and everything has returned to normal. There are no more mischievous manic monkeys maladroitly meandering across the mainland, and humans have kept their status as the world's dominate species. All is well.
The Professor decides to take a vacation and leave Jimmy, Spike's cousin, in charge of his lab while he's away. Jimmy is given the simple assignment of sending a shipment of specially designed monkey pants to Monkey Park via the lab's transporter. Distracted by a TV show, Jimmy overloads the transporter and inadvertently sends every citizen in Monkey Park a new Peak Point Helmet along with their new pair of pants.
Specter, seizing the opportunity, once again commands the recently helmeted monkeys to aid him in his attempt at taking over the world. It's now up to Jimmy to capture the monkeys, stop Specter, and save the world before The Professor returns.
Ape Escape 2's controls are almost exactly like those found in the first game. All character movement is controlled using the left analog stick, while the right stick is used to attack with the selected gadget in whatever direction the player pushes it. This gives the player the ability to attack anywhere around the character.
With some gadgets (such as the Stun Club and the Dash Hoop) the player must instead spin the right analog stick in rapid circles, resulting in a 360 degree attack or a charging up of the gadget.
The face buttons are used to switch between gadgets, and the shoulder buttons are used for jumping and camera control.
The gameplay of Ape Escape 2 is essentially the same as that found in original. Because of this, some of the content found in the gadgets section is borrowed from the original Ape Escape page.
Gadgets are the most important part of gameplay, allowing Jimmy to capture and attack monkeys, while also helping him to navigate the environment. Jimmy will have access to a total of twelve gadgets - nine returning gadgets from the original Ape Escape and three new ones (denoted by an *).
- Electro Magnet* - A gadget that is used to manipulate certain magnetic objects found throughout the game. Use the right analog stick to select the object, and the left stick to move it.
- Bananarang* - A throwing gadget used to lure hungry monkeys with the scent of bananas towards wherever it lands. Swing the right analog stick to throw the bananarang.
- Water Cannon* - Sprays water to put out fires obstructing progress through the level. Can also be used to stun monkeys. Sprays in whatever direction the right stick is pressed.
- Stun Club - A lightsaber-like gadget that stuns monkeys, and also harms various other enemies. Swing the right analog stick to swing the club.
- Monkey Net - The only gadget that can capture monkeys (on land). Swing the right analog stick to swing the net.
- Aqua Net - The only gadget that can be used underwater. It is automatically switched to when Jimmy is in water, and can shoot out nets to capture monkeys.
- Monkey Radar - A radar that is used to find monkeys. The closer Jimmy is to a monkey, the faster and higher-pitched the sound it emits will be. Once close enough, the camera can zoom in on the monkey and display a little bio. Rotating the right analog stick rotates the radar dish.
- Catapult - A slingshot that stuns monkeys. Can also harm enemies and hit buttons. Can shoot 3 different types of pellets: Normal, Guided, or Explosive. Pull back on the right analog stick to aim, and let go to shoot.
- Sky Flyer - A little handheld propeller that allows Jimmy to rise up in the air. Spin the right analog stick to spin the Sky Flyer, and give Jimmy lift. Continuous spinning will not keep Jimmy airborne, but it will slow his descent.
- R.C. Car - A remote controlled car that can fit through small holes. Used to hit unreachable buttons, or to draw monkeys out of hiding. The right analog stick controls the car.
- Power Punch - Obtainable after defeating Specter for the first time. An extendable device with what appears to be a boxing glove at the end, it is a powerful Gadget that can destroy boxes and walls that the Stun Club cannot. Tilt the right analog stick slightly for a weak punch, all the way for a strong one.
- Dash Hoop - A hula hoop that gives Jimmy a speed boost, also allowing him to bowl over enemies. Spin the right analog stick to spin and charge the hoop. Once charged, let go of the stick to activate the boost.
All of the three hundred monkeys found in Ape Escape 2 are unique. They all have their own names, stats (alertness, aggression, speed, and stomach fullness), personality traits (e.g. cheeky, easygoing, flashy), and fighting styles.
Capturing all three hundred of them is not required though, as each level has a quota that must be met in order to proceed that is usually less than the total number of monkeys found in that level.
There are light stealth elements to the gameplay. It is easier to catch monkeys that have not detected Jimmy's presence. Each monkey's situational awareness level is represented by the color of the light on top of their helmet. Blue means the monkey is in a state of calm and is unaware anything is a miss. Yellow signifies that it is in caution mode, it suspects something is up and will become more aware of its surroundings. Red means that the monkey knows Jimmy is there, and will try to flee or fight back.
The Freaky Monkey Five
In addition to the three hundred regular monkeys, there's a group of five boss monkeys known as the Freaky Monkey Five. They were given Vita-Z bananas by Specter, turning them into stronger, tougher, more intelligent foes.
- Blue Monkey - The first of the Freaky Monkey Five Jimmy comes across. He is mostly unremarkable compared to his other four counterparts, his only outstanding qualities being his enhanced speed and intelligence. He zips around on a unicycle, forcing Jimmy to use the Dash Hoop to keep up with him.
- Yellow Monkey - Yellow Monkey has a thing for the Vita-Z bananas, and after eating way more than he was supposed to grows to the size of a small sky scraper. Though he is very large, he is also very nimble, and the only way for Jimmy to defeat him is to wait for a rush attack then hit him with the Stun Club.
- Pink Monkey - She fancies herself a pop singer. When Jimmy first meets her she believes him to be an adoring fan and starts singing to him. However when Jimmy tries to capture her she freaks out and becomes Dark Pink Monkey, giving her many attacks such as laser beams, force fields, and flames.
- White Monkey - The most intelligent of the Freaky Monkey Five, White Monkey fights Jimmy with brains rather than brawn. He fights Jimmy be creating and controlling a robot version of him called Mecha Jimmy he built using data he obtained about the real Jimmy. Luckily, Mecha Jimmy has a major weak point that White Monkey failed to foresee.
- Red Monkey - The final member of the Freaky Monkey Five Jimmy faces, Red Monkey is also the strongest monkey in the game. He kidnaps Jimmy's tiny monkey companion who is eventually taken to Specter's moonbase. He uses a wide range of physical attacks, from martial arts and boxing, to stunning Jimmy with flatulence.
Ape Escape 2 contains twenty levels spread out across seven worlds.
- Liberty Island
- Breezy Village
- Port Calm
- Viva Apespania
- Castle Frightmare!
- Vita-Z Factory
- Casino City
- Ninja Hideout
- Snowball Mountain
- Lookout Valley
- The Blue Baboon
- Enter the Monkey
- Simian Citadel
- Pirate Isle
- Land of the Apes
- The Lost World
- Skyscraper City
- Code C.H.I.M.P.