By Aaron Hillis
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You'll also like the humor mixed with touches of mild satire. The object of the game is to stop the evil monkey Specter from dumbing down all the world's TV shows. One character, Natalie, says, "These shows are so stupid that anyone watching becomes a mindless couch potato." OK, TV's already mindless and stupid (with the exception of 24 and Lost), but these shows are even more inane than The Invention Channel. Throughout the game you'll deal with a show that's kind of a reality wedding and even a Titanic-based show.
You'll be armed with a vast array of gadgets to help you capture your prey, everything from propellers to make you fly to a cowboy gizmo that allows you to shoot your net. You'll have to watch out for nasty robotic toys and animals who are out to get you. (I destroyed a sly fox after he stole my net in an early level, but it wasn't easy. I still feel scarred.) Since the monkeys get smarter and more evasive as you progress, you'll need your wits, and a morphing ability that will temporarily increase your strength and powers. One of the powers, which I dubbed the Outkast morph, allows you to turn your foes into crazy, dancing fools.
But, like those TV infomercial hucksters say, there's more. You'll discover a mall which lets you purchase music (some of which is terrific: There's a ditty that includes a lot of yodeling that's hilarious). Heck, at one store, you can even make your own monkey videos. As you move from level to level, you'll unlock various minigames. You'll locate an area that gives you your monkey horoscope and fortune. It's not just fun for the entire family: If we got some of our politicians in Washington to sit down for a game of Ape Escape 3, I bet there would be a lot more camaraderie . . . and fewer Alito-type Supreme Court confirmations.
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