Freeware Garden: ESC Ape

Comrade Ape is now free!

You’d think that creating a retro FPS in the vein of Wolfenstein seems like a simple thing to pull off, what with the power of today’s tools and all the game design experience of the past 20 years. Yet ESC Ape is one of the select few first-person shooters of this type worthy of your attention.

In ESC Ape you play as an ape who must escape, so, heh! And you get to shotgun-shoot humanoid lizards in a paranoid, ape-hating dystopia that fuses cute, 8-bit textures together with brutal violence. It’s straightforward with solid controls, sports some very well designed levels, and your journey through the maze-like levels of its three, themed worlds (Prison, Freezer and Hell?) is accompanied by jolly chiptunes and sneakily flanking enemies.

Nasty lizardy thing is now dead!

And, to cut what would have been a pointlessly long story short, I openly admit that though I haven’t managed to play a FPS for more than an hour in over ten years, this one was too silly and simple for me to put down. I even finished the thing.

14 Comments

  1. padger says:

    Is it weird how fetishized the Doom/Wolf look has become?

    • mukuste says:

      Nah. It’s iconic, much like Space Invaders or Tetris.

    • Kaeoschassis says:

      Doom and Wolf look totally different though?

      Both quite appealing in their own ways, though. I don’t see anything wrong with that.
      Regarding ESC Ape, sure, it looks fun, but can it stand up to Gun Godz?

    • Geebs says:

      I still feel like something was lost when everything went from nearest-neighbour sampling to filtered textures; for example there were some bits of detail in Quake 2’s software mode that lost their impact when it all got smoothed through the bilinear filter in the openGL version.

      (Then again, I am the only person ever to like quake 2’s single player, so what do I know?)

      (Also, play Marathon. It’s free and it’s amazing)

      • Kaeoschassis says:

        Are you me from the future? Sure could use some lottery numbers right about now~

        Seriously though, Quake 2’s sp was fantastic, every bit as fun as Doom in its own way. And Marathon, well, I’m doing another run through of the first one right now as it happens. Gameplay’s satisfying, battles are quick and surprisingly weighty, visual style has some seriously great touches despite a lot of dreary textures, and the plot, well… Every time Bungie have done AIs I’ve had a blast. Never played the first one back in the day – only Durandal, but now that it’s free there is absolutely no excuse not to.

      • epeternally says:

        I really dug Quake 2’s single player, it’s on the short list of games I’ve actually finished. Didn’t realize it was generally not well received. I mean, it certainly wasn’t as atmospheric as Quake 1, but the map design was damn good. I’ll be forever sad that we didn’t get Quake 3 as a single player game and, well, then Quake 4 sucked. A proper successor is needed, darn it!

      • Spacewalk says:

        I like Quake 2’s single player it is unofficially Doom 3.

  2. Jekhar says:

    Locomalito’s “8bit Killer” would be another fine example of the genre.

    • secretdoorinvisiblewall says:

      Indeed, as is Vlambeer’s Gun Godz, a personal favorite

  3. Contrafibularity says:

    I openly admit that though I haven’t managed to play a FPS for more than an hour in over ten years,

    Wow, really? No Portal, Amnesia, DXHR, S.T.A.L.K.E.R., HL2, VTM: Bloodlines, Antichamber, Oblivion, Skyrim, Fallout 3/NV, Far Cry 2 etc.? Seriously? Are you punishing yourself or something?

    Anyway this looks like a fun foray back into DOOM territory.

    • epeternally says:

      Portal, Amnesia, and Antichamber aren’t really first person shooters, they’re just first person games. And S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is, well, only fun if you hate yourself. But missing out on VTM:B and DX:HR really is a travesty.

      • SlimShanks says:

        “And S.T.A.L.K.E.R. is, well, only fun if you hate yourself. ”
        I challenge you to a duel. Soggy AK’s at dawn, in Pripyat. Assuming the muties don’t get you…

        • Kaeoschassis says:

          I’ll gladly be your second. Haven’t played Call of Pripyat, but both of the other two are amongst my favourite games of all time, fps or otherwise.
          And I certainly don’t hate myself.

    • Konstantinos Dimopoulos says:

      Well, thankfully I never considered Portal or Amnesia, let alone my beloved Bloodlines, to be first person shooters :) But I admit to deeply disliking Fallout 3 (still, definitely not a shooter) and never having touched Far Cry 2.