The NES was no stranger to odd game concepts and designs. Many of these games never left Japan, while others never saw the light of day. So when I heard about Bio Force Ape, a canceled game in which you play a genetically altered pet chimpanzee who must rescue his human family from an army of mutants using a repertoire of pro wrestling moves, I didn't think it sounded all that unorthodox.
Thanks the Internet, prototypes of several unreleased games have been unearthed and dumped for digital preservation. In the case of Bio Force Ape, a string of hoaxes over the years has granted the game a somewhat legendary status. Yesterday, Lost Levels announced that they had finally discovered a copy and were releasing the ROM online. Naturally, I was extremely skeptical, and that this news arrived on April Fools' Day certainly didn't help.
Lo and behold, the ROM actually runs on an emulator. If this were some fan-created hoax, it's one of the more elaborate ones I've seen. Hit the jump for my early impressions.
Hoax or not, this game is pretty badass. Immediately after hitting start, you find the ape on a rooftop locked in battle against some sumo mofo. Before he can make a move, he gets knocked off and falls about a hundred stories before landing flat on his stomach. Without even catching his breath, he gets to his feet and squares off against a bee man.
Aside from being complete nuts, Bio Force Ape sports the most fluid animations I've ever seen on NES hardware. If this game had never been canceled, I guarantee it would have become one the console's great cult classics.
If you want to check out the game for yourself, download the ROM from the Lost Levels link above or watch the playthrough below.