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Players control Solid Snake as he is sent on a mission by Roy Campbell to capture a group of monkeys causing mayhem in the jungle. All the stages are set in locations from the main Snake Eater campaign and Snake's own character model is the same one used for Naked Snake in the beginning of Operation Snake Eater, but permanently equipped with the Banana camouflage. The minigame was designed for players of all ages and thus, Snake only uses a "Monkey Shaker" (a renamed EZ Gun) and stun grenades to immobilize the apes. Completing this minigame will unlock items for the main campaign.
The minigame originally consisted of five stages in the North American and Japanese versions of Snake Eater, but the later European version added two exclusive stages. These exclusive stages were later included in every version of Subsistence, which contained the minigame in the second disc. The minigame was absent in The Essential Collection due to the omission of Subsistence's second disc, and was later omitted in the multiplatform HD Edition and Snake Eater 3D releases due to Ape Escape being a Sony property.
Spike and Jimmy (Kakeru and Hikaru), after being released for summer vacation from school, decides to daydream their vacation away. Despite this, however, the apes have once again escaped, this time into the jungle. The Professor then requests Roy Campbell's assistance after declaring a state of emergency. Campbell decides that he knew the man needed: Solid Snake is, ironically, dragged out of a vacation by Campbell at around 2:00 AM to head into the jungle. He isn't too happy about it, although Campbell explains that they need Snake. Snake then asks why they chose him. He makes it clear that he will not accept a mission that involved taking down Metal Gears, or rescuing VIPs or some old man.
Campbell states that the mission isn't anything like that. Snake mentions that he'd think about taking the mission if it involves "some hot damsel in distress." Campbell reveals that, while it's not a damsel in distress, it is a rescue mission... involving apes, or rather, monkeys. Snake is shocked at the nature of the mission, constantly asking if Campbell did actually say "monkeys." Campbell is quick to explain that they aren't ordinary monkeys, and that Snake needs to infiltrate the jungle and capture all the monkeys as his mission. Snake then mentions that monkeys aren't really his thing, and that the Colonel should have contacted Spike or Jimmy about the mission if monkeys were the mission.
Campbell explains that neither Spike nor Jimmy were available, causing Snake to remind him that he was dragged out of his vacation for this in exasperation. Campbell then stats that they need him, as no one else would do it. Snake tries to explain that there are other sneaking experts who can participate in a sneaking mission, like Gabe or Sam. Campbell reminds Snake that he is the one who turned the leaf every time in the genre. Campbell then admits that he asked Snake to do the job as a request from the professor (Natalie's grandfather) himself. When Snake asks if he was the one who invented the Monkey Helmet, Campbell reveals that was actually his classmate from high school who invented it. He also explains that he is Otacon's friend, and in fact it was because of the Professor that Otacon came up with several of his inventions.
Snake begrudgingly accepts the mission, and mentions that while he isn't against catching monkeys, he'll "rather be collecting pants." Campbell then explains that the monkeys fled into the jungle, and he needs to knock them out for capture; after collecting all of the monkeys, his mission will be complete. He also advises Snake to shout out the password once he captures a monkey.
- Escape from the Jungle
- Dragnet of the Apes
- Dawn of the Apes
- Ape Fear
- Gone with the Apes
- Return of the Living Apes
- The Apes of Wrath
- Monkey Mask- Weighs 0.1 KG: The mask has the distinct appearance of the apes in Ape Escape. Naked Snake can acquire a Monkey Mask in the main campaign of Metal Gear Solid 3 by having Solid Snake complete all of the Snake vs. Monkey missions. Surprisingly, the Monkey Mask does not affect the camo index whatsoever. However, it makes aiming and observing the surrounding environment in first person view nearly impossible. Using the Monkey Mask is therefore unadvised. It does have a use in the battle with The Boss, confusing her for a few seconds. Unlike the Banana camouflage, however, it did not make a return in either the HD Edition or Snake Eater 3D.
- Banana Camouflage - Get the high score in every level in Snake vs. Monkey. Makes every item eaten taste good, however, is not good for stealth. Unlike the Monkey mask, it does make a return in Snake Eater 3D, although the method of unlocking it is different. It is absent in the HD Edition.
References to other works
In addition to mentioning Spike, Jimmy, the Professor, and Natalie from the Ape Escape series, Snake also references Samuel "Sam" Fisher from the Splinter Cell series and Gabriel "Gabe" Logan from the Syphon Filter series.
The names of the stages are parodies of various movie titles, at least two of which also partially reference the Planet of the Apes film and novel series:
- "Escape from the Jungle" is a reference to Escape from New York, which was also an inspiration for the Metal Gear series.
- "Dragnet of the Apes" is a reference to the detective series Dragnet, as well as the Planet of the Apes series.
- "Dawn of the Apes" is a reference of Dawn of the Dead and the Planet of the Apes. Ironically, nearly a decade after the release of Subsistence, one of the reboot films for the latter franchise was called Dawn of the Planet of the Apes.
- "Ape Fear" referring to Cape Fear.
- "Gone with the Apes" is a reference to Gone with the Wind.
- "Return of the Living Apes" is a reference to Return of the Living Dead
- "The Apes of Wrath" is a reference to The Grapes of Wrath, as well as the title of a Looney Tunes short starring Bugs Bunny. In addition, the Nintendo Power manual for Star Fox 64 originally claimed that The Apes of Wrath was the favorite book of the character Andrew Oikonny.