The Apes are mercenary soldiers in service of the Dark Master, Malefor, in The Legend of Spyro series. According to Ignitus, because of said services, they were also dubbed as the 'Dark Armies'. Strangely, although they are known as apes, they actually bear a resemblance to mandrills and baboons.
They have a different fur color depending on their location, but they are functionally still the same.
- In the Swamp, their fur color is darkish gray in A New Beginning, and bluish gray in The Eternal Night.
- On Dante's Freezer, their fur color is vanilla white.
- On Tall Plains, their fur color is red.
- In Munitions Forge, their fur color is gold.
- In Concurrent Skies, their fur color is pure white.
- In the Mountain of Malefor, their fur color is darkish lavender, which appears to be their main fur color.
The Apes have ranks in their army, but the Ape King, Gaul, rules the Apes of all ranks. When Cynder was under the influence of Malefor, she served as the general for the Apes. Among Gaul's forces is another Ape called the Assassin. He wears a mask like his underlings who pilot the Dreadwings or man the elemental cannons, but his voice is thick and heavy through his mask, muffling his words whenever he speaks. It is possible that he is Gaul's second in command.
- Gaul (King)
- Cynder (General, formerly)
- Assassin/Advisor (Gaul's possible second-in-command)
- Conductor (Possible chief of security as well as head distributor)
The Ape army consists of soldiers, leaders and commanders, etc., each with their own different attack methods.
- Ape Soldiers
- Ape Leaders
- Ape Commanders
- Disciples (DS version of A New Beginning)
- Ape Gunners
- Ape Cannons
Additional Forces of the Apes
The Apes have recruited numbers of different varieties of beasts to support their brutal causes. They mainly mount on the bat-like Dreadwings for aerial transport or assaults. On the ground, they rely on gigantic creatures resembling scorpions (appearing only in A New Beginning) and snails. Two varieties of Death Hounds also serve as the Apes' attack dogs but, along with the snails, only appear in The Eternal Night.
- Buffalo Beetles
- Death Hounds
- Snail Riders
- Electric King (Cynder's personal bodyguard)
Service to the Dark Master
After Malefor was cast out of the Dragon Realms, he built an army of Apes and taught them how to artificially harness the power of the Gems, the Dragons' life force. It was then that the Apes served as the perfect army for the Dark Master (for the time being). The ruler and king of the Apes was Gaul, a loyal servant of the Malefor. The duties of his army were to fight wars against the Dragons, win battles in order to gain ground, and occupy the Dragon Realms. Years afterwards, Malefor was defeated by unknown means, and his essence was sealed in Convexity and his spirit in the very mountain he created, the Well of Souls. Despite this setback, the Apes were still able to carry out Malefor's orders.
Attack on the Dragon Temple
Under Malefor's orders, Gaul led the raid on the Dragon Temple to destroy the dragon eggs in order to prevent the birth of the next purple dragon, but Spyro's egg was saved by Ignitus. Malefor also needed a dragon who was born on the Year of the Dragon to open the portal in Convexity that served as his prison, and Cynder's egg was captured while the other dragon eggs were smashed by the Apes. Cynder would later be poisoned by the Dark Master's powers, turning her into an evil dark dragon to help him spread destruction throughout the world and becoming a general to the Apes.
The Apes first appeared in this game when a group of Swamp Apes captured Sparx as means of using him as a lantern. Spyro killed the Apes and freed Sparx, but the Ape Leader escaped to alert Cynder of the young dragon. After leaving his home to find out who he truly was, Spyro was chased by Apes in the Swamp. They later appeared, having overruned the Dragon Temple, but Spyro, along with Ignitus, wiped them all out.
From that point on, the Apes would become the main enemy Spyro would encounter throughout his travels. They appeared in Dante's Freezer, Tall Plains, Munitions Forge and finally Cynder's Lair. There is one particular Ape in Munitions Forge called the Conductor, who drives a steam engine called Steam.
Apes appeared in the second part of the trilogy on several occasions, but you do not fight them primarily. Notably, they are much less comedic and more terrifying than in the first game, losing the stereotypical monkey screams and gaining instead deep grunts and roars (like that of gorillas). They first appeared when they launched an all-out attack on the Dragon Temple led by an Ape called the Assassin, but Spyro and the Guardians foiled their plans. They were mentioned when a letter from Hunter of Avalar explained that the Ape King, Gaul, has placed a bounty on all of the dragons, including Spyro. The Apes appeared again after attacking Fellmuth Arena, capturing Cynder in the process, and they appeared lastly in the end, on the Mountain of Malefor.
In Dawn of the Dragon, the cheetah hermit in the Valley of Avalar revealed that the shadowy skeletons that attacked Spyro and Cynder are the Apes. According to him, they only served Malefor because they wanted to use his power in their vengeance against the dragon race, and they showed no true loyalty to the dark purple dragon. For those reasons, Malefor repaid the Apes for their services by turning them into Shadow Apes upon his return to the Realms. They appear as skeletons covered in mist-like shadows; mere ghosts of their former selves and are no longer the main minions of Malefor. The Apes are doomed to dwell in the darkness until Spyro and Cynder find and defeat them. The Grublins have taken their place in the battle, leaving the Shadow Apes to attack stragglers from the shadows.
- It is unknown if the Apes have changed back to their original forms during the beginning of the new age.