There has been a bit of a renaissance of adventure games in recent months. The Secret of Monkey Island has had a “HD Remix” and released on Xbox 360 & Playstation 3, and there has been a whole new game.
Recent new Monkey Island games have been a bit poor, Escape from Monkey Island was met with a lukewarm response, but there’s been a real expectation of this game – a lot of the original staff who have worked on the first two games are working on this game, or rather a game series.
Yes, this game for the Wii & PC is the latest in an episodic game series, where you buy each episode of the game. Telltale Games have made a number of these, based on popular franchises, and this has been the most eagily anticipated, so how does it fare?
First of all, games have changed since the earlier games, and you are dropped into a tutorial mode, and you are given a simple puzzle to complete. Hints are abundant as well. But the tutorial mode is crucial for the game, as it sets the story.
Guybrush, in the latest defeat of LeChuck, inadvertedly turned him human, and launched a horrible voodoo curse on the world of Monkey Island. It’s up to Guybrush to break this curse, defeat LeChuck & get back Elaine Marley. More on the story later.
This game has switched to 3D, which is understandable, but it isn’t perfect. The menu system is very usable (there’s one, it occupies the sidebar), but little things make it tricky to use. Take for example the opening scene, where you & LeChuck are on boats in a storm, the boats move down around so much, and the camera angles are a little odd, that you often click on the wrong thing, making it a bit frustrating. Also, the game automatically sets the subtitles to be off, which is fine, but the music & sound effects are also loud, so much so that the first puzzle where you’re made to think you can’t hear a crucial piece of information to help you solve a puzzle (the fact that the grog is flat). So before starting the game, turn the sound effects & music down, and switch on the subtitles. You’ll be glad you did.
I only played through the first episode on this game, so I don’t know how the controls compare with the rest of the game, but apart from the awkward beginning, it works. It’s simple, and the new way to walk around the map (drag Guybrush around) works. Control system is okay, but what on the rest of the game, namely the story?
One thing that was in the first two games, a little around in the third game, but nowhere in the fourth game was the humour. It’s back in this game. Classic in jokes are back, but cultural references are all new, and really humour wise it’s a clean Family Guy. The jokes are thick & fast, but you’re likely to miss one or two as the references go over your head. However, most of the jokes are genuinely funny, with witty dialogue, making the story advance.
As a story, the game is pretty good, with a few nice twists, but it’s simply a puzzle game, a classic game using objects for what they are not meant to be used for. The hints make it so that if you’re not familiar with the game, you can still enjoy the story.
There is great graphics & sound, that run okay on a fairly standard PC. It’s a new look, but it’s classic Monkey Island.