Thursday, September 3, 2009

Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal Review

Tales of Monkey Island, as some of you may know, is a re-boot of the classic monkey island franchise. Like most adventure games today, it's episodic, and it's made by Telltale Games, who have pretty much dominated the adventure game market recently, and have a handful of staff that used to work at Lucasarts.

I played the game on PC, however it's also available for download in the Wii. As always, you play as Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate™, and yes, they use that trademark symbol jokingly in the subtitles yet again. You start off aboard your ship and have to solve a puzzle to try and save Elaine. After that's finished, you're presented with a nice looking title screen, accompanied by the classic Monkey Island theme we all know and love. Then you end up on Flotsom Island, an island that has it's winds blowing inward, so no ships can leave from it, meaning you're stuck there. You spend the game trying to find your way off of Flotsom, and get into many various pirate acts.

The story in the game is fairly good, but the game really benefits from it's characters. Over the course of the game, you'll meet up with a local reporter that you try and impress with your pirate acts, a pirate glassblower who blows glass unicorns, a crazed doctor who wants to cut off your hand, and many others. These characters are all appropriately voice acted, and are fairly over-the-top. Not to mention, the facial expressions on both Guybrush and the other characters are simply FANTASTIC, and really add a lot of life to the game.

The only bad thing I can say about the game is it's controls. Instead of having standard point and click controls, they either let you walk around using the mouse, by clicking and holding in a direction, or you can walk around using WASD. Both methods aren't particularly good, however I did get used to moving around with WASD after a while.

The game will take you about 2 hours to beat if you don't get stuck, and don't skip past the dialogue, Which I find is a good length for an episodic game. I did manage to get stuck a couple times, however this was just due to me over-thinking what I was supposed to do. Some of the puzzles take a stretch of the imagination, while others are pretty simplistic.

Overall, Tales of Monkey Island stays faithful to the franchise, and is funny enough on it's own, without relying on references of past games for it's jokes. It's a genuinely great adventure game, and worth checking out if you like pirates, or adventure games, or if you just want to play a funny game.

I give Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal a 4 out of 5

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