Tales of Monkey Island: Rise of a Pirate God Review

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After five long arduous months the struggles and troubles of Guybrush Threepwood (Mighty Pirate) come to an end with Episode Five – Rise of a Pirate God. The previous Tales have seen Guybrush battling pox pirates and partying inside a giant manatee, but this tale has the grandest backdrop yet, the pirate afterlife.

The pirate afterlife is a really compelling setting, from the off you’re greeted with some great gags; the grog vending machine that sells cherry grog, diet grog, grog 😄 and of course…grog; turnstiles, because even in death, life never loses it’s inconveniences. Telltale’s little details really help you become immersed in your surroundings, with the added humour of Threepwood of course. You find yourself at the crossroads of the pirate afterlife which leads to three separate areas – swordfight, thieves den and treasure hunt –  each one with its own situations and characters.

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The task set in front of you is to somehow get back into your body, stop LeChuck, save Elaine and possibly the whole world. Should be easy enough then. The first thing you have to do is find a way out of the afterlife, thankfully LeChuck has already proved this possible, so retracing his footsteps is the key. Through a means that I will not mention, you gain access to the world and get to meet up with some well-known places and faces from the previous tales. It’s nice to see the old familiar characters again and is a good way to tie the whole story together.

New characters also have their chance to shine and two really stand out – Caleb and the “friend” in the thieves den. Caleb, if that is his real name, is a strange little man who is there to give you advice and confuse you in equal measures. The nameless “friend” is someone I want to see more of, a sort-of-rasta pirate thief who loves to show off his impressive skills of thievery. Both these characters contain some great lines of dialogue and add some key refreshment to the gathering of returning characters. You also get a dog, although not as funny as the afore-mentioned characters, he is very handy in solving some cheeky puzzles.

Solving some of the problems in the later half of the game was great fun, switching between situations and combining items are something that TellTale and Monkey Island do very well. I wish I could tell you all the hilarious details but it would ruin it for you. Safe to say, I chuckled, you’ll chuckle, we’ll all chuckle. Especially with the…no, I can’t tell you. Only one puzzle had me really stumped to the point of asking for help.  There is nothing more frustrating than knowing what you have to do but not knowing how to do it. Sadly, point and click games are filled with moments like these and Tales has had its fair share. Maybe I’m just impatient, I’m sure a lot of people would have no trouble with the challenges.

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Frustrating puzzles aside, the story really does thunder along nicely, bringing out compelling twists and real heart warming situations. All the threads that have been laid have been sewn together in the last two Tales and completed in this last story. Few things really bothered me with Rise of a Pirate God – besides some frustrating puzzles – the only thing that really hindered my experience was the game crashing at one point and losing a chunk of progress. From this error I learned to save the game a lot more as the auto save is somewhat lacking. Nothing worse than having to rush through, what was enjoyable game play, just to get back to where you were.

So, Rise of a Pirate God wraps up what has been a brilliant series of games and a resurgence of a classic franchise. Tales not only pleased old school fans, but should have easily brought in legions of new fans with its pick up and play natire and expertly funny story. To quote the Treasure Hunter – “What’s wrong with a little colourful narrative?” – nothing at all, and I want more.

Hi-Score – Great End to the Story, Very Funny, Great Characters, Well…It’s Monkey Island!

Lo-Score – Lack of Autosaves, Some Puzzling Puzzles

Score – 8/10

Score Tissue page 23: Deus Ex: Squared


I’m sure we were all thinking the same thing when this news broke.
No, Just me then? Fine.

And for what it’s worth (and despite the cynical stupidity documented above),
Final Fantasy: Deus Ex would probably be my favourite game of all time…

But I suppose I’m willing to settle for a decent Deus Ex 3.

Score Tissue Page 22: Bordering

My Review of Borderlands: Borderlands is a 4 player co-op FPS Diablo set in Mad Max-land and it fecking great.
The end.

PS. It also has zombies in it if you buy the DLC,
which you should, as that is also fecking great.

And that is why I don’t write reviews.

Score Tissue page 21: Vacation Special 2


Why do all of  the most interesting and comic-worthy news stories emerge while I have no net access with which to read them? No doubt by the time I sit down to write next weeks comic, the only industry news to be found on all of the usual channels will be the same old boring PR regurgitation for whatever the sequel of the day is.

Not that I’m bitter or anything.

Score Tissue Page 20: Vacation Special Part 1

 

During a week with at least three AAA releases, what do I comic about?

My holiday preparations of course!
Unfortunately for humanity as a whole, the events depicted in the first three panels are presented exactly as they happened in real life.
My apologies to all involved.

I make no promises on the content of next weeks strip, as I will have to draw it while on vacation. It will be an exciting adventure for us all, I’m sure.

Score Tissue Page 19: Visionary

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Oh Activision…
Delightfully evil Activision.
What do you do when you’re faced with the usual pointless online petition Slactivism over the lack of dedicated servers for the PC version of Modern Warfare 2? You throw your head back , laugh and reel off a list of other features that PC gamers have enjoyed for decades that will not be in this game.

Oh Activision, your evil ways are beloved only by manufacturers of plastic instruments and web-cartoonists.

 

 

Evil or not, I’m still totally buying MW2 this weekend.

 

 

Tales of Monkey Island : The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood Review

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It’s that time of the month people, another Monkey Island game has washed up on our briny shores thanks to Telltale games. The series so far has been steadily improving with the last two outings being the best yet. Can Episode 4, The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood, continue this trend?

For the first half of the game, it does. The story picks up from Lair of the Leviathan with Guybrush Threepwood getting led back onto Flotsam Island by the back-stabbing pirate hunter, Morgan Le Flay. Threepwood is supposed to be handed across to the evil Marquis De Singe. Luckily however, Guybrush ends up getting arrested for his previous deeds and gets thrown into the, once closed, Flotsam Courthouse.

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The courthouse is not the only area you gain access to in chapter 4 as Club 41 is now fully open for you to explore, and hopefully not destroy this time. It’s nice to have a new setting to explore after having been on Flotsam Island for three games. The bar is full of character: amusing paintings, skull candles (Murray?), crocodile dartboard and of course, grog. At the head of this bar is Judge Grindstump, a great name and a great new character. Although he is a heartwarming, cheery barkeeper, he is an intimidating pox spewing judge.

Grindstump is holding four charges against you: ranging from literally scaring a cat stiff to burning a ladies leg with some hot nacho sauce. Proving your innocence leads you into some great situations. Some needing you to wander back and forth to find the correct selection of items, while others need a bit of good old lateral thinking. Solving these puzzles gives you a sense of satisfaction to go with your big grin, something that – in my opinion – Monkey Island has done, and continues to do, better than any other point-and-click game out there.

Sadly the enjoyment did begin to disappear in the second half of the game as the wander-around-aimlessly-with-indechipherable-map puzzle reared its ugly head again. Maybe it is just me, but I really struggle with these puzzles. After a few attempts to wander around in the correct way greet failure I end up looking up a guide in frustration. This one has been the worst yet as I had no idea where to start, I was literally ‘Grind’stumped.

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Besides the puzzles, the story also took a weird turn throwing up some strange turns that just did not sit well with me. It felt like TellTale rushed the story arc a little; I would have loved to have had an extra hour of gameplay to ease it in. Even thought the story felt a little forced, the dialogue was still excellent. The return of the ever arm flailing entrepeneur Stan was a nice surprise. Other returning characters, beside the residents of Flotsam, include a welcome return of Hardtack, now Bailiff Hardtack of the Flotsam Courthouse, one of my favourite characters from The Siege of Spinner Cay.

Bringing characters back from the previous Tales really helps to combine the separate chapters into one complete story. As funny as the previous Tales have been I have to say that this is possibly the best. Getting yourself out of the dock and proving your innocence had me chuckling throughout. Having done so many things right makes it even more annoying that The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood lacked the consistency of some of the other Tales. Even with these possible errors it is still a very good game that has set up a tantalising finale to the story.

Hi-Score – Brilliantly Funny, Great Characters, Clever Puzzles

Lo-Score – Weaker 2nd Half, Utterly frustrating Puzzle

Score – 8/10