Posts Tagged ‘ Monkey Island ’

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 XD 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

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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

Tales of Monkey Island : Lair of the Leviathan

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Telltale games have succeeded in bringing Monkey Island back from the murky depths with the first two games in their five part series, the Tales of Monkey Island. Lair of the Leviathan looks to continue the story of the hapless yet surprisingly successful, Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate, and his quest to recover the Esponja Grande and rid the Caribbean of the deadly Pox.

If you have played the previous Tales then you will know of the predicament Guybrush finds himself in and an interesting predicament it is.You find yourself shipwrecked in the stomach of a giant manatee and surprisingly you are not alone. In fact the very gentlemen you are looking for, Coronoda Decava, has set up camp in the beasts mouth. Unknown to him, his crew of which he thought dead are living it up in the belly of the beast. They have formed a club called the Democratically United Brotherhood of the Manatee Interior. You of course have to weasel your way into the club in typical Threepwood fashion.

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Washed up with you is your very amusing firstmate Mr. Winslow and Morgan Leflay, Pirate Hunter. The first two games introduced the characters that are just now beginning to show their true potential. Plot lines are getting cast and intertwined that show a lot of promise for the last two tales. The new faces in this tale are interesting enough but are completely overshadowed by the return of a fan favourite, you can call him Bob but to everyone else he is known as Murray!

Murray is my favourite character from the Monkey Island games as I am sure he is to a lot of other fans and his inclusion made the second half of the game a complete treat to play. The conversations between him and Guybrush are excellent as is the dialogue with every character, its what you expect from a Monkey island game. You know your guaranteed a sarcastic line with every click of your mouse.

The area to explore is much smaller than the previous games but this does not hurt it as much as I would have thought. Its nice to get away from the jungles and see a different art direction. From bile filled bongo drums to pools of scrummy Ichor the designers have really made the most of the setting. The graphics, while not being jaw droppingly amazing are really solid with some great facial animation. Sometimes the controls let the game down as the arrow keys are not accurate enough and Guybrush ends up shuffling up against the side. This can be slightly annoying but it’s not enough to hurt the game. It makes you wonder why they have left the tried and tested point and click controls.

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The different setting has given Telltale the opportunity to create some really unique little puzzles. Thankfully they have removed the frustrating jungle maze puzzles that the last two games featured. Only one challenge near the end of the game had me frustrated but that was overturned with laughter when I worked out how to do it. The pirate face off game was one of the most genuinely funny things I have done in a game in a very long time. I even intentionally failed just so I could go through it again and see what else I could create.

You really get the feeling that Telltale are finding their sealegs with this series. The puzzles are getting tighter, characters are developing along nicely and some of the annoying things from the first two games are non existent. If you have not played any of the previous tales then get yourself over to Telltale’s website and buy them because their only going to get better. Broad grins and the odd chuckle AAARRRRR! guaranteed.

Hi-Score – Brilliant script, Clever challenges, Best in the series, Return of Murray!

Lo-Score – First half of game is a little weaker, It ends…

Score – 9 out of 10

Tales of Monkey island, The Siege of Spinner Cay

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Telltale games have struck gold again with the second installment in the Tales of Monkey Island series, The Siege of Spinner Cay. I did not play the first game but I picked up the story quickly. In the first title, The Screaming Narwhal, you had to rescue your wife, Elaine, from the hand of the dread pirate LeChuck. From what I can gather you got rid of LeChuck’s voodoo curse which in result infected all the other pirates with the voodoo pox. The pox not only makes the pirates look rather mouldy but also more bloodthirsty and unreasonable like LeChuck was.

Guybrush’s left hand has a little pox filled life of its own but that does not last for long as its lopped off by the aptly named Morgan LeFlay, pirate hunter. After dispatching her and finding a handy hook replacement you find yourself on the Jerkbait islands where most of the game takes place. The islands are the home to the Mer people, also known as the Vaycalian’s. This is where you find the other plot line in the game. Your wife Elaine if here along with the pox filled pirate McGillicutty. You have to find 3 golden artifacts that are hidden around the islands. These artifacts will help find the Esponja Grande, which is a big sponge to soak up the voodoo curse, genius. The only problem is McGillicutty who already has one of the artifacts and wants the rest. With the help of the post pox pirate LeChuck you have to work out a way to find the rest.

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The challenges are some of the best I have played in any game. Only one had me stumped but the solution was right in front of me. I think if I was playing this without a review deadline I would have completed it with ease. Most of them could be solved with some typical Threepwood logic. I think it’s best to leave your landlubber logic on the side and think like a mighty pirate…ARRR! It’s a good feeling when you solve a puzzle as you get a new witty line and a cutscene to laugh at. This is as rewarding as hearing the bleep bloop of a Xbox achievement. When you are stuck, Guybrush will shout out hints like “I need to find more things to plunder” which fitted seamlessly with the gameplay.

To get your hands on the artifacts you have to explore and search for items. With these items you will solve puzzles much like any other point and click adventure game. But monkey island always brings its own touch to the game with a brilliant script and excellent voice actors. I had a constant smile on my face playing this game and laughed out loud at more than one point. This is key in a game that has you talking to a lot of different characters and some more than once. Every character you come across in the game is genuinely funny and interesting. My personal favorites were two of Mcgillicutty’s pirates, Trenchfoot and hardtack. You have to outwit them to get one of the artifacts and some of the dialogue that ensues is hilarious. My favorite being “Look, a distraction!”

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Looks wise its as charming and colourful as any other monkey island game. All the characters have great facial animations especially Guybrush. The raised eyebrow and cocky smirk just oozes sarcasm. This is what attracts me to the monkey island games. Their wit and charm is the best I have come across in any game. I already want to play the game over and over just to meet the characters again.

The only problem I have with this game is having to wait for the next episode. Like Defmash mentioned in his review of Launch of The Screaming Narwhal the ending can make you feel a bit gutted. Cliffhangers are great but this game is so addictive that you just want to keep playing it. I think I’m going to go visit Steam and spend far too much money on Monkey Island games. I want to meet Murray again!

Hi-Score – Hilarious Script, Loveable Characters, Challenging Puzzles

Lo-Score – Short length, cliffhanger ending leaves you wanting more

Score – 9 out of 10