by William Thompson
reviewed on PC
When we last left Guybrush...
The second instalment of this Monkey Island series starts off by giving an account of the events of the first episode. Just in case you need a recap, Guybrush was infected with the dreaded Pox of LeChuck when he attempted to destroy LeChuck with his voodoo cursed sword. He was then marooned on Flotsam Island without his ship. He was then able to seize the Screaming Narwhal off Captain Winslow, but still needed to work out how to adjust the winds of Flotsam Island from continually blowing inwards.
If you were able to complete Episode One, Guybrush would have been sailing towards the Rock of Gelato (why do I suddenly feel like ice cream?) in search of his beloved Elaine, when he was suddenly attacked by a mysterious woman. And this is where chapter two begins.
We find out that the mysterious woman is none other than the pirate hunter Morgan LeFlay, and she has Guybrush in deep trouble. A sword fight ensues, which results in Guybrush losing his infected hand in typical pirate fashion. Morgan then leaves to collect the bounty for Guybrush’s hand (which we later find out to be from the Marquis de Singe – the crazy French doctor from the first episode), leaving Guybrush and Winslow to continue their adventure.
Another Guybrush misadventure
The crew of the Screaming Narwhal (Guybrush and Winslow) arrive at Jerkbait Island in search of a cure for the increasingly infectious Pox of LeChuck. The only known cure seems to be the mysterious La Esponja Grande, a giant voodoo sucking sponge – and it is this that Guybrush is in search of. To do so, he needs the help of the merfolk of Jerkbait Island. Indeed, apart from the different pirate faces, the main addition to the character list in this episode is that of the Merfolk.
There seems to be quite a bit of flirting taking place during the episode, with Elaine seemingly taking a liking to the new and improved human LeChuck. Guybrush too, seems to be attracting the affection of the opposite sex. The female mermaids at Jerkbait Island seem to think Guybrush is some sort of a catch. The pirate hunter Morgan LeFlay, despite cutting off his hand, seems also to be infatuated with Guybrush. I’m not sure where the writers are going to take these character interactions, so we’ll have to wait and see in the upcoming episodes.
“If you didn’t want pirates rummaging through your trousers, you should have said so”
What I do know though is that the writers continue to keep the jokes coming. Again, as was the case with episode one, the jokes are the type that will get you smiling even if they don’t get you bursting out laughing. There are definitely some quotes that got me laughing out loud though. The two pirates who are looking after the buried treasure certainly come out with some great ones.
But it’s not just the quotes that will keep gamers smiling. The references to pop culture such as Clint Eastwood, potato chips (crisps) and re-worded literary titles such as A City of Two Tails make the time fly by as you play. The stereotypical pirate references such as Guybrush and his newly acquired hook also keep the pace of the story flowing.
The only real let-down in the game (which was one of the gripes of the first instalment) is the constant travelling between locations. Walking and sailing around, especially when you’re not quite sure where you’re supposed to be heading can be a bit tedious. Sailing is made slightly better by the fact that you just need to select the required location on the map. There are even some in-game jokes that relate to the map and the destination. The puzzles though aren’t overly difficult and shouldn’t be too much trouble for experienced adventure gamers. The story is linear though, so one puzzle basically needs to be completed before the next stage of the story begins.
Bright and colourful
Visually, the game is bright and colourful. The locations are varied, although each of the islands look similar. The jungle setting of the main island (Spoon Isle) also looks similar to the jungle on Flotsam Island (from the first episode), but even so, looks great. The characters too, look impressive with the addition of the new characters, particularly Morgan LeFlay. The story cut-scenes are also impressive and help to fill out the back-story.
On the audio front, the game isn’t quite at the same level as The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal. The voice acting is again superb and amusing, but the music is not quite as upbeat. Indeed while on the Jerkbait Island, the music is more reminiscent of one of those music boxes with the dancing ballerinas inside.
Overall, the second chapter continues on the great start of the first. The story is continuing to develop nicely whilst the inclusion of the new (as well as the recurring) characters keep the game heading in a promising direction. The puzzles are set at about the right difficulty even if there seems to be a bit too much walking between locations. Even so, the episode shouldn’t take more than a few hours to get through. The jokes too, keep coming which certainly makes the game more enjoyable. I am looking forward to the next instalment and to finding out if Guybrush can find the cure for the Pox of LeChuck.
The humour and the story continue in a promising fashion
Too much travelling from one location to another