Tales of Monkey Island - The Complete Series
OK, so the episode may have been released back in 2009 (the final episode was released in December) and the complete series has been available for ages from online retailers such as Steam and even the Telltale website. But for Australian gamers without an internet connection (are there actually any?) only recently has the game become an option with a boxed version hitting store shelves. The guys over at AFA interactive (the Australian distributor) were kind enough to send us a copy so that we could relive our Mighty Pirate experience once again.
For those of you who missed it, Tales of Monkey Island is the latest game in the Monkey Island series originally released back in the 1990’s. It is a point and click adventure game in the mould of other recent Telltale games such as the hilarious Sam and Max and indeed there are some wonderful similarities.
In Tales of Monkey Island, gamers once again assume the role of the Guybrush Threepwood, a man who is to piracy as Maxwell Smart was to spying in the television series Get Smart. He’s a lovable character who has all the right intentions but is somewhat clumsy in his approach to his chosen profession. And so it is the case with Tales of Monkey Island. The game starts off with Guybrush in pursuit of his arch nemesis, the demon pirate LeChuck in order to rescue his beloved wife, Elaine. Unfortunately, in typical Guybrush fashion, he completely mucks everything up and ends up not only infecting himself, but also releases the dreaded voodoo pox which could affect the whole Gulf of Melange. And during the battle with LeChuck, an explosion sends Guybrush flying to the almost desolate Flotsam Island.
Of course, being the gentlemanly pirate he is, Guybrush will attempt to set things right and be reunited with his beloved Elaine. It won’t be an easy task for Guybrush though, as he is now without any means of transportation off the island, and even if he did have a ship, the prevailing winds prevent anyone from leaving. And it is here that the main game begins.
The puzzles in Tales of Monkey Island are well thought out and are at just the right level for both experienced adventure gamers and newcomers alike. Sure, at time there can be some head-scratching about what is required to complete the next puzzle, but they’re never overly difficult so that they cause gamers complete frustration. Often they are typically Monkey Island style, adding two completely different inventory items together to create a new item. The game helps with the puzzles in that everything that has a hot-spot is an indicator that it involves a puzzle or needs to be picked up to be used in a puzzle later on in the game. It works really well so that you’re not doing pixel searches for that missing item.
But it’s not just simple puzzle solving that you’ll encounter in Tales of Monkey Island. There’s a courtroom drama, there’s the old monkey island classic, insult sword-fighting and there is a game of Pirate Face-Off, which works rather like insult sword fighting but requires Guybrush to make the ugliest face he can. These extra mini-games are certainly a heap of fun and add some extra hilarity into the game.
Not that it needs it though, because as is the case with previous Monkey island games, there are some hilarious things that happen when the hapless Guybrush Threepwood is around. But it is not just the story that keeps you giggling to yourself, but the dialogue is superbly written with some Monkey Island in-jokes as well as jokes from pop culture.
Along his journey to right his previous damage, Guybrush meets a host of new characters as well as some of the classic Monkey Island favourites. Of course, there is LeChuck (in various forms), Stan the used boat salesman (in various new professions) and Murray the talking skull. All are voices superbly befitting their characters. But it is some of the new characters that steal the show for much of the game. The Marquis De Singe - a crazy French doctor, Morgan Le Flay – a pirate bounty hunter who idolises Guybrush, and Bugeye – a pirate who scares people with his Face-Off skills are but a few of the new characters that provide a few laughs and story plots.
Visually, Tales of Monkey Island is a colourful cartoonish experience we’ve come to love about the recent Telltale games. The locations are vibrant (apart from the final episode that is decidedly darker) and varied enough to keep the game interesting. The fact that there isn’t a heap of travelling to and fro from locations also means that you won’t get bored of them. The colourful nature of the graphics set an upbeat tone for the game that is matched only by the music. The lively Caribbean tunes are enjoyable to listen to and really set the scene. The voice acting (as touched on previously) is outstanding and certainly helps the witty dialogue be even more humorous.
So, if you’re a fan of the original series and haven’t gotten around to playing Tales of Monkey Island yet, then you’re certainly missing out on an enjoyable time. Now that the disc version is available on store shelves, you’ll be crazy not to pick it up.
For a full run-down on each episode, visit our original reviews...
Episode 1 – The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal
Episode 2 – The Siege of Spinner Cay
Episode 3 – Lair of the Leviathan
Episode 4 – The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood
Episode 5 – Rise of the Pirate God