Monday, 4 October 2010

Blast From the Past: Monkey Island Special Edition

I was very pleased to see that LucasArts have decided to release special editions of their first and second Monkey Island adventure game series on Steam. For those who don't know what I'm talking about, the award winning Monkey Island series follows the journeys and trials of one oddly named Guybrush Threepwood, a thoroughly unrespected 'mighty pirate' who is constantly tormented by the ghost/zombie/demon/whatever pirate LeChuck, largely because Guybrush has somehow managed to pull the unattainable Elaine Marley at some point and LeChuck just happens to be infatuated with her love triangle blah blah blah backstory sorted.

Using a point and click interface you help Guybrush solve all the puzzles and appropriately chat up all the right people in the right ways to help out Mr. Threepwood overcome whatever predicament he's got himself into whether it be escaping prison, chartering a ship or winning a spitting contest (yep) it is up to you to figure it all out. The puzzles are usually very satisfying and rarely resort to some backwards moon logic that only the developers understood when coding it.

On top of all that, the Special Edition offers the chance to ditch the pixellated environments of all and play the facelifted version of the game with enhanced graphics as well as fully voicing the game's dialogue, which is very well done. It all looks and sounds very nice and fans of the old game will appreciate the changes.

Bad points: The audio commentary, as enjoyable as it is, gives away spoilers so first time players may or may not want to listen to them at key moments in the game such as the Stan's Coffin Shop to name one of many giveaways. The point and click interface is all screwed up and far too awkward to use, especially in Monkey 1. I don't see why they couldn't have just kept all the actions at the bottom of the screen like usual instead of making me use either my mouse scroll wheel or pressing bloody SHIFT every two minutes. Also, they couldn't be arsed to add in any extra puzzles. What a cop out.

Not that there is any shortage of puzzles, Monkey Island 2 will take you around 5 hours to finish if you don't resort to guides and such like and the whole package is very good value for money so if you want to try out an adventure game, or want to revisit one of the best in the business. I heartily reccommend downloading this one. I only say this because I have yet to play Day of the Tentacle and I am embarrassed by this fact.

Verdict: 4/5: Solid adventuring package, but no new gameplay.

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