This discussion may contain spoilers!
Before I post my own review, I think TellTale Games deserves a big "THANK YOU" for bringing back this classic adventure game! Now, onto the review...
First of all, I thought that the menu interface and menu animations were very nicely done. I certainly enjoyed swooping through the jungle trees in order to enter the wonderful adventure-world of Monkey Island. I thought this was both fun and very effective. Also, the little story synopsis underneath each of the saved games was a nice detail as well. On a technical note, I was also glad to see the support for a wide variety of resolutions (especially 1440x900, which is what I'm currently running).
During the Prologue I noticed the cinematic approach of the game right away. At times, the foreground being out of focus seemed a little distracting and strange (the monkey hands sticking out from the grate in front of LeChuck on his boat), but the overall focus manipulation really enhanced the game more than it hurt it. I also noticed the use of extreme close-ups on characters during intense moments of dialogue, but I had to wonder, how come this type of shot is never used when someone has a red-eyed "pox-outburst?"
I believe that the graphics were a strong point—I found myself noticing all the wonderful details in textures through the whole game. I do have a few objections, graphically speaking: the fire animations didn't seem very "realistic" (even for a cartoon-like world), and many of the supporting characters appeared a little too similar to each other. All of the locations were brilliantly designed, although I did feel a little cheated that I never get to enter any of the buildings on Flotsam Island (except for the Marquis' lab). But I do think this game has a great direction in terms of artistic style. Guybrush's expressions are hilarious!
The music was fantastic; I loved it! It did seem to be competing with the dialogue at times (for example, trying to catch what Elaine says after Guybrush boards LeChuck's boat). Since I couldn't decide which I loved more (the music or the dialogue), I cheated and turned on the subtitles instead of adjusting the volume. By the way, it was terrific to hear Guybrush and Elaine again! It was like hearing from a friend you haven't seen for a long, long time. I was disappointed to find that neither Murray nor Stan make appearances in this chapter (despite minor references), but I'm confident that they'll show up later. I was, however, pleasantly surprised to discover (though I can't believe I didn't seen it coming...) that "Deep Gut" was the Voodoo Lady !
The new control system seemed strange at first, but by the end of the chapter I felt pretty comfortable using my laptop's trackpad to navigate Guybrush through the game (I didn't bother much with using the WASD/arrow keys). I still prefer the classic "point and click" to the new "click and drag," but I'm willing to adjust. I can see benefits to this style for the console players. Related to gameplay, in the Prologue, I found that selecting characters/items on Guybrush's boat while it was moving from waves and being attacked by LeChuck to be a little challenging and therefore a little annoying. I know that puzzles are meant to be challenging, but I don't think that selecting items or characters to complete them should be. The surprise at the end of the Prologue made it all worth it though: HUMAN LECHUCK?! Gasp! :eek:
I really believe this game fits in nicely with the Monkey Island series, especially because you've managed to include so many of the elements that make the Monkey Island franchise great (humorous dialogue trees, inventory combinations, map puzzles, etc.). Events like getting lost in the jungle and the final "boss" sequence were delightfully reminiscent of those original games. But I will have to admit, some puzzles were a little more enjoyable than others. Realizing what to do with the cheese wheel was perhaps the most satisfying puzzle to solve, while the final puzzle (how to stop Guybrush's voodoo hand) seemed both unnecessary to move the story-line forward and in the end, unsatisfying to solve. I would've much rather preferred the story to jump right into the ending sequence, which by the way, has me very excited to find out who the mysterious swordsman is! (Or is it swordswoman?)
Overall, this was a great, great game, and I can't give the crew at TellTale Games high enough compliments for bringing life to the Monkey Island series. Congratulations on a terrific first chapter!