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The Tone of Monkey Island - My Review and Suggestions for Future Episodes

posted by sladerlmc77 on - last edited - Viewed by 3.1K users

I melted the edge of my credit-card by whipping it out so quickly when tales of Monkey Island was first announced. Never before had I so willingly given a developer my money, and it was with great anticipation that I awaited the release date.

To prepare for the release, I re-read Treasure Island, Return to Treasure Island, Silver, and On Stranger Tides. I also rewatched the POTC movies, listened to the Monkey Island Soundtracks, and replayed Curse of Monkey Island.

Full Disclosure of Reviewer Bias:

I rate the original games, from worst to best, as follows -

Escape from Monkey Island - This bizarre entry in the series dropped the semi-serious nature of the storylines from the original games for full-on satire and social commentary. With a maddening interface, continuity botches (that were supposed to fix other continuity issues), and the most annoying minigame ever, this entry illustrated what NOT to do with the Monkey Island Franchise.

The Secret of Monkey Island - A classic that introduced the endearing characters of the Monkey Island Universe. With clever scripting, humorous dialogue, catchy themes and memorable characters, this game could have stood alone through the ages - thankfully, the developers had more up their sleeve.

The Curse of Monkey Island - A revolution in the Monkey Island Series, this game introduced painterly landscapes and characters, perfect voice casting and music, clever puzzles, and continuity fixes. Succesfully maintained the tricky balance between humor and dark undertones that existed in the previous entry.

LeChuck's Revenge: Monkey Island 2 - The gold standard. This game successfully evolved the series, giving much greater depth to the characters and their conflicts. Each of the existing characters had aged and moved on from their "Secret" origins, and technical enhancements changed the nature of how we listened to our games. The soundtrack was endlesslyl hummable, the puzzles devilishly sadistic, and the spooky/haunting undertones pervaded the entire game. The ending generated endless controversy, fueling speculation and discussions about the meaning of it all for years.

So how does Tales of Monkey Island: The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal hold up?

Story

The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal uses a plot device as old as the hills to start off the action - starting at the end of the previous adventure. We're in familiar territory - Guybrush is about to foil the latest voodoo plot hatched
by the evil Poxed-Pirate LeChuck, and in typical Threepwood-fashion botches it.

The introductory sequence serves as a capable tutorial, introducing us to the new Telltale Interface and walking us through a few simple puzzles, before cutting to the opening credits, Monkey Island theme, and washing up on Flotsam Island, where the remainder of the game takes place.

The player is immediately given a number of tasks, and is rarely left standing around wondering what to do. Stuck? You've usually got something else to try.

In this regard, Narwhal is scripted tightly enough to allow the player to determine what order to tackle their challenges, and the story remains internally consistent.

Dialogue options might occasionally cause you to crack a smile, but few lines are laugh-out-loud funny. (Notable exception - "You've got spunk in you, kid! Pirate Spunk!" "Ew!")

Earlier games in the series seemed to offer more choice, and greater potential for silly or spooky options. Hopefully, more dialogue options will be available in future episodes.

The puzzles can be deviously tricky, but never felt cruel or unfair. (The one exception might be the Marquis De Singe/Messed up Idol puzzle, but it seems I had more trouble with this one than other folks.) While the map puzzles may feel a tad repetitive, this reminded me of old-school adventure gaming and didn't really bother me. All-in-all, solid effort in puzzle work.

Script - 2/2
Dialogue - 1/2
Puzzles - 2/2

Average: 1.6


Art Direction

The art direction REALLY shines in the introduction to the game, with a beautiful spooky storm, rain, and lighting effects. Character models are superb, and the environment gave off the perfect Monkey Island Vibe.

Unfortunately, this took a hit once we arrived at Flotsam Island. The brooding atmosphere is lost and replaced with a sunny locale. This can certainly work on a tropical island, but the 3d environments and characters when brightly lit, look plastic-y. This ends up evoking memories of Escape from Monkey Island.

Main characters are beautifully rendered. Guybrush calls back to his "LeChucks Revenge" wardrobe, LeChuck is the devil incarnate, Elaine and the Voodoo Lady are gorgeous, and the Marquis De Singe (a character I was skeptical about) fairly reeks with personality.

Unfortunately, lesser characters are standard Telltale NPC's - Mr Potato Head models with fairly generic traits. Their names are easily forgotten as soon as their purpose in the story is exhausted.

Characters -
Main - 2/2
Secondary - 1/2

Environments - 1/2

Average: .66



Sound

The music of Narwhal has the familiar Monkey Island themes going on, but felt strangely derivative of the original themes. While the old standbys are good, I couldn't help feeling that the original music didn't feel...erm...original. Hopefully later episodes will have more standout themes that I can whistle in the shower.

The voice work in the game was excellent, thanks for the welcome return of Dominic Armato. Other voice actors also filled their roles well, particularly the actor providing the voice of the Marquis De Singe.

Sample quality could have been improved, but overall this game stands up well.

Music - 1/2
Voices - 2/2

Average: .75


Technical

The game was unfortunately marred by a few technical issues. The new interface (necessary to navigate the 3d interface), while serviceable, was not a joy to work with. The "click-and-drag" mouse option was difficult to use, and the keyboard option is not particularly friendly. A true "click-to-move" option such as the old Monkey Island games or the more recent Sam and Max games would be a welcome addition, "Cinematic-Display" be damned.

Also, a number of users (myself included) ran into technical issues with the display either upon startup or after resuming the game after making settings changes.

Fortunately, Telltale support was able to find a solution to my problem within 20 minutes of submittingthe ticket. Kudos to the Telltale Support staff!

Interface 0/2

Issues 1/2 (with 2 indicating no problems)

Average: .25



Judgement, Overall (NOT an overall Average): 1.4/2 (or 70%)



What worked Best:

The introduction had exactly the right tone.

Please give us more night scenes! Monkey works best when it's dark and spooky.

The puzzles were definitely Monkey Island, and I'd love to see more brain-teasers like the "Ninja Doll" puzzle and the "Cheese Wheel" puzzle.

Despite my skepticism, the Marquis De Singe was a show-stealer - give us more memorable characters like this!

I can't even begin to describe how much I loved the Flotsam Island Map - the zoom-out is a beautiful touch!

Inventory combination also worked great. Thanks for bringing this back!

General Advice to Telltale:

The story is serviceable to start with, but needs to ground itself more in "pirate reality." Monkey Island works when it's a serious pirate story with bizzare anachronisms (like Grog Machines).

It's harder to buy into when the spooky/voodoo atmosphere is lost, or when pirates don't feel especially piratey. (For examples of GOOD Pirates, see Mancomb Seepgood, Esteban, or Largo LaGrande. Bad examples include Ignatius Cheese, Davey Newspaperman, or Crimpdigit.)

The art direction seems solid, but could stand to have more
memorable "Lesser" characters. For an example of how to do this right, look at ANY character from LeChucks Revenge or Curse of Monkey Island. You could look at any of the background characters and know that they had a piratey backstory. Pirate Glassblowers are hard to take seriously.

The interface needs serious work - at no point did I enjoy guiding Guybrush through the TOMI world - with the exception of the map screen, which was point-and-click.

Greater Dialogue Choice/Snappier Lines will make future episodes more memorable.

What was Missed:

Memorable Background Characters. (Men of Low Moral Fiber, REAL Pirates in Bars)

"Meanwhile" scenes...(seeing developments going on elsewhere keep the idea of LeChuck front-and-center, and build anticipation of a future confrontation)

Whistlable Music - paying homage to the past is great, and all of the themes that need to be there were...unfortunately, the music called back a bit *too* much to previous tracks. I'd like to see something new.

Conclusion:

Screaming Narwhal is a fun diversion, but doesn't quite stand up to Sam and Max Season2, where all cylinders were firing.

If anything, the episode suffers most from being the "First Episode."

The greatest thing that could benefit future episodes is an examination of the "Tone" of the first 3 monkey island games.

In this episode, I feel like Telltale was aiming for a combination of "LeChucks Revenge" and "Curse", but instead achieved a combination of "Secret" and "Escape."

Still, a fun ride that leaves me anticipating more!

319 Comments - Linear Discussion: Classic Style
  • Great review, and I too agree that Monkey Island works best when it is a "serious pirate adventure with an humourous twist".

  • totally agree with you ... but, anyway ... a little less critics about the interface and controls (I'm also using a pad and xPadder and I solved all my minor unconvincements about hybrid controls) ... we want REAL pirates and not comical-parody of a pirate ... we want a real EVIL lechuck and NOT a lechuck trying to act bad but resulting to be a parody of the lechuck he used to be in M1 and M2. And we want nighty islands, like melee and scabb, vodoo-darken-messed and dirty pirate towns with dangerous alleys, scumming bars and map sellers ... just the feeling, not the real thing.

    Anyway, if in following chapters we get to have some of THIS feeling I'm talking about and some little "alone in the jungle of Monkey Island" feeling, I'll be TOTALLY happy with ToMI having in it "a little of this and a little of that" from other monkey chapters.

    Good Work ;)

  • Nice review. You've got some valid points there. I just don't see what's wrong with steering with WASD - it was perfect for me once I figured out that it's in the game.

    And since this is sort of a review of your review I'd say that if you want people to read what you have to say, don't use any kind of numerical rating in it. The posts above should make that clear ;)

  • Howdy, and thank you all for replying to this thread. My real goal with this post was to try and foster some discussion about the episode itself, and to try and determine what it is about the Monkey Island series that makes it so special.

    While I was playing this episode, I found myself really analyzing the original game, and thinking about the things that I thought worked and didn't work in the series. There's a special kind of chemistry that takes place when Monkey Island is working, but it's a fine line to walk...and you can feel it when it doesn't.

    I think a few people may've taken my review as negative, and that wasn't at all my intention. I thought that Narwahl was a good introduction, but also felt that it made some of the same mistakes (in my opinion) that Escape from Monkey Island (in particular) did when trying to reinterpret the story.

    In the interest of stirring debate, I'd like to reply to some of your posts and see if we can really hash out what makes the perfect Monkey Island Atmosphere for the community.

    Secret Fawful:

    [quote] For me both options on the interface worked extremely well, were very relaxing, and I found myself using both off and on. Sorry, but some of your points are way off and up to personal preference. [/quote]

    I'm glad that the interface worked well for you. I had two major complaints about the interface.

    The first was that the "click and drag" option didn't give me the precise control that I wanted. It's usefulness seemed to vary depending on the position of Guybrush in the scene, and I noticed that many times when initiating the click to take control, Guybrush would reorient himself to a new facing - which destroyed the immersion.

    In frustration, I would navigate with the arrow keys - this control felt MUCH better, as I had the fine control I wanted...but I often felt that the camera defeated my efforts, obscuring part of the scenery that I wanted to see.

    Both instances ended up pulling me out of the game itself and forced me to think about the interface. A good interface (in my opinion) should get out of the way and not draw attention to itself.

    [quote] The music was fine; you just have to know how to set the game up properly to balance it all out [/quote]

    This is not the case at all. On initial installation, I did feel that the music and sound effects overpowered the dialogue, so the first thing I did was enter the options menu to balance out music, sound effects, and speech.

    Don't get me wrong...I'm not saying the music was bad. I thought the compositions and intrument selection was fine, and was very happy to see a return to the Imuse-style music switching.

    My complaint was that the music sounded as though it had been cribbed from earlier episodes in the series. The music didn't strike me as original so much as derivative of what had come before. What new music did exist didn't stick with me...if I had to try and hum any of the new stuff, I'd be hard pressed to remember the melody. Contrast that with Woodtick or Plunder Island, and you'll hopefully see what I was getting at.

    [quote] And the environments were beautiful and lively! Telltale did a great job on them; the plastic look adds to the style; it doesn't DETRACT.[/quote]

    This is probably just going to come down to a difference of opinion. Also, I do want to clarify - I'm not saying the environmental work was bad. In fact, I loved the design of the courthouse and the laboratory of the Marquis De Singe! What I was trying to explain was that in the bright lighting of Flotsam, the artificial elements are more easily noticeable. I did NOT see this problem during the introductory sequence, during the storm - the rain effects and darker color palette complemented the characters and the environment perfectly, and was probably my favorite "artwork" section of the game.

    You can argue that the plastic look is a stylistic choice - I would guess only the developers could comment on that - but to me, this made the landscape in the brightly lit environments feel less painterly, and more artificial, and drew me a *bit* out of the experience.

    [quote] Give me a break. Next thing you'll be remarking how the physics on the objects in CMI were so unrealistic the game was ruined.[/quote]

    Not at all...remember, I'm commenting on TONE more than anything here - and you seem to be inferring that I'm trying to pick on the episode. The truth is, I had a really great time with Narwhal, I just think that later episodes could use some small improvements to more fully attain the Monkey Island style.

    feverfew:

    [quote] I've had the same complaints, mostly. The music tends to fall flat; I was especially disappointed with Flotsam map theme, which starts great, but dissolves into nothingness after 20 seconds. Background characters were bland, to say the least; I missed the likes of Palido Domingo and the Barbershop quartet. [/quote]

    I think you hit the nail on the head with Palido and the Barbershop Quartet. In previous Monkey Island games, secondary characters (and background characters) were instantly memorable - they each had a unique design (as opposed to generic Leonard Steakcharmer models with moustaches and different clothes), and they all felt like real pirates with particular quirks.

    Contrast this with the secondary characters in Narwhal (such as Davey or Crimpdigit) and you have characters that serve their purpose in the story...but they're forgotten as soon as they're out of scene.

    Note that this ISN'T a problem with main characters! Guybrush, Elaine, LeChuck, the Voodoo Lady, and the Marquis De Singe were all handled perfectly! When time is given to give the characters depth, they really shine! Every character, whether main or secondary, should be treated the same way.

    One problem that I think Narwhal and Escape both suffer from is the idea that ALL of the Pirates in this universe are wannabes, just like Guybrush.

    In The Secret of Monkey Island, I believed that Mancomb Seepgood, Esteban, and the Important-Looking-Pirates in the Next Room were all bloodthirsty buccaneers...they might have been scared off of the seas by LeChuck, and cowering in the bar drinking grog, but I never doubted for a second that if LeChuck was taken care of, they'll all hop back onto their ships and start murdering, theiving, and drinking as good pirates should.

    Contrast that with Davey and the Crimpdigit - One is a newspaper guy, one makes glass unicorns - and they're each "pirates." The pirate thing feels like a sideline.

    Part of what made Guybrush so charming is that he's out of his depth. HE is a wannabe, everybody else is a real pirate. If EVERYBODY has the same schtick, Guybrush loses some of his charm.

    lparcshinoda:

    [quote] ... a little less critics about the interface and controls (I'm also using a pad and xPadder and I solved all my minor unconvincements about hybrid controls) ..."[/quote]

    and...

    Megaloman:

    [quote]I just don't see what's wrong with steering with WASD - it was perfect for me once I figured out that it's in the game.[/quote]

    Apparently the interface bothered me more than some other folks. I'm willing to concede the point, as controls come up to personal preference more than anything else. My main problem was that the interface felt like it was working against me, rather than with me.

    Finally...my OWN take on the "Secret"...

    I've always felt that the end of LeChucks Revenge *almost* tells us the truth, but most people feel there are only two explanations - either LeChuck and Guybrush are brothers trapped in a carnival, and this has all been in Guybrush's imagination, or LeChuck was almost defeated by Guybrush and LeChuck quickly cursed him in the Carnival of the Damned to escape and wreak havoc another day.

    My take is that it's all a dream...sort of.

    I think Monkey Island is what happens when a writer becomes obsessed with a story, and something happens to him.

    Imagine (if you will) an author who has been obsessed with pirate stories from a young age. Maybe he took a ride on Pirates at the Caribbean as a child, and that sparked his imagination.

    As an adult, he's struggling to be published. He has a strained relationship with his brother...maybe they both like the same girl.

    He's struggling to get a historical novel published on the golden age of piracy...when tragedy strikes. He's in a car accident. Maybe he gets hit in the head with an oar. (Remember falling from the tree in MI2?)

    Whatever the case, he's in a coma, and his mind is fractured.

    Memories of his childhood swirl around with the real legends of the pirates, and his own reality is created as his mind tries to mend itself.

    One of the developers themselves recently stated that in HIS mind, nothing in the Monkey Island games existed until Guybrush arrived. Essentially, it's all there because he NEEDS it to be there.

    This also provides an explanation for the anachronisms in the games...the carnival, the grog machine, Used-Ship Salesmen, etc.

    These anachronisms are his fractured mind trying to claw its way back to reality...the author very nearly reached consciousness at the end of LeChucks Revenge, but a relapse plunges him back into his coma, which his subconscious explains away as a "Curse."

    Granted, this is just my OWN explanation...but I think it explains for ME why the weird tone of "semi-serious piracy with flashes of modern anachronism and humor" WORK. The anachronisms have to be RARE, and the story has to be SERIOUS with FLASHES of absurdity and humor.

    Push it too far, and it starts to break down into reality, and you lose the voodoo/spooky underpinnings.

    Here's to hoping the author never wakes up. (How's that for a morbid thought?)


    Lorn

  • jeez talking about people taking games extremely seriously.. I play it and like it or not.. If I like the game good if I don't I just won't touch it. The scoring just doesn't seem to apply much to my tastes. I know low rated games which I actually enjoyed and high rated games which I didn't. It's all a matter of preferences. Next to that, while it's helpful sometimes to read reviews they're all based on personal preference.

  • @sladerlmc77 said: I melted the edge of my credit-card by whipping it out so quickly when tales of Monkey Island was first announced. Never before had I so willingly given a developer my money, and it was with great anticipation that I awaited the release date.

    To prepare for the release, I re-read Treasure Island, Return to Treasure Island, Silver, and On Stranger Tides. I also rewatched the POTC movies, listened to the Monkey Island Soundtracks, and replayed Curse of Monkey Island.

    Full Disclosure of Reviewer Bias:

    I rate the original games, from worst to best, as follows -

    Escape from Monkey Island - This bizarre entry in the series dropped the semi-serious nature of the storylines from the original games for full-on satire and social commentary. With a maddening interface, continuity botches (that were supposed to fix other continuity issues), and the most annoying minigame ever, this entry illustrated what NOT to do with the Monkey Island Franchise.

    The Secret of Monkey Island - A classic that introduced the endearing characters of the Monkey Island Universe. With clever scripting, humorous dialogue, catchy themes and memorable characters, this game could have stood alone through the ages - thankfully, the developers had more up their sleeve.

    The Curse of Monkey Island - A revolution in the Monkey Island Series, this game introduced painterly landscapes and characters, perfect voice casting and music, clever puzzles, and continuity fixes. Succesfully maintained the tricky balance between humor and dark undertones that existed in the previous entry.

    LeChuck's Revenge: Monkey Island 2 - The gold standard. This game successfully evolved the series, giving much greater depth to the characters and their conflicts. Each of the existing characters had aged and moved on from their "Secret" origins, and technical enhancements changed the nature of how we listened to our games. The soundtrack was endlesslyl hummable, the puzzles devilishly sadistic, and the spooky/haunting undertones pervaded the entire game. The ending generated endless controversy, fueling speculation and discussions about the meaning of it all for years.

    So how does Tales of Monkey Island: The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal hold up?

    Story

    The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal uses a plot device as old as the hills to start off the action - starting at the end of the previous adventure. We're in familiar territory - Guybrush is about to foil the latest voodoo plot hatched
    by the evil Poxed-Pirate LeChuck, and in typical Threepwood-fashion botches it.

    The introductory sequence serves as a capable tutorial, introducing us to the new Telltale Interface and walking us through a few simple puzzles, before cutting to the opening credits, Monkey Island theme, and washing up on Flotsam Island, where the remainder of the game takes place.

    The player is immediately given a number of tasks, and is rarely left standing around wondering what to do. Stuck? You've usually got something else to try.

    In this regard, Narwhal is scripted tightly enough to allow the player to determine what order to tackle their challenges, and the story remains internally consistent.

    Dialogue options might occasionally cause you to crack a smile, but few lines are laugh-out-loud funny. (Notable exception - "You've got spunk in you, kid! Pirate Spunk!" "Ew!")

    Earlier games in the series seemed to offer more choice, and greater potential for silly or spooky options. Hopefully, more dialogue options will be available in future episodes.

    The puzzles can be deviously tricky, but never felt cruel or unfair. (The one exception might be the Marquis De Singe/Messed up Idol puzzle, but it seems I had more trouble with this one than other folks.) While the map puzzles may feel a tad repetitive, this reminded me of old-school adventure gaming and didn't really bother me. All-in-all, solid effort in puzzle work.

    Script - 2/2
    Dialogue - 1/2
    Puzzles - 2/2

    Average: 1.6


    Art Direction

    The art direction REALLY shines in the introduction to the game, with a beautiful spooky storm, rain, and lighting effects. Character models are superb, and the environment gave off the perfect Monkey Island Vibe.

    Unfortunately, this took a hit once we arrived at Flotsam Island. The brooding atmosphere is lost and replaced with a sunny locale. This can certainly work on a tropical island, but the 3d environments and characters when brightly lit, look plastic-y. This ends up evoking memories of Escape from Monkey Island.

    Main characters are beautifully rendered. Guybrush calls back to his "LeChucks Revenge" wardrobe, LeChuck is the devil incarnate, Elaine and the Voodoo Lady are gorgeous, and the Marquis De Singe (a character I was skeptical about) fairly reeks with personality.

    Unfortunately, lesser characters are standard Telltale NPC's - Mr Potato Head models with fairly generic traits. Their names are easily forgotten as soon as their purpose in the story is exhausted.

    Characters -
    Main - 2/2
    Secondary - 1/2

    Environments - 1/2

    Average: .66



    Sound

    The music of Narwhal has the familiar Monkey Island themes going on, but felt strangely derivative of the original themes. While the old standbys are good, I couldn't help feeling that the original music didn't feel...erm...original. Hopefully later episodes will have more standout themes that I can whistle in the shower.

    The voice work in the game was excellent, thanks for the welcome return of Dominic Armato. Other voice actors also filled their roles well, particularly the actor providing the voice of the Marquis De Singe.

    Sample quality could have been improved, but overall this game stands up well.

    Music - 1/2
    Voices - 2/2

    Average: .75


    Technical

    The game was unfortunately marred by a few technical issues. The new interface (necessary to navigate the 3d interface), while serviceable, was not a joy to work with. The "click-and-drag" mouse option was difficult to use, and the keyboard option is not particularly friendly. A true "click-to-move" option such as the old Monkey Island games or the more recent Sam and Max games would be a welcome addition, "Cinematic-Display" be damned.

    Also, a number of users (myself included) ran into technical issues with the display either upon startup or after resuming the game after making settings changes.

    Fortunately, Telltale support was able to find a solution to my problem within 20 minutes of submittingthe ticket. Kudos to the Telltale Support staff!

    Interface 0/2

    Issues 1/2 (with 2 indicating no problems)

    Average: .25



    Judgement, Overall (NOT an overall Average): 1.4/2 (or 70%)



    What worked Best:

    The introduction had exactly the right tone.

    Please give us more night scenes! Monkey works best when it's dark and spooky.

    The puzzles were definitely Monkey Island, and I'd love to see more brain-teasers like the "Ninja Doll" puzzle and the "Cheese Wheel" puzzle.

    Despite my skepticism, the Marquis De Singe was a show-stealer - give us more memorable characters like this!

    I can't even begin to describe how much I loved the Flotsam Island Map - the zoom-out is a beautiful touch!

    Inventory combination also worked great. Thanks for bringing this back!

    General Advice to Telltale:

    The story is serviceable to start with, but needs to ground itself more in "pirate reality." Monkey Island works when it's a serious pirate story with bizzare anachronisms (like Grog Machines).

    It's harder to buy into when the spooky/voodoo atmosphere is lost, or when pirates don't feel especially piratey. (For examples of GOOD Pirates, see Mancomb Seepgood, Esteban, or Largo LaGrande. Bad examples include Ignatius Cheese, Davey Newspaperman, or Crimpdigit.)

    The art direction seems solid, but could stand to have more
    memorable "Lesser" characters. For an example of how to do this right, look at ANY character from LeChucks Revenge or Curse of Monkey Island. You could look at any of the background characters and know that they had a piratey backstory. Pirate Glassblowers are hard to take seriously.

    The interface needs serious work - at no point did I enjoy guiding Guybrush through the TOMI world - with the exception of the map screen, which was point-and-click.

    Greater Dialogue Choice/Snappier Lines will make future episodes more memorable.

    What was Missed:

    Memorable Background Characters. (Men of Low Moral Fiber, REAL Pirates in Bars)

    "Meanwhile" scenes...(seeing developments going on elsewhere keep the idea of LeChuck front-and-center, and build anticipation of a future confrontation)

    Whistlable Music - paying homage to the past is great, and all of the themes that need to be there were...unfortunately, the music called back a bit *too* much to previous tracks. I'd like to see something new.

    Conclusion:

    Screaming Narwhal is a fun diversion, but doesn't quite stand up to Sam and Max Season2, where all cylinders were firing.

    If anything, the episode suffers most from being the "First Episode."

    The greatest thing that could benefit future episodes is an examination of the "Tone" of the first 3 monkey island games.

    In this episode, I feel like Telltale was aiming for a combination of "LeChucks Revenge" and "Curse", but instead achieved a combination of "Secret" and "Escape."

    Still, a fun ride that leaves me anticipating more!

    Why would anybody write so much text for those minor flaws????!?!?

  • hey sladerlmc77 i like your theory of the ending of MI2. It really logical your explanation of the anahronism.

  • [quote]jeez talking about people taking games extremely seriously...[/quote]

    I take writing and design very seriously, yes.

    [quote]I play it and like it or not.. If I like the game good if I don't I just won't touch it. [/quote]

    Yep...what I'm trying to get to the core of is WHY do you like (or conversely, not like) the Monkey Island games?

    MOST fans would seem to agree that the first 3 games are great, while the fourth lost "something" (although there's a wealth of arguments about what that something was, or what order the games should ultimately be ranked in.) (Apologies to those who saw "Escape as a classic)

    What I'm trying to get the community to discuss is...why did you love these games in the first place? What was it about them that hooked you into a magical place? What voodoo was it that drew you in?

    Understanding what that unique combination of factors was is the first step in recreating it.

    [quote]It's all a matter of preferences. Next to that, while it's helpful sometimes to read reviews they're all based on personal preference.[/quote]

    Yes, but that's not to say that everything is subjective, either. If you dismiss every contrary opinion without discussion, what's the point of discussing things in the first place?

    I'm not really trying to spark argument here, or say that I'm right and everybody is wrong. What I really want to do is foster debate - and find out, what makes a Monkey Island game GREAT instead of GOOD - to the community as a whole?


    Lorn

  • (pirate glassblowers what were they thinking).....any way moving on very good review i totaly agree with all the points made.

  • Lorn,

    I must thank you for the review as I couldn't help but simply nod in agreement! Some of the points simply explained what I already felt but didn't realize why I felt that way,that is until you put it in such a lucid way.

    I think what your review (or rather, criticism, taken in its finest meaning of the word) shows is that Tales got most of things right and that it would take just a few little tweaks to make the experience that much better. The points I would like to re-emphasize are the following:

    Guybrush should be an out-of-depth character. While this is a cliche in many adventure games (see Leisure Suit Larry, Space quest), it has never been done as well as in Monkey Island and, for that proper monkey feel, I think this should be maintained. There is a possible exception to this, though, depending on which way the story turns. The ending of Ep. 1 suggests that Guybrush and LeChuck might have a sort of a role reversal in the future, and in such a scenario it makes perfect sense that Guybrush is actually an accomplished pirate. I'll reserve my judgement on this topic until later.

    Support characters need to be more piratey. The pirates of Flotsam are just too "soft". One can not imagine them having any pirate history. If they were just a bit more fleshed out in terms of their past or connections, then they would be much more believable. It is just a matter of adding a few more dialogue choices to make them a bit more fleshed out.

    I hope that Telltales read your original post as that is probably one of the best constructive criticisms I read on just about any topic, ever.

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