Escape from Monkey Island – Great Gaming with Old-fashioned Storytelling

Escape from Monkey Island the fourth of a series of adventure games once exclusive to the PC, is now in the Playstation 2 platform. Those who follow the Monkey Island series will recognize the characters of Guybrush Threepwood and Elaine Marley; that star in this series. The plot of this latest installment picks up when Elaine and Guybrush return from their honeymoon to their hometown of Melee Island only to find the governor’s mansion is under siege by a contracted demolitions company. Elaine and Guybrush are officially declared dead and a mysterious foreign investor is buying up territory in the Caribbean by defeating mighty pirates in insult sword fighting and insult arm wrestling. Elaine sends Guybrush to stop the destruction of the mansion.

The graphics are beautiful. The 3D characters are fully polygonal set against gorgeous cartoon backgrounds. The style is well developed and the controls take a great leap forward via the Playstation’s 2 duel shock. Character movement is smooth with the analog stick, leaving the other buttons for action and inventory control. The landscapes are bright and colorful. The architecture differs from island to island.

The voice acting is perfect and the dialogue is very funny. The player will laugh out loud at the comebacks. The game, like most adventure games is full of puzzles, which are incredibly clever and fun too extraordinarily frustrating. The puzzles involve talking to the right people and pointing and clicking to the right response. The player gives the right items to the right people at the right places at the right times. I brought an official strategy guide and still had to go online to download a walkthrough to get through the game. The answers to the puzzles were absolutely impossible for all but the creator’s crazy demented mind. I must add here that some puzzles require you to write down what the characters say to be able to solve the puzzle. So have a pencil and paper handy. One puzzle in particular is a clever, twist on time travel. There is another which is a parody of the Mortal Kombat games, called Monkey Kombat.

The previous Monkey Island games have had insult sword fighting where you win by collecting insults and responses to use against your opponent. In Escape from Monkey Island, however you insult in monkey speak. The player uses combinations monkey syllables to change between fighting positions in a Mortal Kombat. The concept and animations, in the first fight or two are very cute until you realize that you have to do a lot of fighting to learn the moves you need to defeat your opponent. The worst part of this is the combinations change randomly from game to game, which means you have to learn each different combination and keep track of them once you learn them. It can get tiresome, but is still a lot of fun.

The sound didn’t always go so smoothly. Some of the lines occasionally sounded tinny rather than grand. The loading times are a bit long particularly when you mistakenly leave the place you were on a path on the map and try to return. But for the most part, this is an excellent translation to a PC game that fans or people new to the genre will enjoy playing. Those of you unfamiliar with the Monkey Island series inside jokes will still laugh and have a great time while playing the game. Monkey Island created by Lucas Arts, and published by Aspyr Media, is an off-beat, challenging adventure with great storytelling. A perfect rest from the ultra violent, special graphics video games; which rule the shelves. This game is rated T for Teens. Comic Mischief. Suggestive themes use of tobacco and alcohol.

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