Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 3 - Lair of the Leviathan Review

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Tales of Monkey Island Publisher: LucasArts / Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games


Platforms: PC and Wii
Reviewed on PC

Windows System Requirements: 2 GHz Processor, 512 MB RAM, DirectX 9.0c compatible video card with 64 MB VRAM, internet connection, Windows XP or more recent operating system

At the conclusion of Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 2 - The Siege of Spinner Cay, Guybrush Threepwood ("Mighty Pirate") was swallowed by an enormous manatee while fending off his would-be assassin, the pirate hunter Morgan LeFlay. As his incarceration in the belly of the beast stands to prevent Threepwood from acquiring a special sponge that will enable him to cure the Caribbean of a Voodoo Pox, Threepwood must escape from the Leviathan (otherwise known as a very big manatee) with his ship and crew intact.

Rating:
Kyle Ackerman


Since the very first episode of the new Tales of Monkey Island, Launch of the Screaming Narwhal, Telltale games has been paying plenty of fan service to the classic Monkey Island adventure games. But despite an almost fan-boyish enthusiasm, Telltale's episodic adventures decidedly have their own flavor and flair.

Having now made it through three episodes of the planned five-episode story arc, I can say with certainty that the season is worth the $35 season ticket price. I can also say that it feels like a pale echo of the classic adventure games I remember so fondly. That's because Tales of Monkey Island is its own beast that pleasantly happens to share characters with the original Monkey Island games.

Nothing emphasizes the Telltale character of these games more than Lair of the Leviathan's puzzles. Rather than the classic adventure game conundrums that require mixing seemingly incompatible inventory items, Lair of the Leviathan emphasizes answering a series of questions correctly or performing actions in a particular order. These work fine as puzzles, but I found it a little anticlimactic that these puzzles seemed like failure should be positively catastrophic until I failed and got to keep trying until I succeeded. It felt a little silly to be dangled off a precipice, and then when I answered incorrectly, be given another try.

What really won me over, though, was that this episode finally reintroduced piratical duels. The Telltale team seems determined to avoid insult sword fighting, but this episode introduces pirate "face-offs" in which pirates claim victory by making the most piratical "ARRRR!" face. That alone was worth the episode, even more so than the return of fan-favorite Murray from the original Monkey Island games.

The production values for the series continue to be strong, and the jokes are either hysterical or groan-worthy, but wholly appropriate. Fans of the original Monkey Island games simply need to dump their preconceptions and sit down to enjoy a new game that takes advantage of familiar faces and farces.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on September 29, 2009 12:01 AM.

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