Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 4 - The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood 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

Guybrush Threepwood is in a bit of a pickle. His minor crimes from way back in Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 1 - Launch of the Screaming Narwhal have come back to haunt him. To avoid execution, Threepwood will have to master piratical law and destroy the credibility of every charge laid out against him. The penalty for each and every one of those crimes is death, but Threepwood must prevail to be reunited with his wife and cure her of LeChuck's Voodoo Pox.

Kyle Ackerman

Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 4 - The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood takes Threepwood to a new chapter in his career, just as the game reaches the fourth of its five-chapter story arc. To defend himself in pirate court, Threepwood must become more than "Guybrush Threepwood: Mighty Pirate" – he must graduate to "Guybrush Threepwood: Mighty Pirate-At-Law."

This latest episode returns Threepwood to Flotsam Isle, where he is put on trial (with a certainty of execution) for his adventure-game-style crimes from the first episode. He must answer for counterfeiting a Porcelain Power Pirate, for the deleterious effects of the bar-fight he instigated in Club 41, and for infecting the entire Caribbean with LeChuck's Voodoo Pox, among other crimes. His crimes may have been necessary evils to pass beyond previous adventure-game puzzles, but they have, apparently, launched a whole new set of puzzles.

The game revisits the dock-side and jungle locales of the first episode, although much of the early adventure takes place in the new court-room location. At least players get to see the inside of Club 41. Unfortunately, The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood feels like it is heavily recycling Launch of the Screaming Narwhal. The characters and plot elements and locations of Episode 1 are all heavily featured in Episode 4. The difference is that this time, everything is extremely dark – so much so that it can be hard to tell where to click at times.

The puzzles are suitably complex and will pose a challenge to adventure gamers (making them difficult for casual gamers). Personally, I found the bar-room brawl unintuitive, and it's easy to see how the map manipulations and sponge-activation puzzles might irk some gamers. There are some irritations – Stan's arm's have to flail wildly, but it's still really distracting, and the voice actress behind the Voodoo Lady can't do a different enough voice for a certain boatswain, making part of the courtroom trial distractingly dissonant.

Honestly, while it's still easy to claim that the series is a decent deal at $35, those purchasing individual episodes might be ready to give The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood a miss. Certainly, it's easier to recommend on the basis of the challenging puzzles rather than the story line. Personally, much of the story of this episode felt like a placeholder, marking time until the pox is cured and LeChuck shows his true face at the end, leaving us with a huge cliffhanger concerning Threepwood's livelihood (and life). Those purchasing individual episodes might just want to play the first three and read up on what happens in the final moments of Episode 4.

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This page contains a single entry by Editor published on December 6, 2009 9:39 PM.

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