Newest Review: ... didn't take me long at all to get the 3rd Monkey Island, the Curse of Monkey Island. By this point im sure my boyfriend was regretting in... more
Is it a really evil-looking doorstop?
Curse of Monkey Island (PC)
Member Name: Archimedes
Curse of Monkey Island (PC)
Date: 27/07/01, updated on 27/07/01 (393 review reads)
Advantages: Lovely Disney style graphics, not a strain on the old hard drive, nice DVD-style packaging, humorous and not afraid to mock itself
Disadvantages: Some of the puzzles are a little too obtuse, can be too linear at times, maybe a few too many in-jokes for followers of the series to be completely amusing to newcomers
Once in a while a game comes out that, whilst still being a game, can take a step back, look at itself and realise that games aren’t just about ultra-realistic simulations, picture perfect graphics and serious plotlines. The Curse of Monkey Island is one of those games, and I love it.
Humour is the vital element of the Monkey Island quartet, and this is certainly prevalent in this title. One good example of this in the options screen, which features a button reading ‘Enable 3D acceleration’. Great, I’m sure my computer can handle it, and I’d certainly appreciate the opportunity to see Monkey Island in 3D. So I, like the gullible fool that I am, clicked it. Up pops a little sign reading ‘We were only kidding’. The game is full of neat little touches such as this, including many ‘in-jokes’ mocking its creators and publishers, as well as the Monkey Island games that have gone before it. Sometimes you have to wonder whether a few too many of these have been put, although it’s certainly no problem for me, having played and adored Monkey Island from Amiga to PC!
The characters of the game play a large part in making the game the success it is. Rather than Johnny X, who takes on the world with a six-pack and a bazooka, or Sarah Y, who takes on the world with a tight top and a string of sexual noises, we have a hero who isn’t mighty, isn’t sexy and certainly hasn’t got a great pair of breasts. Instead we have Guybrush Threepwood, who has starred in all of the Monkey Island games to date. He’s the muscle-restricted pirate with a sharp wit and a big mouth, who runs screaming from danger, yet manages to get himself killed on a regular basis. He’s backed by a cast of quirky characters ranging from Murray the disembodied skull who aspires to evil and all that that entails, to Lemonhead, the civilised cannibal who berates the way in which tourism has ruined their quaint lit
tle village. Several old faces make a welcome return to the series, although, as I’ve said before, new players may find some of their remarks a little confusing.
Onto graphics. Hands up, who’s seen a Disney animation? Come on, there’s no point in denying it; we all have at some point. Well the best way to describe the graphics in The Curse of Monkey Island is to compare them with a Disney cartoon, probably on a par with Beauty and the Beast, which is, ironically, the main story behind the game. They certainly haven’t gone for realism, which probably would have limited the game quite a lot, and it looks all the better for it.
The music in it is sublime, with a different sound for every island, and a different score for every region of the island. There are some really hummable tunes in here, particularly Stan the insurance man’s theme tune. The voices of the characters are all unique, and all apt to the appearance and personality of the person. Salty sea pirates have gruff and surly manners, while pirate captains have educated airs, and are all politeness.
Technically speaking, this game will cause any PC built post-1995 no problems whatsoever, with it’s system requirements being so low. Just in case you’re worried about it, there’s a list of minimum requirements below (ah, how thoughtful of me)…
Sound: 16-bit soundcard
So what about the gameplay? What good would any of the afore mentioned items be without decent gameplay? They would be worth nothing, although EA Sports seem to be doing pretty well without it. Thankfully the gameplay is the best part, and that’s saying something when you consider the other qualities of The Curse of Monkey Island. You basically have to solve the puzzles, which lead one to another, with the items you find along the way. You will meet characters along the way to barter with, steal from an
d talk to. Each of these is individually voiced and has plenty to say, as do you. You talk to them by clicking on them with the cursor and selecting the talk button, after this a list of 4 or 5 phrases will pop up for you to choose from. This will then gain a response that will open up a new list of phrases to choose from. This is certainly an improvement on the way other games seem to be going, where the character will speak for you and respond the way the developers want you to.
You can also combine items to create brand new, sparkly items. The trouble is, only items that are meant to be combined can be combined. Do you understand? No? I obviously didn’t explain it very well, the thing is that even if two items could, in real life, be combined, they won’t be unless it will further the game. This leads onto my biggest, but still minor, gripe with The Curse of Monkey Island. The gameplay is very laid out, with no room for experimentation, you will move forward in the game through a set path, with no room for divergence from it. This means that the game will always end up the same, no matter how many times you play it, limiting its repeat value, and also making the game a little bit harder than it probably should be.
However, just look past that last sentence, as this game is an absolute star, and it’s a cheap star as well. I absolutely love the game, everyone I know who’s played it loves it, so just go and buy it. Now!