Product Type: LucasArts PC games
Newest Review: ... Elaine take a smaller role here. In my opinion, this is a good thing because new players can get to know the character of Guybrush much ... more
Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter One (PC)
Member Name: CheesySpam
Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter One (PC)
Advantages: Good gameplay; fabulous story; a memorable main character; great graphics and sound.
Disadvantages: Some average puzzles.
For years after the release of Escape From Monkey Island, fans of the series were left desperate for more of Guybrush's adventures. Many thought the point-and-click genre would never be returned to and that Monkey Island was dead. But Telltale Games saved the day in 2009 when they released Tales of Monkey Island, a humourous adventure split into five parts. I can't compare this to the other titles in the series because I have never actually played them, but this is a game that stands up on it's own merits. The first episode is a very respectable start, featuring a good story and some tough puzzles that get your mind working. This is by no means excellent, but it's a purchase you won't regret.
Pirate Guybrush Threpwood's hand becomes plagued with the Pox of LeChuck after he plunges his sword into his enemy LeChuck's chest, who then becomes human. Guybrush is then washed out to Flotsam Island, where anyone can get in but the winds are too strong for anyone to get out. With his wife stuck aboard LeChuck's ship, our hero attempts to escape by speaking with Deep Gut, a mysterious character who apparently knows a way out.
Although simple, the story really stands out when you bring together all of Tales of Monkey Island's positive aspects. This chapter is focused on main character Guybrush while other major characters such as his wife Elaine take a smaller role here. In my opinion, this is a good thing because new players can get to know the character of Guybrush much more quickly. The personality of the side characters also comes through quickly because of the great script, showing that Telltale has done a good job in the storytelling area of the game. However, these side characters aren't very memorable and well-written with the exception of the crazy French doctor, de Singe.
In Telltale's previous Sam and Max games, you clicked anywhere on the screen and your character would walk in that direction. However, there are two ways to control your character in Tales of Monkey Island. The first is to hold and drag the mouse near the character to move him. Otherwise, you can use the arrow keys or WASD buttons.
Puzzles heavily involve the combination system, which sees you combining objects you have picked up to make new ones. For example, the start of the game sees you trying to make the Cutlass of Kaflu to kill LeChuck. For it you need fizzy root beer and a sword. The root beer isn't fizzy, so you combine the fizzy mints in your pocket with the root beer to make fizzy root beer, which you then combine with your current cutlass to make the Cutlass of Kaflu. This is probably the simplest puzzle in the game, though, and the other ones require a lot more thinking. The combination system, overall, is a great little feature which sets the game apart from other adventure/point-and-click games.
However, some of the puzzles aren't up to the standard of the ones in Telltale's other games. The jungle maze sticks in my mind as being one of the worst sections of this chapter. You have a treasure map which guides you to the treasure using animal faces. I thought at first this meant nothing and that you had to guess where to go, because I was quite confused. Then I realised that you had to stand next to the different paths and listen for which animal made a noise. If the map showed a monkey, you would have to listen for the familiar 'oo-oo-aa-aa' of a monkey. This kind of puzzle is a bit basic for a point-and-click game and has been used before in other games anyway.
Tales of Monkey Island is a great looking title, and has a unique style to it that really matches the theme of the game. The beginning of the game, set aboard a ship on a dark, stormy night. This bit uses lots of weather effects such as thunder to make a more realistic, epic scene. Flotsam Island, however, displays lots of colour, something that you don't see a lot of in games today. The visuals are also quite detailed, too. It looks really good, and you don't even need a high-spec computer for it.
The sound is also a strong aspect of the game. Dominic Armato voices Guybrush, and does a fantastic job. There is also some voice acting from Alexandra Boyd as Elaine, and Adam Harrington as LeChuck. They all bring out the pirate inside and do some great work. Don't expect loud, memorable music like something out of Pirates of the Caribbean. Instead, the music here is quite a lot calmer. It isn't that memorable to me, but is pretty good while you're hearing it.
Overall, Tales of Monkey Island Chapter One is a good game, and is a great debut. I'm sure many will really like it and while it may not be adored as the original Monkey Island games were, fans of the series will enjoy this funny adventure that will stick with you for a while after playing it. The story starts of great, and develops even further as you get through. Although some of the puzzles aren't that well thought-out, others will get you thinking hard. The unique combining system plays a huge part in most of the puzzles and it's a nice change from what's normal in the genre. The graphics will also catch your eye - this is one of the best looking point-and-click games I've ever seen, and you may take a minute to stop and stare at the beautiful Flotsam Island. Voice acting is also very good, and while the music may not stick in your mind for long, it is great while it lasts. Overall, fans of the genre will think it's fantastic, and new players should give it a try.
Thanks for reading! Now if you'll excuse me, I'm off to start Chapter Two.
Summary: A great start to a series that has a lot of potential.
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