Games You Should(ve) Played……The Monkey Island Series part 5

Tales of Monkey Island (2009)  


Tales of Monkey Island is a 5 part episodic release by Telltale Games in conjuction with LucasArts.  It is the 5th game in the Monkey Island series.  It was released nearly ten years after Escape from Monkey Island.  Ron Gilbert, the father of the series was on board in the project planning, Dave Grossman, co-designer of the original 2 was also in and the devolopment lead.  The game was released on several platforms, including the Xboxlive marketplace and Sony Playstation Network

Story and Characters

Once again you assume the role of the bungling pirate Guy Threepwood.  The game takes place a few years after Escape from From Monkey Island.  It also no longer takes place in the tri island area that the others took place in.  The designers opted to create a new area, the Gulf of Melange.  We find out that in that time, Guybrush has been looking for the parts required to make the Cursed Cutlass of Kaflu, A sword that can finally destroy his nemesis, the demon pirate LeChuck.

Shortly before the game, we find out that LeChuck has kidnapped Elaine, Guybrush’s wife, who he also wanted to be with.  Our fearless yet bumbling hero chases them to the Rock of Gelato to save her.  Well, it turns out that our hero may or may not have created the sword wrong…..mostly may have….So when Guybrush stabs LeChuck with the sword, LeChuck becomes human and Guybrush’s hand gets infected with the “Pox of LeChuck”  In true Evil Dead fashion, the hand has a mind of its own, and in true Monkey Island fashion, our hero is once again tossed into the ocean.


Our hero washes up on Flotsam Island where he meets a Voodoo Lady.  She tells him that the only cure and the only way to prevent Pox of LeChuck from becoming an epidemic is to absorb it with the “La Esponja Grande” (thats, The Big Sponge for us gringos.)  Of course Guybrush heads out to find it.  There is one teeny tiny problem though….there is no escaping the island.  A mad scientist has set up camp and is using a machine to draw pirates to the island for medical experiments.  The same device is also keeping the pirates on the island.  Guybrush reverses the effect which allows the ships and pirates to be able to leave and to allow him to go on his quest for “The Big Sponge”….there is one problem though……while releasing the Pox of LeChuck to the rest of the Caribbean…..While on board his ship, a Woman named Morgan LeFlay engages in a sword fight with Guybrush, it turns out that the evil scientist, who’s name is Singe, wants Guybrush’s hand for his experiments.  She promptly cuts it off and heads back to Singe


Guybrush then sets off for the Jerkbait Islands.  Here he finds that Elaine is safe and that LeChuck, oddly, is trying to make up for his evil deeds now that he’s human again.  The three of them team up and fend off an attack by pox infected pirates and save the town of Merfolk.  The people of Merfolk, thankful for being saved, summon creatures to help find the sponge.  During the voyage, Morgan returns, this time for Guybrush’s whole body.  During the sword fight the ship is swallowed by a giant manatee.  Inside the manatee they find DeCava, the explorer that Guybrush was seeking out, he knows where the sponge is.  Eventually they escape the manatee and retrieve the sponge, in doing this, Morgan then knocks out Guybrush and heads for Flotsam island to collect her bounty and leave Guybrush to Singe.


When Morgan arrives with Guybrush, he is promptly captured by the villagers and put on trial for releasing the pox across the  Caribbean.  Guybrush is saved, believe or not, buy LeChuck, who takes the fall for creating it.  In a surprise, he also presents evidence that the Voodoo Lady has been behind all of the confrontations between LeChuck and Guybrush.  With Guybrush vindicated and LeChuck and the Voodoo Lady in jail, he can continue on his quest to cure the pox with The Big Sponge.  As he goes to Singe’s lab he finds that Morgan has been murdered and that Singe is getting ready to use his severed hand to grant himself eternal life.  Elaine and Guybrush get caught be Singe, who then falls into his own machine disintegrating himself.  LeChuck then arrives to “rescue” Guybrush and Elaine.  Guybrush goes to thank him, then LeChuck impales him with the sword.  As Guybrush dies LeChuck uses the sponge to transfer the pox to himself…….


Believe it or not, there was a whole lot I left out, including the end!  Yup that wasn’t the end of the game yet.  How’s it end?  Well, you can probably by the entire 5 part series for 30 dollars or less online, depending on the outlet, so get and find out!

Gameplay

The gameplay still feels familiar, there are many ways to control Guybrush and I thought it all worked rather well.  At times there were a few wonky  moments, but it didn’t take away from the experience at all.

Graphics and Sound

During the production, LucasArts and Telltale worked together closely.  LucasArts had been developing Monkey Island 1 SE at the time and wanted Tales to have a similar look and feel to the special edition. With a few slight differences they achieved the goal and Tales looks and feels similar to Monkey Island SE.  The graphics are cartooney, but still look nice.

As for the sound, most of the voice actors reprised their roles along with Michael Land, who composed the music for all the other games.  So music and sound are excellent.

Conclusion

Tales is a great continuation to the Monkey Island series and very faithful to the originals.  So far there is no word on anymore, but with the success of Tales and the success of Telltale Games Back to the Future game one can hope that LucasArts will look at what Telltale can do and have them do more Monkey Island games!  So I hope you enjoyed my little trip through the Caribbean and I hope you’ll give the Monkey Island series a shot!  Thanks for reading and keep gaming!

-john

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