I’ve had an epiphany. These Tales of Monkey Island chapters have got a format. It’s a format I’ve gone on about until everyone within earshot is bored stiff (That’s not the epiphany). Collect the four things, write four interesting news stories, impress the four blokes, do the four tasks. Then, the second half of the episode, which is freeform. That’s it – that’s how it works, and it’s how it’s likely to continue working.
This is the epiphany though – it’s not so bad as all that! Once you accept that’s the pattern, the interest comes in seeing how it’s going to be delivered, because they’re always different. It’s even comforting and familiar in a way, like the way there are certain core characters you expect to see in every Monkey Island game.
Speaking of which, look who it is! Up there in the picture, look. It’s Stan! It just wouldn’t be Monkey Island without him, in all his huge-hatted, hypnotically-jacketed splendour. He’s voiced marvellously, as we’ve come to expect from the series.
Stan aside, the cast of characters both from previous games and previous episodes are clearly-defined and individual. True, they’re more-or-less all green due to ‘the pox’, but otherwise stand out from one another enough for you to work out what on earth is going on. Because how many games have we played where the big reveal at the end is that one of the characters is actually a bad guy, and you just go ‘who?’
There’s a smattering of new characters as well, of course – the story takes place in its entirety on Plunder Island, the location of Episode 1, and it’s fun to see how the lives of the various locals have changed, largely as a result of your own misadventures. The puzzles are of a consistent quality, not too difficult (on the whole), but you’ll probably have the whole thing licked in about three or four hours.
So it’s par for the course then. Great voice acting; engaging characters; interesting puzzles and weird comedy. One thing that hit me as an odd change from the previous instalments though was the performance. Now my machine may not be the greatest on the planet, but it should be capable of running a point-and-click adventure, right? I easily meet the system requirements and anyway, I played the other three episodes with no problem. So what gives? Of course, I can only call them as I sees them, but it was jerky to the point of losing lip-synch throughout.
I have to hand it to them. They’ve crafted a good game here, and as we approach the close of the ‘season’ it’s looking promising. Each episode moves the plot forward, and each is fun to play without being frustrating. Sure, they’re fairly ‘kid-friendly’ (and occasionally a bit immature), but I always look forward to the next one.
Speaking of the next episode, Wally is just about the last of the regular Monkey Island characters to not appear yet, so I guess he’ll turn up soon. Other than that, I have no idea what is going to happen in the finale, and that’s fun. Keep ‘em guessing!