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Tales of Monkey Island Review | Adventure Your Monkey, LeChuk!
Those of us who had fond memories of playing Monkey Island back in the 1980's, when computers where real computers and monkeys were real monkeys will be entranced by the multi series effort of the revamped Tales of Monkey Island. I certainly was, to the extent that I bought the entire five part series on Steam.
When I was a child, I had a great deal of trouble with puzzle games, but in spite of never getting all that far in the original Monkey Island before deciding to go back to Where In The World Is Carmen Sandiego, a game that could actually be won, I figured that twenty years on, my brain would have had ample time to develop to the point where I can master a game meant for children. That wasn't the case.
The thing with puzzle adventure games is that they often force you think laterally whilst also stamping out any attempt to deviate from the set answer. So you're supposed to endure an endless series of 'I don't want to set fire to that!' and 'That won't work there' in order to progress through the game, yet you're also simultaneously supposed to cling to your last shred of non linear thinking in order to use the air balloon as a substitute for a kidney when the time comes to do so. Tales of Monkey Island might be new and updated, but the base game mechanics remain unchanged in this sense.
Launch of the Screaming Narwhal, the first in the series, lured me into a false sense of security in the opening sequences. (Warning, there are spoilers ahead, so if you don't want to be spoiled, don't read on, just go and buy the game already.)
I was incredibly proud of myself in finding the root beer in the monkey coffin and subsequently adding mints to it in order to make it fizzy. The first inkling that I got that the game wasn't going to be all that simple was when Guybrush Threepwood then proceeded to drop the all important fizzy voodoo root beer and force me to find a new way to obtain the necessary liquid sustenance to enchant my sword. Be warned - you'll spend a fair amount of time wanting to throttle Guybrush when you play the Tales of Monkey Island.
Things don't get a great deal easier from that point onwards. Many of the puzzles will be solved simply by stumbling through them, clicking on everything that's remotely clickable and applying the tiniest amount of brain power to power your way through them. Others are difficult to solve even with a walk through.
Seasoned puzzle gamers will have no trouble with this series I imagine. They'll skip through it like gleeful spring lambs, enjoying the twin joys of nostalgia and innovation. Even people like myself who are more terrible than the most terrible pirate of all time, Le Chuck, when it comes to adventure puzzle games will probably work their way through it just to enjoy the charming, witty dialog and the shiny shiny new graphics.
On the positive side, Tales of Monkey island is an engaging game that doesn't involve lopping the heads off other people, so if you're looking for a family friendly game that will be challenging and enjoyable for all ages, it's pretty hard to go past Tales of Monkey Island.