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PlanetPS2 | Features | Reviews | Escape from Monkey Island
by: Russell Garbutt | June 19, 2001

Escape from Monkey Island

Title: Escape from Monkey Island
Genre: Adventure
Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Release Date:6/26/01
Country of Origin: United States
ESRB Rating: T

"I'm shaking... I'm shaking!"

I was shaking. The genre that was nearest and dearest to this gamer's heart has begun to make a comeback in the console arena. It should be obvious to those who have checked out my Escape From Monkey Island first look that the series brings back many fond memories of days long since past. Even the original title, released way back gaming's "Golden Age" (1990), still brings a smile to my face. Sadly, due to the progression of technology and the inherent "slow pace" in these types of titles, text adventures seem to have been somewhat few and far between in the world of consoles. When Escape From Monkey Island was announced for the PS2, it brought with it a glimmer of hope. Perhaps with a good product and the advanced technology available today, graphic adventures would make a comeback. The success of Konami's Shadow of Destiny further proved that with the right talent behind the title, the adventure genre could live and breathe again. After playing the PS2 version of Escape From Monkey Island, I can safely say that every fan of adventure gaming should prepare for a resurrection.

For starters, the game's graphics are nearly identical to that of a high-end PC. Escape From Monkey Island, the fourth in the series, is also the first to be fully 3D rendered, a step up from the last title that was done through hand-drawn cel animation, and the first two titles which were of the "colored sprites" variety. The animation is crisp and smooth, the scenery is lush and beautiful in its own stylistic way, and the character detail remains true to the series. These aren't photo-realistic human beings, these are Melee Island cartoon characters... and it belongs that way.

The sound effects are also as they should be, totally cartoony and well detailed. The music, as in all of the other series' titles, is the kind you'd find playing ad nauseum on any Caribbean Island. The character dialogue is well delivered by competent actors, whose comic timing ought to be commended. Anyone who plays through this title and doesn't laugh even once should quit trying and go back to watching "The O'Reilly Factor."

The gameplay, as described, is your old-school adventure. The story picks up where Curse of Monkey Island left off, with Guybrush saving the love of his life and mayor of Monkey Island, Elaine Marley, from the clutches of the evil undead pirate LeChuck before setting off on a whirlwind, foot-massage filled honeymoon. When they return, they find that the entire tri-island area is being bought up by a ruthless, Australian real estate barons, who intend to turn the area into a family-oriented vacation spot. Elaine has been declared dead, and Guybrush is being set-up to take the rap for a bank robbery.

LucasArts' famous SCUMM interface has been updated a bit, and plays more like their masterpiece of a few years back, Grim Fandango. Players may use either the analog sticks or the D-Pad to move Guybrush around. When an object that can be interacted with is encountered, players are given a number of choices that appear on screen. These choices can be cycled through with the right shoulder buttons, and picked up or used by pressing square or X, respectively. There are options for reconfiguring the controls.

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