Publisher: LucasArts Entertainment
Developer: LucasArts Entertainment
N Amer - 11/06/2000
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Escape From Monkey Island Review
In the beginning there was two-dimensional gaming. Now, thanks to the efforts of computer technology, there are three-dimensional games.
The latest to benefit from all that is the current installment of the Guybrush Threepwood pirate legacy. Ok, this isn’t really that much about Guybrush. After all, being a man of the new millennium, or maybe millenniums past, he still proves that what he lacks in derry-do, he makes up for in resourcefulness and cowardice. Guybrush is now Guybrush Marley-Threepwood, after marrying the love of his life, the incredible, versatile governess of Melee Island, Elaine Marley.
In the previous adventure, Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush was tasked with rescuing his beloved Elaine from the hands of the dead pirate LeChuck. Elaine had been transformed into a golden statue, and it was up to Guybrush to solve the curse, free Elaine and defeat LeChuck. But is the dread pirate really dead?
LucasArts has unleashed the latest segment in the fantastic and popular game, and what a treat it is. This is a program that disdains the realms of the two-dimensional, and boldly crosses the dateline, … er timeline into the three-dimensional realm. Escape from Monkey Island is a twisting tale of adventure upon the high seas, puzzles that dazzle and spark the imagination, and sly jokes that will keep the wit reeling.
In upgrading the series, LucasArts has transformed the characters – though not the sarcasm – into a dynamic three-dimensional realm, worthy of any animated adventure game on the market. You can scroll through the options of action, select the one you think appropriate and try your hand. Should it prove wrong, the game is so easy on the gamer, that you have the opportunity to try again.
That is the pure joy of this program. There are no utterly wrong decisions, just decisions that lack the right response. Guybrush, wimp though he is but armed with a fantastic sense of humor, will merely comment the day away. Elaine, however, is not so merciful. Her responses are caustic, and to the point – bless her heart. Little wonder Guybrush has appended his name.
Controls for this game lack the intuitive nature of most games. It is better to pull up the options menu and find out just what will control the right response. F1 is the key to opening all the pertinent information, and the configure keys. Learn the lessons there well, for they will serve you in the melee that lies before you.
Like its previous incarnation, Escape from Monkey Island is packed full of puzzles and subtle humor. Guybrush, who regards himself as a full-fledged hero, manages to muddle his way through the game – with a lot of help from the game player. Yes, his humor is still dry, his responses full of pathos, and yet the game pulls ahead.
The game play is wonderful, as each scene unfolds itself to reveal new delights to both the eyes and ears. The graphics – and yes, the two-dimension version was an absolute joy – have been wonderfully transformed. The polygonal figures may harbor (get it, pirates, the sea, ships, harbor?) some sharp edges, but if you journeyed through Curse of Monkey Island, you will find the graphics on this program a dynamic step forward.
Sound-wise, this is the same terrific audio track that drew fans to the original. The vocal characterizations are wonderful. Here is a spoiler – Charles L. Charles, the villain of this program is none other than …
Maybe not a total spoiler, but fans of the former game can figure it out.
This program is rated Teen for comic mischief, suggestive themes, and use of tobacco and alcohol. It does not support multiplayer gaming.
Install: Easy. Minimum install is 195 megs, and it is a two-disk install. The maximum install is 1,133 megabytes. This program was installed at the lower level, with no discernible reduction in game play.
Gameplay: 8. The transitions are filled with cut-scenes and by-play, making the slight pause delightful.
Graphics: 8.5. The polygonal characters may be a little sharp edged, but that – in no way – diminishes from the game play. Escape successfully makes the transition to the three-dimensional realm.
Sound: 8.5. What isn’t nice about this program? The ambient sounds are solid and the vocal characterizations are wonderful sarcastic.
Difficulty: 7.5. The truly nice thing about this program is that you can only stall if you don’t figure the right solution to the puzzles. There is no truly wrong solution, just not the right ones.
Concept: 8. It would be easy to dismiss this program as just a retread of the former incarnation, but what makes this series so much fun is the ridiculous situations, and the puzzles that need to be solved. This is not so much a reflexive adventure as a cerebral one.
Overall: 8.5. LucasArts has taken a beloved cyber character, upgraded him and given him a new, albeit similar directive. Sure Guybrush is battling forces beyond his ability, but he is such a lovable character, his cause is so good, and his purpose so naïve that this program is difficult not to like. The humor is droll but affecting, and the game play so well laid out that this program has to be considered a worthy sequel to its predecessor. As with the original, the rating may be a little harsh, but there are jokes in here that only more mature individuals will get, and thoroughly enjoy.
GameZone Review Detail
The laughs, the subtle humor keeps coming in the latest Monkey Island release.
Reviewer: Michael Lafferty
Review Date: 11/16/2000