Guybrush Threepwood just can’t catch a break. Despite getting beat up, knocked down, and humiliated by every living (and undead) man, woman and creature in the Caribbean, his latest exploits have left him stuck in the stomach of an enormous manatee. Continuing onward with Telltale’s unique brand of episodic point-and-click adventure gaming goodness, Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan presents Guybrush with a few unique, completely absurd problems, all of which are a joy to play thanks to the wonderful characters and fantastic writing. Oh, and because I haven’t worked one of these in already: ARRRRRRR!
Once his ship crash lands in the belly of the beast, Guybrush realizes that the only way that he is going to get out is by restoring the sea animal’s cochlea, a piece of its ear. To do this, he will need to infiltrate a group of jolly stomach-dwellers that are guarding the ear fragment, which includes a nerdy bongo player, a tattooed tough guy and a surfer dude bartender with a skeleton companion named Santino. After talking with them all, it’s clear that Guybrush will have to do a few favors for each of them before being accepted into their closed-off clique.
Most of Lair of the Leviathan is spent talking with these various castaways, discovering what makes them tick and helping them get what they want. The dorky Noogie, for instance, really wants a date with a bounty hunter that got swallowed alongside Guybrush’s ship, while Bugeye, the group’s leader, requires that you beat him in a face-off (where the two of you are judged based on your best pirate grimace). The scenario is clever, with the bile-filled abdomen of the colossal creature containing plenty of light-hearted shenanigans and oddly placed props for Guybrush to play with.
Of course, none of this would matter if the writing was as soft as a giant cotton swab, but Telltale has once again infused this series with all of the witty dialogue and enjoyable characters that fans expect. From Guybrush and bounty hunter Morgan LeFlay pretending to be married to the return of a certain body-less grouch from an older Monkey Island title, everything that is presented here is such a joy to watch that you don’t mind sitting through the long-winded cutscenes. As expected, the voice acting is equally exemplary, as all of the characters are brought to life with whimsy and glee.
Unfortunately, all of this pleasant piracy is brought to an end way too soon, as Lair of the Leviathan—much like its predecessors-- is incredibly short. This chapter only includes two main areas, and while there is plenty to do in each, they are both relatively contained and don’t offer many chances to explore. It's also worth mentioning that some of the puzzle solutions can get pretty obscure, though longtime fans are most likely used to that by now. As long as you aren’t averse to hunting down a hint guide every now and then, it won’t get too frustrating.
If you have been following the Tales of Monkey Island saga up to this point, Lair of the Leviathan offers a few more hours of swashbuckling adventure and knee-slapping comedy that is sure to tickle your fancy. If you’ve never played a Monkey Island title however, you probably shouldn’t admit that in public. Seriously, what’s wrong with you? Go play one. Now.
Pros : Funny dialogue, clever riddles, entertaining characters, some great references for longtime fans, terrific audio
Cons: Very short, only two major areas to explore, some obtuse puzzle design
GamePro Score: 4.0
The Info – PC, Publisher: Telltale Games, Players: 1, ESRB: E, Price: $8.95 per episode or $34.95 per season
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Related Links: New to the Monkey Island-verse? Check out GamePro Arcade's reviews of the original Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition along with our Tales of Monkey Island reviews for Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal and Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay