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Review: Tales of Monkey Island Episode One: Launch of the Screaming Narwhals

Tales of Monkey Island is “a heated series involving the brave but often bumbling Mighty Pirate™ Guybrush, his beloved wife Elaine, and their nemesis, the demon pirate LeChuck.”, in the words of the developers, TellTale games. When the showdown goes up in flames, Guybrush finds himself marooned on a strange island with winds that always blow inward. How will our hero manage to escape this meteorological anomaly? What has become of LeChuck and Elaine? And what’s the story with the infectious voodoo pox that’s spreading across the Caribbean, causing Guybrush and other pirates to act like unruly hooligans? These are just some of the many questions posed in this first chapter.

The series starts off on a ship. Fun. However, the comedy is just amazing, in my opinion. You have to cover your sword in FIZZY magic Root Beer in order to use it to destroy LeChuck. After an intro to the game, and some examples of puzzle solving (cut roots and put them in grog you’ve added breath mints to), you watch a cut scene and end up on an island. While this is trying, of course, to BE cliché, you just can’t escape the feeling that something’s missing-or the island. That’s right, prepare to spend THIS chapter, at least, on the island.
Now, your hand is acting weird, so you go and seek help, but it’s also causing other effects. Without wanting to give TOO much away, this chapter lives up to its name of  “Launch of the Screaming Narwhals”. The audio is superb, and actually better than you’d expect.

Now, here’s my main gripe. Oh no, one thing takes away from this experience dearly, unfortunately. And THAT’S that, because of the massive amount of activity, the controls are very slow. And to be quite honest, the item menu is in an awful location (slide mouse to the right), and the walking controls are fine if you play them like Wallace and Gromit (arrow keys to move), but otherwise, it’s click and DRAG. No, not like Strong Bad or Sam & Max, where you click your destination, you have to physically drag. How unfortunate.

However much this takes away from the play experience, it is still a fun game, and you will probably spend about 2-3 hours on this first episode. It’s a great deal of fun, regardless of the controls, and we’ve been playing the PC version. We hope sincerely the WiiWare version, which will be out sometime this month, will run it smoother, with better controls.

Point Value: 1000/1000 Wii Points

Somewhat recommended .

Final Score: 8/10

July 11, 2009 - Posted by | Reviews

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