I’m no stranger to the point and click adventure games. I’m not crazy about them, but I am open to their ways of doing things. And yet, I’ve never played any of the LucasArts classics. Instead I have “modern” point and click adventures like Capcom’s Ace Attorney series and Telltale’s Sam & Max series as my frame of reference. This is probably why I found The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition a bit disappointing. Don’t raise your pitchforks just yet! I’ll have you know, it’s a common side effect of remaking a 19 year old game.
I like the new art. It’s a point of contention for many die hards, but, in general, I like it. I’m not opposed to the classic pixel look either and found myself toggling between the two regularly. Although, as impressive as the new art was, I thought the Special Edition’s artists were a bit over zealous with new assets. As a result, Guybrush Threepwood can be seen walking on foreground items which were not present in the original. I wish they kept it as 1:1 as much as possible.
I would have also preferred an option to keep the ‘verb’ and ‘item’ selection menus on screen at all times. Bringing them up every time I had to pour grog from one cup to another became incredibly irritating after the third attempt. This problem was exacerbated by the fact that the the mouse pointer was a bit off with the modern look and required guess work for navigating the menu items.
The added voice acting kept things lively and, for me, was the highlight of the game. I was particularly fond of the banter between LeChuck and his first mate, Bob. Those two along with the Cannibals were the funny ones. Guybrush? I didn’t connect with him because he ended up sounding like broken record as I tried all the random knick knacks I collected with every puzzle I encountered in hopes of finding a solution. It’s probably my fault for not getting the logic though. At the half way point I skipped the guess work and used the handy built in hint system.
I’m sure The Secret of Monkey Island was an achievement when it debuted in 1990. With the help of a facelift and voice actors, this Special Edition release gives us all a chance to to see what it’s all about. However, there’s only so much voice actors could do with the lines they were given — I didn’t find it very funny. Despite the lack hilarity, the adventure as a whole was still kooky and strange enough to keep my interest.
Throughout the years I’ve heard nothing, but good things about the Monkey Island series. Now that I’ve finally taken a crack at it, I could see why fans hold it with such regard. It may not have completely resonated with me as it did with its fans, but I’m still glad I tried it. It’s a piece of gaming history which is certainly worth reliving for $9.99 USD.
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Worth a Try
For more information on The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition, please check the official website.