Review: Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay

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Arrgh! Here we are again, matey … back for another episode of Tales of Monkey Island! While I can’t tell you where things stand at the beginning of the tale without potentially spoiling the first episode for those who haven’t played yet, suffice it to say that you can expect the events that were set in motion at the start of the first episode will be in play for the entire season!

And what were those things? Everything will be familiar to anyone who knows even remotely of the series: Le Chuck, the villain, has kidnapped Elaine … again! It is up to you as Guybrush Threepwood, semi-competent pirate, to figure out how to rescue her. Of course, actually managing to do that is seldom as simple as it seems.

Once again we are launched into an opening scene filled with in-jokes, asides, clever witticisms and laugh out loud moments. And like before, it never stops throughout the entire episode. The writing and characterizations are top-notch, the jokes are spot-on, and there is plenty of good fun throughout.

After settling the cliffhanger from last time (where Threepwood is pinned to the wheel by a sword), the main game gets started. The setting this time is Spinner Cay, a village of merfolk. Guybrush also explores surrounding islands. This works well at providing a greater variety than in the previous Telltale games, and a non-centralized setting was a goal of the developers. It works very nicely at keeping the plot and challenges in motion.

I was once again astounded by the level of polish and attention to detail. The voice acting is again extremely well done, with every character building upon the personalities and characterizations introduced in the first episode. Telltale continues to grow their abilities to create engaging adventures with their toolset that encompass a wide array of situations and environments.

Since this is an adventure game, it is loaded from end to end with puzzles. While the first episode had some tasks that some gamers considered convoluted and obscure, all of the tasks this time around are fairly straightforward, and while the solutions are just as zany, the game provides a better integrated hint system in nearby characters and the environment.

My only negative comment is that while no one expects these episodes to provide an epic experience, this one actually *feels* short. It seemed to be over just as I was really excited for it to continue, and that is also part of the charm – you get another cliffhanger ending that makes you anticipate the arrival of the next chapter.

Since playing the first episode I’ve replayed some of the PC and iPhone ports of the original Monkey Island game and am just thrilled at how Telltale has taken that classic game and reinvented it in a way that brings out things from the original while making it modern and thoroughly their own. The value proposition for this game is easy, as each entry costs less than a movie ticket and delivers more laughs than most comedies while also providing some brain-teasing puzzles. If you haven’t already, grab the season pass and get ye to piratin’!

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Pros:
+ Classic adventure game style
+ Applies everything TellTale has learned
+ Great jokes
+ Challenging puzzles, but not too hard
+ Great story and characters

Cons:
– Feels a bit too short

Game Info:
Platform: Reviewed on PC, also available for Wii via WiiWare
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: 8/20/09
Genre: Adventure
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1

About the Author

I have loved technology for as long as I can remember - and have been a computer gamer since the PDP-10! Mobile Technology has played a major role in my life - I have used an electronic companion since the HP95LX more than 20 years ago, and have been a 'Laptop First' person since my Compaq LTE Lite 3/20 and Powerbook 170 back in 1991! As an avid gamer and gadget-junkie I was constantly asked for my opinions on new technology, which led to writing small blurbs ... and eventually becoming a reviewer many years ago. My family is my biggest priority in life, and they alternate between loving and tolerating my gaming and gadget hobbies ... but ultimately benefits from the addition of technology to our lives!