Review: Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan

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Arrgh! Here we are, matey… back once again for the third episode of Tales of Monkey Island!

As was true the last time, I can’t reveal too much about where things start without spoiling the second episode, but it really doesn’t matter for two reasons: as with each of the previous two episodes you begin at sea, and also immediately there is a major plot event that launches you in a direction that will dominate the remainder of the episode. This time, you are swallowed by a giant manatee!

Whereas the first two episodes gave you considerable amounts of geography to explore, the third is much more limited: you are on a boat inside a giant manatee for the majority of the episode. Naturally that puts the emphasis on exploring the characters in the game, which is fairly risky for an adventure game. The results are astounding and make this absolutely the best episode yet!

The episode takes its time developing the characters and really allowing you to get into some depth with them in a way that rivals anything done in the Sam & Max series. You finally get to meet Coronado De Cava, and he is an interesting and hilarious character who was in search of La Esponja Grande when he ended up in similar circumstances. We also get to meet with De Cava’s crew, who are a wildly varied bunch with loads of funny stuff to say. The other main character we get to explore is Morgan LeFlay, who still has a penchant for violence, but is given tons of great lines and interactions throughout the episode… right up to the very end. There is also a return by a certain ‘head’ character from the earlier series, and he is given the full respect and disdain you would expect from Telltale!

The other great thing about Lair of the Leviathan is the puzzles. I had a hard time deciding whether the puzzles or character development were the best part of the episode, so I decided to call it a draw and be happy for such excellence on both fronts. Once again the puzzles have been tuned to be more direct, but conversely they aren’t as easy as some of the earlier episodes. I found myself working at a couple of puzzles for quite a while, and eventually finding the solutions felt very satisfying rather than frustrating. There were certain things that showed up as an evolution of earlier puzzles, which makes for a nice sense of both continuity and growth, and was very well done.

Unlike The Siege of Spinner Cay, I didn’t find this episode too short. Between spending loads of time getting to know every character I could, and working through all of the puzzles, this episode took me longer than any of the others, and never dragged a bit.

Now that I’ve completed this latest episode, I will state that The Siege of Spinner Cay is at the bottom of the episodes, and Lair of the Leviathan is at the top. It has gotten to the point that I have no idea how they will top this one – but knowing Telltale Games, I’m sure they will try! And with the wonderful cast of characters and the variety of settings and ongoing plot elements, it will be a wonderful ride seeing how the next episode turns out. And as I said before – 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:
– Having to wait for the next part to arrive!

Game Info:
Platform: Reviewed on PC, also available on Wii via WiiWare
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: 9/29/09
Genre: Adventure
ESRB Rating: Everyone
Players: 1
Source: Review code provided by publisher

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!