Review: Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood

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

We have now reached the penultimate episode of the series, so we know things are building towards the climax. And as the title points out, this episode finds Guybrush Threepwood engaged in a legal battle for his life! This episode takes place back on Flotsam Island, as Morgan LeFlay delivers Guybrush into the hands of De Signe before he is carried off by the residents of the island to stand trial. You will have to work through a series of puzzles to get him free and continue the story.

While the setting has been used before, that doesn’t mean this episode is a retread. There are several new areas, and even the old areas have new things to reveal. The location makes perfect sense in the context of the story, and it actually helps to allow the emphasis to fall onto more thorough development of the story. Again, I can’t say much without revealing all of the fun details, but suffice it to say that while the trial is full of hilarity, there are some major plot developments and a build-up to a cliff-hanger that really gets you excited for the conclusion of this great season of episodic gaming.

The emphasis in this episode has shifted somewhat from rampant jokes and character development to puzzles and story development. All of your favorites from previous episodes return, and since each episode has explored them further than the last, this episode jumps right in assuming you already know what has happened. In that way it is somewhat different than the Sam & Max series – each episode referenced to prior ones, but was essentially self-contained. I have found that appreciating some of the jokes and story elements really required you to have played the rest of the series.

The puzzles in this episode best even those from the last episode. There has been a continuous improvement in terms of puzzles – you need to interact more with the environment, think things out more thoroughly, and yet the puzzles actually make more sense.

Let me be clear and say that of this season, this will not be the episode everyone remembers – it falls pretty squarely in the middle of the pack overall. It is the biggest episode, has great puzzles, and loads of development and character interaction and humor. But it isn’t the wittiest, or the most challenging, or the best written.

Now that I’ve completed this latest episode, I just can’t wait for the conclusion. Again, I state that I was concerned about how they would pull this all off again… but this proves that Sam & Max was no fluke – these guys really know how to make top-notch adventure games with great characters, humor and puzzles. 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
+ Longest Episode

Cons:
– Having to wait for the season finale to arrive!

Game Info:
Platform: PC
Publisher: Telltale Games
Developer: Telltale Games
Release Date: 10/30/09
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!