Tuesday, July 21, 2009

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition

Developer: LucasArts
Publisher: LucasArts
Release Date: July 15, 2009
System: Xbox 360 (reviewed), PC
ESRB Rating: E-10+
Official Web site

In a nutshell: Oh ... so THAT'S what's everyone's been talking about all this time...

0:00 As I discussed in my review of the new Tales of Monkey Island, I've managed to avoid this series for years; nay, decades, despite mounds of hyperbolic praise from practically every gamer I know. Thus, the expectations (and the possibility for disappointment) have been set exceptionally high. If this isn't the funniest, best-designed game ever made, it is a TOTAL FAILURE!

0:01 A pixilated pirate walks out, looks at a map, digs at an X, opens a chest, and "WOW!" it's the LucasArts logo. Cute. Then a plain, empty title screen on a blue background. Not as cute. I like the jaunty xylophone music on the menu screen.

0:02 A dark, pixilated mountain shines in the distance. "Deep in the Caribbean ... The island of Melee." The opening credits scroll by as the mountain turns into a high-definition painting. The jaunty xylophone tune is now accompanied by a gentle flute. Catchy!

0:03 The credits finish with a seagull's caw. "Hi! My name's Guybrush Threepwood and I want to be a pirate," says the white-shirted pirate to a guy with a white beard standing by a fire. "You look more like a flooring inspector," he replies, in part. But he sends Guybrush (aka me) off to the Scumm Bar to find pirate leaders anyway."Part One: The Three Trials."

0:04 There's quite a disconnect between the extremely detailed HD graphics and the extremely small number of animation frames. It's like watching a Pixar movie through a zoetrope.

0:05 In control now, I move a cursor around and click the first thing I see, a poster with a woman on it. "Re-elect Governor Marley. When there's only one candidate, there's only one choice." Um, true?



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