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Escape From Monkey Island (PlayStation 2) artwork

Escape From Monkey Island (PlayStation 2) review


"“Wanted: Swashbuckling adventurer to perform seemingly pointless tasks. Must have experience in handling miscellaneous objects and continuously making light of past exploits. One-liners a necessity. Job may involve undead zombies, voodoo witchcraft, and ducks. Apply within.” "



Wanted: Swashbuckling adventurer to perform seemingly pointless tasks. Must have experience in handling miscellaneous objects and continuously making light of past exploits. One-liners a necessity. Job may involve undead zombies, voodoo witchcraft, and ducks. Apply within.”

Stumbling upon this job-offer in the latest edition of the Herald Sun excited me greatly. Here before me was a chance to sail aimlessly between three small islands and ultimately thwart some evil. Upon applying to the agency I was heartbroken to find that I didn’t fit their specifications, my “eat scurvy you salty cur” message tattooed to my backside wasn’t even enough to tip the scales in my favour! Apparently the employer had only had one person in mind all along, and he was tied up giving the governor a foot massage.

In the words of the burly man who ran the ad - “there’s only one Guybrush Threepwood”.

If you’re the level-headed guy up the back who is now ridiculing the very notion that another set of parents may have named their progeny Guybrush, get a life. I’m sure what Burly was really trying to say was that Guybrush and his Monkey Island saga are a truly unique experience - there have been plenty of other adventure games, but surely none can hope to match Lucas Arts’ masterpieces. For you see, in every area that a game of this type must shine, the Monkey Island’s have always emitted the most dazzling, lucid rays of sunshine yet seen. Escape From Monkey Island, Guybrush’s fourth shot at greatness, marks a continuation of the dizzying heights we’ve come to expect from this mob.

OR DOES IT!?

Yes, fool. Certainly we’re all a little less giddy this time around, this style of adventure game is a moribund genre, and asking for anything remotely original from it is often expecting the near-impossible - therefore MI’s particular style of madcap hijinks are starting to wear thin. This fourth installment, and its story, follows on directly from number three. We see our protagonists, Guybrush and Elaine, honeymooning in less than idyllic circumstances. Upon arriving back at shore imagine Elaine’s surprise to find that she’s been declared dead! As usual we branch off on ridiculous tangents until there’s nothing left to do but defeat the Australian land-developer Ozzie Mandrill and his mysterious (and smelly) lackey. This story marks a new low in plot development for the Monkey Island saga, looking very rehashed and not at all original (let’s not forget the disappointing finale).

Of course this doesn’t mean that EFMI is a bad game. Think of the story as a decadent kind of ghost train, and the train filled to the brim with lively, colourful characters. Somehow or other Lucas Arts have managed to cram enough entertainment into their game to make the lack of a decent plot a forgivable error. Filled to the brim with inside-jokes and pop-culture references, you won’t be left at the end of the game screaming “I WANT MORE JOKES YOU NIMROD!” It’s unlikely we’ll ever return to the halcyon days that heralded the release of chapters 2 and 3, but Monkey Island 4 still manages to top the humour charts of modern releases.

Oh yeah, the puzzles. Monkey Island would be nothing without the puzzles. And being a Monkey Island game it is assumed that EFMI has puzzles. They are good puzzles, strong and true, that people that like puzzles will like (them being puzzles and all). Naturally they are launched into obscurity at various stages of the game, leaving you completely bamboozled and trying combinations such as “USE MAGIC TOILET BRUSH WITH QUEEN MOTHER”, but if they keep us playing the game for a longer amount of time they can’t be that bad!

The move to 3D graphics and a game console has called for a revamped control system. It’s confusing, but at the same time it’s adaptable. It’s a fairly seamless interface and shouldn’t cause the player too many problems. And you’ll be putting those controls to good use as you explore the vast scenery of the tri-island area! The blocky, cartoony style of graphics fit the game down to a “T” of some kind, they go into a good amount of detail, creating an immersive kind of experience, and won’t offend the eyes after longer than normal sittings. These visuals are complemented by a tight audio package, as usual the dialogue is second to none, authentic pirate voices and all! We’re also treated to a lush soundtrack, furnished with a multitude of easy-going tropical themes. This is just more proof that you don’t need a stupid photo-realistic type presentation to have a good time!

Escape From Monkey Island reminds us of everything that is good about its series. It's witty, charming, and I bet it’s a good kisser as well! It might reek a bit of the same stuff that emanates from previous episodes (The Curse of Monkey Island in particular) but there’s no need to fiddle around with something as good as this. But, as accomplished as EFMI is, it perhaps is a signal that our good friend Guybrush needs to be put to rest. We can’t let our beloved Monkey Island turn into another Police Academy (despite the obvious hilarity a sound effect making character would provide)!
-----------------------------
GOOD POINTS
- This review was not written by Jerec. =D
- Laughs, giggles, chuckles...all here
- Monkey monkey monkey monkey

NOT SO GOOD POINTS
- Same old
- Same old
- Same old
-----------------------------
OVERALL - 8/10

Rating: 8/10

kingbroccoli's avatar
Community review by kingbroccoli (April 25, 2004)

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