"Puzzles are where the gameplay lies, and trust me, Monkey Island has plenty of them. From the cruelly simple answers to the complex, multiple-event solutions, the game's numerous puzzles are engaging and tough."
I remember the first time I played a graphic adventure game. It was, of course, LucasArt's third installment in their famous Monkey Island series, Curse of Monkey Island. Truly a masterpiece, the wonderful, engaging, yet humorous title manages to combine the dramatic effect of hand-drawn graphics with the brain-teasing, clever puzzles LucasArt's always integrates into their adventures perfectly, and adds just the right amount of humor to keep the game interesting, as well as magicly entertaining.
The game stars Guybrush Threepwood, twice noble hero of the Carribean, arch enemy of the ghastly, maniacal pirate LeChuck, infatuated with Elaine Marley, governess and fearless fighter. Wandering through the seas on his buoyant inner tube, Guybrush wanders astray into the harbor of Puerto Pollo - ''Port Chicken'' - and has a dastardly encounter with the zombie pirate of evil intentions! Err, okay, he just wants to marry Elaine, but he'll use any means necessary to fetch the (living) woman of his (dead) heart! Guybrush escapes, with a cursed ring which he gives to his proposed fiancé, Elaine, freezing her into a statue of gold, forced to save his one true love by fetching a new, uncursed diamond. Throughout the game, the story unfolds into a series of events, each intricately tied in to the adventure's puzzles, as well as Guybrush's comical ignorance and coincidental heroism, and truly makes the game as entertaining as a well-produced motion picture, though interactive.
The graphics are unique. Though the animation is obviously processed by Photoshop-equipped computers, the art is drawn by an obviously talented group of artists, and the images are crisp, clear and brilliantly animated. The various cursors are also fluent, and match their actions flawlessly, while the items, both on the screen and in the inventory, are easily distinguishable, and wonderfully crude yet unique. The environments are quaint and well-designed, from the bright, sunny atmosphere of Puerto Pollo to the dark, haunting aura of the game's later islands.
The sound is excellent, with engaging music and ambient effects. The voiceovers are absolutely perfect, matching their portrayed characters flawlessly, from Guybrush's facetious antics to Murray's sarcastic, arrogant remarks. Everything from tides to birds are represented wonderfully, and everything is studio-quality; it shows.
Puzzles are where the gameplay lies, and trust me, Monkey Island has plenty of them. From the cruelly simple answers to the complex, multiple-event solutions, the game's numerous puzzles are engaging and tough. In the game's normal mode, the solutions are relatively easy, but in the harder mode - ''Mega Monkey'' - problems which before were simple transform into near-impossible tasks. When you do solve one of those puzzles, however, the feeling of satisfaction more than justifies the frustration, and as you move through the story puzzles become more challenging, which is a very good thing.
The game's biggest fault, however, is replay value. Although the storyline is worth a couple of plays alone, the two modes just don't offer enough value to be worth a couple of plays through each. The game itself is flawless, and is truly a masterpiece of the industry. This is the reason LucasArts dominates the graphic adventure genre; they're damn good at making them.
Staff review by Zack M (Date unavailable)
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