Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition - Review

Growing up everyone has that game that just sticks, the game they play on a regular basis, despite it not even being a challenge to them anymore. For me that game was The Secret of Monkey Island and its Sequel, LeChucks revenge, both were revamped recently and I thought it was my duty as not only a Monkey Island fan but as a adventure game fan in general to play the upgraded installations of two of the best gaming memories I have.

While the Monkey Island franchise is far from dead, with the arrival of the Tales of Monkey Island episodes, Guybrush has never been in better form, I have to admit I was worried with what they would do to my old pixelated pirate wannabe. I thought I would split this up into two parts, the first for The Secret of Monkey Island, and the second for LeChucks revenge.

Side by Side
So the two biggest things to get excited about are the fact the game has a full voice cast, including Dominic Armato, who has now had his voice in every installment in the Monkey Island series. As always he does a stand out job, all the other roles are voiced fairly  well, I am a bit biased towards some of the voices, but I think it is more to do with the fact that I had my own voices in my mind for years bout how each character should sound, when its the complete opposite, you cant help but feel let down, despite the fact you know no one is to blame.

Familiar faces have had a lift.
 The second 'big thing' is the graphics have been completely overhauled in brand spanking new HD (my, oh my, how that word sells today), while for there era the graphics of the original looked great, they look extremely pixelated and muddy by today's standards. Some of the characters looked a bit odd compared to there original versions. The biggest problem I have with these 'enhancements' to the graphics is that Guybrush looks nothing like he does in the later games, From Cure of Monkey Island onwards he has had a look that they stuck to, I know his meant to be a younger version, but he looks like a slightly retarded brat with a crew cut, instead of the dopey and lovable (I said it!) face he sports in later games, I was instantly let down by this aspect. One feature I did like is the option to switch in and out of 'classic mode' on the fly, meaning if you are playing the game and want to see what the original looked like in that scene you can at the press of a button, great addition!

Same old Monkey Island Charm
Now everyone who played adventure games in the 90's loved the SCUMM engine, and its interface was used in countless games, for the remake I wasn't expecting them to use SCUMM interface for the remake as it feels very outdated, however they did the opposite of what I thought they would do and included a 'right click to change action' interface that was seen in there competitor (Sierra) games during there peak of success, why they did this is utterly beyond me and I really didn't like it, at times it is really annoying to have to scroll through the options to get to what you want, I feel that it should have sported a similar interface to The Curse of Monkey Island, it might sound petty, but it took away from the game quite a bit.

After I got over the small issues with the graphics and the engine, at its core its the same game I know and love and was well worth another play through, if you are a fan, I highly recommend it, if you have never played it, you missed out and should get your hands on it, I love Monkey Island and am glad that not only it is making a comeback, but the genre in general.

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