|Escape From Monkey Island|
|Get ready to laugh yourself silly as we head back to Monkey Island yet again in this latest installment of the long running series, this time in 3D! Read on for a full review!|
|November 7th, 2000|
For as long as I can remember I've loved the Monkey Island games, they've always been about witty humor, colorful graphics, and spectacular sound. It's hard to believe that a series that has been around since 1990 can still retain the same fun and enjoyment that even the original had. It seems that each game in the series improves on the last and Escape from Monkey Island (the 4th game in the long running series) is no exception. This is also the first in the series to get a major upgrade to 3D using an enhanced version of the Grim Fandango engine. Does it do the game justice? You bet it does. Escape from Monkey Island is the best looking game in the series by far.
The story picks up right where it left off in the last game, The Curse of Monkey Island. Guybrush Threepwood and his new bride Elaine Marley are returning from their 3 month honeymoon and find something is amiss on Mélee Island. It turns out that they've been gone so long that the Government has presumed Elaine dead at sea and to make matters worse there is an order out to destroy the Governer's Mansion. It's all up to Guybrush now, using his clever witty remarks and pirate "wannabe" attitude he must gather up a crew of half-wit pirates using any means necessary (including Insult ArmwrestlingTM) and sail across the Caribbean in an attempt to stop the Mansion from being destroyed and help Elaine get back to the world of the living.
The most noticable difference in this game compared to the others in the series is that it's now in 3D. Characters and environments come alive with great attention to detail that we've come to expect from the talented developers at LucasArts. There are also a lot of cutscenes that play throughout the game that help tell the story, they're well done and are wide spread enough that they don't become a bother. The story in the game is great, you'll love watching it play out as you go and you'll always wonder that's next. You see, with Monkey Island everything is a surprise. Comedy is what Monkey Island has always been about and the 3D engine helps make the characters even more zany and wacky looking then ever before. My biggest fear with the game moving to 3D was that the series could be flawed somehow like others that have made the jump. My fears were put to rest when I saw that the game consists of 3D characters on 2D backdrops, similar to the Resident Evil series. In the end this works out great and there are never any bad camera angles that tend to flaw games that are built around a full 3D engine.
Sounds in this game are exceptional. Voice-overs couldn't be any better and deliver every joke and witty remark perfectly. Everything in this game is spoken aloud, and you'll be surprised to find out just how much sound is actually in this game. There are hours and hours of spoken dialogue and this is what brings the jokes to life... it's all in the delivery and in Escape from Monkey Island, it's perfect. Music is also very well done. Each musical score enhances every environment and some are even catchy. The music, as well as, sounds has always been a big part of these games for me.
Controls are the only bad issue I've encountered with this game. The setup reminds me a lot of Resident Evil. You use the arrow keys to walk forward/back and turn left/right and run with the shift key. It does take awhile to turn Guybrush around which does tend to get annoying at times, a key to turn 180 degress instantly would've been nice. Also when you walk towards areas that are blocked you'll turn and face another direction automatically. This is sometimes frustrating when there are objects to interact with and you can't seem to get to them as easy as you would like. Running isn't always the best either, but unlike the Resident Evil games you can't die so you don't need to worry about running to get away from someone. These are really only minor issues though, in general the controls are great.
Fans of the series will absolutely love Escape from Monkey Island. You'll have a blast playing through this game and exploring everything there is to explore. There are so many things to do and so many jokes and remarks that just have to be heard. There are hours of laughs to be had with this title and it's hard to imagine a funnier game experience. I'd recommend this one to anyone who is a fan of adventure games, and while you're out pick up the others in the series as well, you won't be disappointed.
The good points: hours of spoken dialogue with exceptional voice-overs, great story as you'd expect, more laughs then a barrel of monkeys, it's Monkey Island!
The bad points: controls are a little awkward and annoying at times
Review by Mark Dillon
Video Gamer Guy