Escape from Monkey Island

Brief Description

Once again, you take up your sword as Guybrush Threepwood, one of the greatest pirates to sail the Tri-Island area. You must face new enemies, learn new skills and find how to Escape from Monkey Island.

The Monkey Island games are best described as light-hearted fluff. There are evil villians including the zombie ghost pirate demon from heck, Le Chuck. There is a new face though, that of Ozzie Mandrill, the Australian who wants to rid the tri-island area of pirates. He's looking for the Ultimate Insult and that can't be good.

This is a LucasArts game. The music, the scenery, the voices and the storyline are all that you would expect from this company, in a word, excellent. The game engine is similar to the one used for Grim Fandango. Being the fourth Monkey Island game, it does rework some music from previous games to include in this one. And some of the characters in this game have been in the other games.

Game play

The interface for the game is really quite simple. The arrow keys are used to move forward, backward and turn left or right. When Guybrush is close enough or facing the correct direction, his head will snap toward that object and you'll be able to interact with it. You'll get a list of choices at the bottom of the screen. Page up or page down to the object of your choice. There are default things you can do with this object, but you can also choose to do something different as well. That is just as simple as pressing the p key to pickup the object rather than look at it, or press the e key to look at someone rather than talk to them.

This basic interface does mean that Guybrush must get close enough to an object to notice it. Sometimes you may have to try several times before you'll be able to look at or use the object. This can be quite important, like trying to pick up items that have been confiscated. Also finding the directions that you can use as exits can be a bit difficult. Be sure to try edges of the screen where there is nothing obvious blocking you, sometimes you may go further in one direction than you may think.

This game has many things that you can do for fun, but you won't have to do to complete the game. There are advantages to this, you don't need to choose every option from every conversation to complete the game. Talking to people on Lucre Island is a good example of this. You don't need to talk to some of them, but you might find what they have to say interesting.

The Insult Fighting in this game is a bit different from the previous Monkey Island games, you should take some notes as you learn the new combat.

Gripes about the game

It can be difficult to move Guybrush around sometimes. He will get too close to the edge of something (like a stairway) and not be capable of going forward for no obvious reason. This can be worse if he is partially behind an object, so you have trouble seeing him.

There is a sequence in the game where you must accomplish a task in a very short time frame and you need to climb a small set of stairs to get there. Trying to run and orient correctly to the stairs is very difficult. Fortunately you can try any number of times, but it can be frustrating to get to another room then have insufficient time to complete the task.

Conclusion Escape from Monkey Island

It is a classic adventure game from Lucas Arts. If you haven't tried any of the games yet, this is perfectly acceptable as a starting point. The game is appropriate for any member of the family with the patience to play. There are a few mildly risque jokes, but those are not likely to be noticed by younger members of the family.

This is the fourth Monkey Island game, but you do not need to have played the others to enjoy this one. You might miss a few of the jokes, but you'll still find that it is an entertaining game.

As typical with adventure games from this company, you'll find that the puzzles are pretty fair, and you get multiple tries to solve any situation. There are times when you have to notice a pretty small item on the screen. There are times when you'll have to do a sequence of actions fairly quickly. But you will get several times to try to get it right.

From LucasArts

Some final thoughts on the game.

Guybrush mentions at one point that he has an unbreakable five game contract. Since this is the fourth Monkey Island game, we can but hope that he is right. Reviews of Monkey Island 1 and Curse of Monkey Island.

If you want to find older LucasArts games, go to their site and browse the archive section of the store. They have released a number of older games in various collections. They are one of the few companies who recognise that some people want to play good games, not just bleeding edge games.