Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge: Special Edition


Developer: LucasArts
Platform(s): Wii, iPhone, PC, PS3, Xbox 360
Release Date(s): Jul 2009 (Wii, iPhone), Sep 2011 (PC, PS3, Xbox  360)

The traditional pirate adventure, such a bland concept for a game back in the late 80’s. Lucasarts, however, managed to flip the concept on its head by continuously breaking down the fourth wall, encouraging insult trading rather than sword fighting, and having their game abound with rubber chickens with pulleys in the middle. This was The Secret of Monkey Island, a stellar game of unique wit and creative design. Surely, SURELY, they couldn’t follow it up without making a mess of things…and yet, they did. This isn’t the Star Wars prequel trilogy following the original trilogy. This is The Empire Strikes Back following the original film.

The Set-Up:
Following his defeat of the Ghost Pirate LeChuck in the previous game, our protagonist, Guybrush Threepwood, is enjoying the fame of a hero, wandering islands to tell stories of his epic adventures. However, pirates are growing tired of his tales, so he sets out on a new adventure. A quest to find the legendary treasure of the Caribbean, the legendary treasure, Big Whoop! Unbeknownst to him however, there are dark forces at work that plan to stop him at every turn. With voodoo no less.

Following the tradition of every franchise in the world, ever, the second Monkey Island game is a little darker than the original game. There are more cemeteries, zombies and voodoo curses to be contended with. Yet, the game itself is funnier than ever before! It’s a little strange how it manages to be more light-hearted while simultaneously creepier, but there is no complaining to be had. It is clear that the developers are just that bit more confident at this stage.

The gameplay remains the same, it is still very much a point and click adventure, but it is far bigger than it’s predecessor. Whereas you could only explore two islands in the original, you are treated to four islands here, and an off shore hidden fortress to boot. There are at least twice as many characters to talk to. Some familiar faces make a return, such as Stan the used boat salesman, and the ever-wise Voodoo Lady. Every individual is worth talking to because you’re guaranteed to get a laugh out of their banter.

The humour is still a central feature of the game, and it doesn’t disappoint. There are a lot more breaking-down-the-fourth-wall jokes, and if you don’t catch any of the Indiana Jones or Star Wars references, there is something worryingly wrong with your attention span.

The puzzles are thought out better than before, challenging as ever, but they feel more logical. This rectifies the one flaw of the original, in that some of those puzzles just felt a little too random. And although it remains a point and click throughout the game, it doesn’t feel repetitive because the game is dotted with “sort-of” mini games. A personal favourite of mine is the spitting contest which takes place at Mardi Gras. I won’t tell you why it is so essential to win this. You probably wouldn’t believe me if I did.

Overall:

This is such an entertaining game. It doesn’t mess with the formula of the original, so it can’t really be called revolutionary by any means. But everything the original did well, this manages to improve on. The jokes come faster and much wittier than in the original. The pacing is improved by how many little sections there are in the game. And everything is a fresh challenge, and far more fair than the original. The special edition is even an improved version than that of the original, because the voice acting is far superior. There may be a strong sense of nostalgia with this game for me (bear in mind I got it around the time Toy Story came out on VHS), but it is still an invaluable purchase for any newcomer, well worth your ten pieces o’ eight (euro).

Awful Rating: 9.5/10

*after filling a bucket with mud*
“Wow, a whole bucket o’ mud. And it’s mine, ALL MINE!!” – Guybrush Threepwood

Shamelessly Awful Facts:

  • As veterans of this blog should know (all one of ya), I left my copy of Monkey Island in a computer in Enniscorthy Vocational College. What I forgot to mention was that I once took a bus journey there in order to retrieve it, months later. Yup, I wholeheartedly believe that game was worth the extra €12. Shame the school was closed…in July.
  • I played this game before watching Star Wars or Indiana Jones. So, effectively, many of the jokes were somewhat lost on me. However, I did notice the one Sam and Max reference, which few others do.
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