July 8, 2001
Escape From Monkey Island - Review
Release Date Publisher Developer Players Rating Price
Online Gameplay Difficulty Save Size Vibration 60Hz 50Hz Border
NoMedium505 KBYesNoNone

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Now that's an interesting class.
If you were to ask PC owners which has been there favourite adventure series over the years it wouldn't be a surprise to see LucasArts' Monkey Island games near the top of the list. The offbeat humour and wit in the games is second to none and the sales of the PC version were suitably impressive. Escape From Monkey Island is the fourth game in the series and was actually released on the PC almost a year ago now. This is the first time the legendary series has been released on a console, and Playstation 2 owners should get set for some great fun. This is quite possibly the most exciting and humorous adventure games in years, but it's not like too many other console games. The graphics are extremely cartoony, the hero uses a sword rather then machine guns, and yes, he has a name that sounds like some sort of disease.

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Ahhh... The good old grog machine.
The story for Escape From Monkey Island is as follows; When perennial pirate-wannabe Guybrush Threepwood (that's you, with the very sad name) and his new bride, Governor Elaine Marley-Threepwood, return to Melee Island, they find out Elaine has been declared dead, the Governor's mansion is to be torn down and a slick-yet-hauntingly-familiar politician is about to take Elaine's job. Your task is to find out who is behind the evil happenings on Melee Island and stop them. It's a pretty good storyline with plenty of twists and turns as well as a lot of great humour thrown in for good measure.

LucasArts have already had a hit on the Playstation 2 with Star Wars: Starfighter which is a stunning game. Lucas Learning (a branch of the Lucas company) have released Super Bombad Racing.
Escape From Monkey Island has removed the point-and-click style from the earlier PC games and replaced it with a more console friendly version. The left analogue control is used to move the character while the right analogue stick is used to select the automatic options and actions. Actually playing the game is very enjoyable with a laid-back sort of atmosphere to it all. At times unfortunately the game seems to drag a little too much especially during some of the conversations and you'll wish they'd just get to the point. Still, if you enjoyed the original PC games then the familiarity and light heartedness of the game should win you over.

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The towns have a great cartoon look.
Any adventure game requires some good puzzle solving skills to complete, and Escape From Monkey Island is no exception. Unfortunately the developers seem to have also gone back to the hair pulling stupidity of solving puzzles. At times you will be totally stumped until you try something totally from left field which will solve the problem. This is old school type puzzle solving where your brains are looking for logical solutions, but often it's the illogical that is required. No Mr Spock's here please. Aside from the obscurity of some of the puzzles there is little else to gripe about with this game. Perhaps the biggest problems is that as with most PS2 titles the game suffers from some load times, but they are usually fairly minor and rarely last more then a few seconds.

With the exception of a couple of developers (SNK, Capcom & Treasure are prime examples) the sprite based video and computer game has pretty much been left by the wayside. Sadly, LucasArts have also decided to move to Resident Evil styled graphics (that being 3D polygon characters on pre-rendered backgrounds) removing much of the charm of the original games. As you would expect the backgrounds in Escape From Monkey Island are extremely detailed, and the animation of Guybrush, as well as the other characters, is quite superb. Unfortunately, the move to 3D polygon based characters has also resulted in the removal of some of the small animation and facial touches that was associated with the characters when they were still 2D sprites. The question has to be asked, why change?

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Is this an audition for Karate Kid?
One of the most impressive aspects of this game is the sound, it's brilliant. Be it the music, the speech or the sound effects LucasArts have really put in a lot of effort to create and outstanding atmosphere. If only other developers had speech this funny and well voiced there would be a lot more happy gamers out there. The one minor niggle is that at times the speech goes a little out of time with the lips on the characters.

You know, one thing that pisses me off these days is the amount of toilet humour on television shows claiming to be comedies. Why can't TV writers have a look at a game like Escape From Monkey Island to see what good comedy is all about. It's clean, but it's also tremendous fun and anyone with a sense of humour should enjoy this game immensely. The graphics, the action, the puzzles and the voices all combine to create one of the most enjoyable titles on the Playstation 2 this year. Prepare yourself for one great adventure.

Graphics Sound Gameplay Value Overall






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