Throwback Thursday Review – Tales of Monkey Island: Episode 1 – Launch of the Screaming Narwhal

Oh PS Flash Sales, how I have this love/hate relationship with you. You dangle these games in front of me with a price tag of only $0.99 always tempting me to buy, but then I get to play the game and then realize why the game was priced at $0.99 to begin with. I picked up this game along with Back to the Future and a couple of other games during the same sale, and playing Back to the Future should have given me some kind of indication of what this game was going to be like. You would think I learn from these kinds of mistakes, but I don’t so I got sucked into playing yet another episodic adventure from Telltale and here’s what I thought about the first episode.

The fifth installment of the Monkey Island series, this game was released as an episodic adventure rather then a complete game and follows the continuing adventure of Guybrush Threepwood, a wannabe pirate who was turned into an actual pirate even though he’s dimwitted at best. Guybrush seems to have it all in the beginning of the episode, but that damn LeChuck just won’t give up. LeChuck steals Guybrush’s wife, I say good riddance to the annoying wife, and in other events causes Guybrush to accidentally release a voodoo pox. This first episode takes place on Flotsam Island where Guybrush must try to find a way to stop this voodoo pox and find the cause of the winds not allowing ships to ever leave Flotsam Island.

While the actual story of the game and the way the game progress’s is enjoyable, there’s just something about it that left a sour taste in my mouth. I think it has a lot to do with the whole static nature of the game. Instead of making this a more adventure type game, this is a very basic point and click puzzle solving game. I understand that the game wanted to stay true to the original series, but it should also be understood that at a certain time games need to progress and reinvent themselves. The two hours that it took to play this episode soon became tedious making the episode as a whole less enjoyable.

The movements of this game as well as the playability as a whole were extremely stiff and awkward most of the time making the game less and less enjoyable as time progressed. Nothing seemed to flow smoothly from movements to the solving of the puzzles, everything just seemed stiff. Of course this game also had its fair share of loading issues along with a couple of glitches here and there.

A winning feature of this episode was the graphics. They fit perfectly into the whole Monkey Island series and enhanced the game as a whole. The graphics were the one thing that made playing this episode a little more enjoyable as each scene and area was vibrant and full of detail.

Yay trophies?? Not really. While there are 11 trophies for this episode, this is yet another game where you have to play a certain way in order to get all of the trophies. This doesn’t really matter all that much since this isn’t really a decision based game, but I think in this case the trophies sometimes ruin the experience of playing especially if you realize that you missed something half way in and you’re going to have to go back and play again.

As with any other Telltale game there was no multiplayer.

Overall I give this episode a 3 out of 5

What’s Great:
+ Interesting story that pulls you in.
+ Great graphics that are fitting to the series.
+ Good writing making the game and characters enjoyable.

What’s Not So Great:
Awkward and stiff movements.
Tries to be an adventure game, but is still just a point and click game.

While I enjoyed this series as a whole a little bit more then Back to the Future, I still think that this earlier game of Telltale’s was still a little tedious to play and really not up to par with their later games. While it’s nice to see a company progress, my wallet doesn’t really like it all that much and I would suggest only picking this series up if you can find it on sale or if you’re a Monkey Island fan.

Next week I’ll be letting you know what I thought of the second installment of this episodic adventure, The Seige of Spinner Cay. I will say that in this episode comes the introduction of one of my favorite characters for this whole game Morgan LeFlay. I enjoyed this character way more then I did Elaine and secretly hoped that Guybrush would end up with her. I know, I know, scandalous!

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