The game features plenty of great-looking scenery, memorable characters, and funny dialogue.
Escape from Monkey Island is an offbeat adventure game that's been ported to the PlayStation 2 from the PC version that was released late last year. It's actually the fourth chapter in the Monkey Island series, which originally debuted on the PC more than 10 years ago. Like all its predecessors, Escape from Monkey Island stars Guybrush Threepwood, a pencil-neck pirate also-ran who's pretty smart but not much to look at. In each installment, his misadventures have culminated in a confrontation with the evil pirate LeChuck, who comes back in each game in some ghastlier form, like something out of a horror movie series. That might sound dangerous, but you can't ever die in Escape from Monkey Island--the challenge consists of figuring out what to do next as you stumble through all kinds of bizarre situations. The game features plenty of great-looking scenery, memorable characters, and funny dialogue. However, it's hampered slightly by some of its more nonsensical puzzles, which can be frustrating to solve, and also because of the barrage of Monkey Island in-jokes found in the game, which won't seem so funny if you haven't played the previous games. Fortunately, these shortcomings shouldn't get too much in the way of your enjoying this amusing, clever game.
Escape from Monkey Island begins when Guybrush returns home from a three-month honeymoon at sea with his new wife, Elaine, who happens to be governor of the Tri-Island area, somewhere in the Caribbean. Unfortunately the two of them soon discover that not only has Elaine been declared dead in her absence but also her mansion home is in danger of being torn down. Meanwhile, an arrogant, silver-tongued politician named Charles L. Charles is running for Elaine's "vacated" position. Worse yet, an embittered Australian businessman named Ozzie Mandrill is buying up all of the Tri-Island area's best shops and hang-outs, and turning them into gentrified, soulless tourist traps like StarBuccaneers. And in the midst of all this, a terrible artifact known only as the Ultimate Insult threatens to fall into the wrong hands. Apparently Guybrush and Elaine took a little too much time off for their honeymoon. But now that the damage is done, it'll be up to you and Guybrush to help put a stop to all these various evils, even as you discover the sinister connections between them.
The game takes place in a series of mostly static, prerendered scenes found throughout the Tri-Island area. You control Guybrush using the Dual Shock 2's left analog stick, and as you maneuver him around each area, he'll automatically look in the direction of anything of interest. You'll see text descriptions of these things at the bottom of the screen, and if several are in the same area, you can switch Guybrush's attention between any of them, using the shoulder buttons by default. You can readily examine these things, and you can also try to use them or pick them up. Guybrush can carry an unlimited number of inventory items, and you can call up his inventory at any time and cycle through the various gadgets and doohickeys he happens to be carrying around at the time, in order to ready whichever one will prove useful at that particular time. You can also combine inventory items in some cases. But in all cases, the solutions to Guybrush's problems tend to be pretty specific. Early in the game, he needs to put a stop to the nefarious efforts of a surly one-man demolition crew and his clunky catapult. The solution to this puzzle comes straight out of a Looney Tunes cartoon and sets the tone for most of the game's absurd but often-funny situations. Some of these are funnier in theory: Later in the game, you'll learn the art of Monkey Kombat, a parody of the gory fighting game Mortal Kombat. Yet unlike the fighting game it's based on, Monkey Kombat requires trial and error more than anything else, along with some keen observation. You might be annoyed to find yourself rummaging for a notepad, trying to decipher this and some of the other more obscure puzzles in the game.
Many of the more enjoyable situations in the game involve conversations between Guybrush and other characters. During conversation, you get to choose from any number of available dialogue options to proceed. Some of these are essential to continuing the plot, while others are there to make you laugh but also to help hide the more important ones. You won't necessarily hear all the dialogue the first time through, and since most of the dialogue is well done, there's good incentive to replay the game at least once after you've finished it the first time. The world of Escape from Monkey Island is filled with great characters like Dave, a low-key fellow with an eye patch over not just one but both his eyes, and whose heightened sense of smell happens to be dampened by a common cold when Guybrush runs into him. He's the proprietor of a store that sells prosthetics of all types--not just peg legs! Meanwhile, the Australian Ozzie Mandrill sits haughtily in his home filled with stuffed Australian animals. Examining these yields extremely funny results, and Guybrush can then engage Ozzie in a bout of insult sword fighting--a ridiculous competition that Ozzie dominates, thanks to his foreign accent. Escape from Monkey Island offers up rapid-fire humor, and some of it does fall flat, but there's so much of it that you'll just end up remembering the funnier stuff. It's legitimately good comedy, brought to life by the game's consistently excellent voice acting. Each character's voice is perfectly suited to that character's distinct appearance.
- Player Reviews: 17
- Game Universe:
- Escape from Monkey Island (PS2, MAC, PC),
- Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (PC, MAC, AMI),
- The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition (X360, PC, IP, PS3, MAC),
- Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal (WII, PC, MAC),
- Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay (PC, WII, MAC),
- Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan (PC, WII, MAC),
- Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood (PC, WII, MAC),
- Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate God (WII, PC, MAC),
- Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge (PC, PS3, X360, IP, IP),
- The Secret of Monkey Island (PC, AMI, MAC, SCD, ST, FMT)
- Number of Players: