Adventure Games

Tales of Monkey Island

  • Review Date: 2014-04
  • Release Date: 2010-02
  • Developer: Telltale Games
  • Rating: 8.5

After forcing my way through Telltale Games' Sam & Max episodes, I didn't expect they'd do a good job with Monkey Island. But it just goes to show a different subject matter, and they can create something great. Having just played the first two Monkey Islands, the fifth official game has many superior features over the first two - but most notably the story and writing. It's a long game, taking between 10-15 hours over five episodes, but the story is very well done and far, far more detailed than the games that came before it. The comedy was also at a much higher level as well. The LucasArts games weren't really laugh-out-loud funny, but Telltale has more humorous writers. It was actually worth listening to most dialogue, whereas in Sam & Max there was just far too much dribble.

The game uses Telltale's 3D approach, but this time you can use the movement keys, although they are extremely clumsy and one weakness of Tales. But the 3D look isn't necessarily better; the enhanced 2.5D visuals of the early games look just as good.

The other weaknesses are a lacklustre couple of episodes in the middle of the game. While episode 1  and 2 are great, episode 3 takes place almost entirely within a Manatee stomach, while episode 4 returns you to the same island as episode 2, only at night (like that's supposed to make it new) to do a couple hours of boring quests to prove your innocence. Episode 5 gets better but still has way too much back-and-forth. The entire game would have been better if episode 4 was ditched completely, with only the important storyline parts kept and merged into episode 3, which in-turn would have spent far less time in the Manatee stomach.