A classic franchise returns with a long overdue refit, touch-up and tweak. From a time when point and click adventures were vogue and players thrived on the mix of puzzles and humorous narrative this series stood out and firmly lodged itself in the rose tinted memories of anybody that lived through it’s adventures.
I do admit that there is quality behind these games and I acknowledge there are a lot of gamers with a lot of love for the series, personally I am of the viewpoint that this game type has a definitive time and place.
Both of which are round and about 1991.
I love a bit of retro gaming as much if not more than the next guy, but I know what I like and it is fair to say these titles do not fulfil their promise to me. The alleged ‘hilarious’ narrative is often puerile and predictable, never so much as raising a smile. The puzzles, while complex and challenging in terms of logic can often be a frustration and the pace of the whole affair just does not deliver an entertaining experience in this day and age.
The game has certainly benefited from ‘having the decorators in’ and the static backdrops are now quite striking in their style, the hand drawn art style adding some much needed modern day colour to the proceedings. The character models have been overhauled and along with the HD sharpness comes a Disney-esque look, extra animation and a touch more personality.
The control system has been well adapted from the yesteryear point and click interface and having done a good job of avoiding the first Monkey Island game on XBLA, my first hand exposure to the system took no time feeling comfortable. I was using objects alone or together and attaching string to sticks before I could say ‘shiver me timbers’!
Sound wise the game has a reasonable grasp of background noise, where it falls down, grazes both knees and lands in dog mess is with the ridiculously grating voice of your character. Guybrush Threepwood annoys the hell out of me and if it wasn’t thankfully for the skip button I wouldn’t have gotten very far. The reason I feel so strongly is down to the nature of this type of game, there is a lot of narrative and triggering that narrative there are a lot of conversational topics to be explored before you can move things along. Every menu driven question or statement is accompanied by the aurally offensive tones of your character and he revels in being a smartass.
I know that this opinion sounds very negative and that if I don’t get flamed I will probably expect to see a line of pitchfork wielding Monkey Island flag carriers down my street, but this is my problem: It may be pretty, but it does not belong in the modern arena.
This game is nice to look at, but has it’s roots firmly fixed in the ground over a decade ago. Even at 800 MS points, I would struggle to recommend it as a purchase, but that is my lack of rose tinted spectacles talking. The point and click adventure genre may benefit from modern technology even down to the lack of disk swapping, but I challenge modern gamers (first and second timers) to stand up in a crowd and swear that spending time with this game was worthwhile and better than the likes of Read Dead, Demon’s Souls, or any other top hitter of the current generation.
Perhaps it’s time we stopped expecting these retro refits to rekindle those first excitement fuelled steps into gaming and took then for what they are.
Or maybe I just don’t get Ron Gilbert’s sense of humour.