Tales of Monkey Island Ep. 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay Review (PC)

Posted by Jim Cook, Aug 21, 2009 10:00

When the first episode in this series came out, I had to give myself a hasty primer on the Monkey Island setting; important characters and plot points, things long time fans would want to know, and so on. A few hours of research and one episode later, I was a fan and eagerly awaited the release of the next part in the story.

Thus we have this month’s episode, and it’s easily on par with the first one in terms of length and overall quality. This one improves on a few things, makes a few annoying mistakes, and generally moves the story forward, so it all works out pretty well. When we last left Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate, he was trying to locate his missing wife Elaine, find out what happened to his rival LeChuck, and try to cure a voodoo curse. This episode picks up right where the first one ended, with an unwelcome intruder having Guybrush at swordpoint. From there, it’s up to you to do the usual routine of exploring various locations, gathering items, talking to people, and solving puzzles.

Fortunately, the writing is more amusing this time around. The episode gets off to a bad start by making a seemingly meaningless part of the background a major part of the solution to the very first puzzle, but it gets much better right after that. Most of the puzzles are reasonably intuitive and can be figured out within just a few minutes, or else only need a little nudge in the right direction to get you going. Likewise, the humor is better this time around; where the first episode mostly made me smirk in amusement every so often, there were a few genuine ’laugh out loud’ moments in Siege of Spinner Cay.

On the other hand a few problems do exist and they are significant, but nowhere near severe enough to make this episode bad or unenjoyable. The most obvious of these is that the ’drag-click’ method of moving around is still the main way of getting from one place to another, though admittedly WASD-style controls are available. More troublesome is that a few puzzles are very vague and I admit to having to resort to the ’click everything on everything else’ approach to solving one of them, while another puzzle left me with no clue as to what I needed to accomplish after completing it. It’s also a tad annoying that the game is pretty random about how convenient it wants to be. Sometimes the designers clearly knew what you were going to do next, and have Guybrush do it automatically. Other times, they’ll force you to go through a few minor chores for even mundane things they blatantly knew you were going to do at that point.

Still, those complaints aren’t enough to prevent me from recommending this episode. It provides another three or four hours of decent adventure gaming with characters I’ve come to like, and the plot is moving in some very interesting (and amusing) directions. If this level of quality keeps up, then I hope Telltale will keep ’em coming.

As a very quick aside: I notice that the folks working on these Monkey Island games have started to take some swipes right back at Disney’s Pirates of the Caribbean, in varying degrees of subtlety.

For more video game reviews on this and many others head to Game Rankings

Our Rating for Tales of Monkey Island Ep. 2: The Siege of Spinner Cay Review (PC)
4.0 Replay
Pretty much as linear as most other point and click adventures, and while there are a few things to see if you go exploring, it’s a mostly straightforward affair.
7.0 Graphics
Still colorful and evocative of Guybrush’s silly world just as the first episode was. Yet one or two character models have some visible mistakes and it’s becoming obvious they’re recycling a few models as well.
8.5 Sound
This episode has the same high quality voice work and music as the first, which does a lot to convey its humor.
8.5 Gameplay
The puzzles are oddly a mix of ones better and worse than those in the previous episode, working out to about the same.
0.1 Multiplayer/Online Content
N/A; this is a single-player game.
8.5 Overall
Guybrush’s monthly episodes are starting to go in a rather interesting direction, and fans of the series should enjoy this.

Rating: 5.0, votes: 1

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