Tales of Monkey Island Ep. 3: Lair of the Leviathan Review (PC)

Posted by Jim Cook, Sep 30, 2009 08:15

Tales of Monkey Island has been a departure from Telltale’s normal episodic adventures; rather than having five or six separate stories coming together toward the end of the ’season’, Guybrush’s adventure tells one consistent story from one chapter to the next. When we last left off, the mighty pirate had to come to terms with some unusual twists in his normal life (if one can call it that) and was doing well enough at continuing his quest for La Esponja Grande, which he needs to cure his disease as well as that of others in the region.

Unfortunately, he didn’t cope very well with being eaten by a giant manatee. Episode 3 picks up right after that and let you take control of Guybrush Threepwood within the belly of the beast. He’s not the only survivor however, and you’ll meet a pretty diverse cast as you work on finding your way out of what amounts to a massive biological cave. There’s even a hilarious guest appearance that long-time fans of the series are going to love, but I wouldn’t dream of spoiling who exactly it is. What follows next is more of the core game play you’ve come to expect from the previous episodes; you use WASD keys or mouse drag-clicking to move about the world, gathering items, talking to people, and solving various logic puzzles to advance the story. Like most adventure titles, the game isn’t truly engaging as something you intently play; it’s more a vessel to deliver the story’s humor, but thanks to excellent presentation that’s just fine.

For the most part, the puzzles in this chapter remain fairly intuitive. Combined with moving the plot forward in some interesting ways and giving you some genuinely laugh-out-loud moments when you talk to certain characters, it’s fair to say that Tales keeps up the same high standard the last two episodes had. The only real problem is there are a few puzzles whose solutions will not likely occur to you even with the hints provided, and a few others suffer from very bad stage design. A fair amount of the episode takes place in dark areas, and two important puzzle items simply won’t be noticed unless you go ’pixel hunting’ with your mouse. My strongest advice to the folks at Telltale would be to avoid this in the future; don’t put important things in areas with poor color contrast.

While those issues are significant, they are in the minority. Most of the episode is funny, well laid out, and should keep you busy for anywhere from three to five hours. If you enjoyed the last two episodes, this is more of the same but that’s a good thing; aside from a few design flaws this is a solid adventure game, and considering it’s only around $8 to $10 (depending on how and where you buy it), that’s a good deal.

Post-review Note: Stick around for the credits when you finish this episode. They’re hilarious this time around!

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

Our Rating for Tales of Monkey Island Ep. 3: Lair of the Leviathan Review (PC)
4.0 Replay
As linear as the other episodes, there are a few silly things you can do on the side, but I can’t imagine replaying the whole thing any time soon.
6.5 Graphics
Most environments look fine, but there are a few places where bad visual layout and too much darkness make a couple of puzzles harder than they needed to be. Of note, Telltale seems to be getting better at not recycling character models.
9.0 Sound
The series continues its excellent voice acting and variety of good music, plus a hilarious performance by a special guest character puts this over the top.
8.0 Gameplay
Most of the puzzles are reasonably intuitive; only a few will present any major problems. The story is also coming together quite nicely.
0.0 Multiplayer/Online Content
N/A; this is a single-player game.
8.0 Overall
A worthy addition to the season, with only a few flaws that I hope will be avoided in the remaining episodes.

Rating: 0.0, votes: 0

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