maanantai 14. helmikuuta 2011

REVIEW - Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (1991)

Genre(s): Adventure
Released: 1991
Available on: Amiga, MAC, PC
Developer(s): LucasArts

Publisher(s): LucasArts
Players: 1

I'd so like to be critical towards it, I'd so like to pick every single minimal flaw and make a humongous deal out of it just to fuck with the system, but there's just no way around it; when Ron Gilbert & Co. were working on Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge, they harvested each and every error of judgement they made with the previous game. They came up with perhaps the funniest and most surreal dialogue in any game, ever. Every single puzzle in the game might not be very logical, and it ends somewhat abruptly, but from every other possible angle, Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is the best game of its kind - a masterpiece.

Don't fuck with LeChuck

Guybrush Threepwood travels the Caribbean in search of the fabled treasure of Big Whoop, promoting himself as the mighty pirate who defeated LeChuck and having LeChuck's beard with him at all times as proof of his greatest accomplishment in life. Guybrush's ego turns against him, when he crosses paths with Largo LaGrande, LeChuck's right hand man. Largo easily manages to steal Guybrush's trophy and resurrect his former boss, since all it needs to bring such true evil back to life is one piece of living tissue from his body. In spite of his zombified arch nemesis breathing down his neck, Guybrush continues his treasure hunt and almost reunites with his lost love.

Not a very sanitary joint, but the only bar in
I find it very hard to come up with stuff to say about Monkey Island 2, since I reviewed its Special Edition for the PlayStation 3 a long time ago, and because it's the kind of game that needs to be played; I know some people don't understand how a simple SCUMM game can be notably better than every other game of its kind, since they're all more or less identical when it comes to gameplay - the first two Monkey Island games, Indiana Jones and the Fate of Atlantis and Day of the Tentacle - they all utilize a similar version of the engine. It's the world, the atmosphere, the characters, the dialogue, the puzzles - simply the best LucasArts quality money can buy. Monkey Island 2 is one adventure game I simply cannot get enough of.

The graphical style of the game ranges from extremely dark to extremely light in a heartbeat. The occasionally gloomy look of the game contrasts its non-stop slapstick humour in a deliciously surreal way. The environmental design is pure genius. The music is a bit more ambient than it was in the previous game; it's a good solution considering that you'll inevitably be spending several minutes standing in the same spots, but I kind of miss memorable music. The alternate mix of the Monkey Island theme song is freakin' groovy.

Monkey Island 2 is a very non-linear game which defies the usual restrictions of the genre. There are no optional puzzles, but you can pretty much do stuff within one chapter, or act, in any order you want. After the first act, you can actually travel freely between three different islands. Your main objective in the game is to find four pieces of a treasure map, held by four pirates that have been missing for years, all the while wondering what that crazy zombie ghost pirate LeChuck is up to, now that he's returned - after all, the game is called LeChuck's Revenge.

The final battle is a unique combination of
wedgies, voodoo dolls and dead parents. Et
I've completed Monkey Island 2 more times than it has really been necessary, and I know its puzzles and even most of the dialogue by heart. I'm trying to return to the time I hadn't beaten it yet. Yes, I think the game was quite hard, if you didn't play on the Monkey Lite level, the "difficulty level for game critics". Most of the game's puzzles are very logical, even in the dumb fashion of the previous game, but a few of them are admittedly plain stupid; I don't know what was going through the designers' heads. The "final battle" is extremely tricky and even frustrating; of course you can't die, but you need a quick mind and quick reflexes to be able to win the very lengthy and complex puzzle. What you'll receive as a reward for your hard work is one of the most abrupt and surreal game endings ever, which some consider disappointing. Maybe it was a bit disappointing 20 years ago when we had no idea if there ever was to be a Monkey Island 3, but I've always loved it.

Yes, it has flaws. So does Final Fantasy VII, so does Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas, so do a lot of more games which I would deem perfect of their kind without a shadow of a doubt. Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge is exactly that; a perfect adventure game, almost matched by its successor, but there's just a certain magic to it that cannot be competed against.

Graphics : 9.3
Sound : 8.5
Playability : 9.7
Challenge : 9.2
Overall : 9.6


GameRankings: 89.60%

World of Monkey Island has an extensive list of all of the game's numerous references to pop culture.

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