Game Review: Tales of Monkey Island – Chapter 4: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood
Release: October 29, 2009 (US)
Developer: Telltale Games
Available Platforms: PC, WiiWare
MSRP: PC – $34.95 for Chapters 1-5 (cannot buy individually), WiiWare – 1000 Points per Chapter, or 5000 for the set.
ESRB Rating: Not Rated (PC), E 10+ (WiiWare for Alcohol Reference, Cartoon Violence, Mild Language, Suggestive Themes)
‘The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood’ is the fourth of five episodes in Telltale Games’ episodic grog-drinking game series ‘Tales of Monkey Island’. At last glance, our pirate hero, Guybrush Threepwood, was bound and being taken back to the mad scientist, the Marquis de Singe, by the pirate hunter (that he had mistakenly trusted), Morgan LeFlay. Unfortunately, once Morgan has her payment, Guybrush is served a Voodoo summons that causes him to walk, uncontrollably, to the Pirate Court of Flotsam Island. ON WITH THE TRIAL, uh, I mean REVIEW!!
In this portion of our hero’s adventure, Threepwood is slapped with multiple accusations of offenses that he had a hand in earlier during our adventure. Stan is back (apparently from a previous Monkey Island adventure), and this time, he’s prosecuting you, while selling his ‘Trial of the Century-y-y-y’ memorabilia. At any rate, Guybrush has to use that keen intelligence of his to slap together a defense against these charges and acquit himself so that he can cure everyone of the Pox of LeChuck, which has taken its full effect now. My favorite character, by far, in this episode is Wallace P. Grindstump. He is both the judge of the Pirate Court as well as the owner/operator of Club-41, the pirate bar, not 15-20 paces away. I don’t want to spoil anything, as this episode reveals MANY answers to questions that we have been forming throughout our journey.
Given that this is another chapter in an episodic series of games making up one title, the controls and gameplay are the same as with the prior three chapters of this pirate-y adventure. You move around with either W-A-S-D or Up-Down-Left-Right, as well as left-clicking on objects with the mouse to interact with them. Conversations are still dialog-driven with items in your inventory affecting interactions, so long as you left-click on the item from your inventory (open your inventory by using ‘I’ or moving the mouse all the way right and left-clicking on the pull out tray and selecting the item) and use that item to left-click on the person/object with which you want to interact. ESC still takes you back to the menu and SPACE still pauses the game.
For me, the strengths and weaknesses seemed to even out. First, the strengths. The animation is beautifully done, as always. If your machine can push the higher resolutions (1280×960, I believe, is the max), then you are truly watching an animated movie come to life before your eyes. While it won’t rival anything that Pixar puts out, it’s certainly worth your time. Also, the dialog, while not as funny overall from the earlier episodes, still made me giggle enough to warrant putting it as a strength.
Now for the weaknesses. Maybe it’s just me, but this chapter seemed to absolutely fly. I finished in roughly 3 hours. I may just be starting to get the hang of how these types of games work, though. I’m not saying that this episode is shorter than the others by any means. Another reason why this one flew could be because all of the action takes place on Flotsam Island. A normal person not using a *cough*guide*cough* would likely take quite a few hours to make it through this, especially figuring out the map that you are given later. Another weakness is the tone of the ‘second’ portion of this chapter (once you clear yourself of the charges). Threepwood witnesses and is a part of a couple of starkly negative events that may turn off some of the younger players, so parents be cautioned. Again, I won’t spoil anything for you because this is definitely the climax of the series, in my opinion.
Patrick’s Final Say: As with the previous entries in the series, this chapter had it’s ups and downs. While I think that the ups and downs in this chapter are a bit more even than the chapters before it, this sets the stage for the final chapter, and there certainly has to be a level of conflict, which was one of my personal downers for this chapter. At any rate, this chapter is a MUST PLAY in order to get that level of conflict and plot twists needed to make for a great pirate story.