Review

Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal (PS3)

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Tales of Monkey Island is divided into five chapters, each continuing the story from the previous chapter and each perfect to play in one sitting of between two to four hours. The first episode is titled ‘The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal’ and sees Guybrush Threepwood, the famous Mighty Pirate, facing his arch nemesis, the evil demon pirate Le Chuck, once again. Threepwood is seeking to rid the world of Le Chuck for good and save his wife Elaine, who has become Le Chuck’s hostage.

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Except this time Threepwood get’s the voodoo spell for the cutlass that he must use to defeat Le Chuck slightly wrong. After some hasty improvising he turns Le Chuck into a human and some of Le Chuck’s voodoo infects his hand, giving it a nasty green appearance before it blasts him off the ship. Threepwood washes up on Flotsom Island and must now find a way to escape, rescue Elaine and save the Caribbean from the infectious voodoo pox that is now swirling above the island. There are just a few small problems standing in his way to becoming the hero: he doesn’t have a ship, the winds only blow inwards, and the voodoo pox has begun to infect some of the inhabitants of Flotsam Island.

You’ll have to explore the island, collecting items along the way and meeting the interesting inhabitants to move towards the goal of escaping the island. Speaking to the inhabitants may reveal clues but you can choose to speak to each as much or as little as you like. In addition to exploring, you’ll have to solve puzzles in order to progress in the game. With a little thinking out of the box and the innovation to combine what may at first appear to be random items in your inventory, you’ll be on your way in no time at all.

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If you’ve ever played a Monkey Island game before you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about, but if you’re new to the series, welcome, and let me explain a little further by giving a quick example. Guybrush needs fizzy rootbeer to complete the spell on the Cursed Cutlass of Kaflu and defeat Le Chuck, but he’s all out of rootbeer. No problem, if you check your inventory you’ll discover some breathmints – pop them into the barrel of grog and voila, it’s fizzy! But you still need to convert it into rootbeer…any ideas? Why not head over to Chuck the Plant, cut off one of his extra long roots and pop the root into the fizzy grog, giving you fizzy rootbeer!

It’s this kind of innovative puzzling that will keep you ‘rooted’ to your seat, and while you may scratch your head from time to time, when you do solve the puzzle things will fall into place very cleverly. At first you may wonder why you might possibly need a particular item but as you progress in the game things will become clearer and you will discover its purpose, however obscure or wonderfully wacky it may be, such as a wheel of cheese or a U-Tube.

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Humour has always gone hand in hand with the Tales of Monkey Island series, and this chapter is no different. You will no doubt find yourself chuckling at Threepwood’s witty remarks and you’ll also enjoy the humourous banter between the characters. You’ll also enjoy exploring the town and island, which is as vibrantly colourful as the characters are.

My advice is to set sail for the Caribbean right away, you won’t regret the time you spend solving puzzles with this cast of characters in yet another well-polished title from Telltale Games. And you definitely won’t get tired of the fantastic pirate jokes either! Arrg!

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