Escape from Monkey Island PS2 Review

Guybrush Ulysses Threepwood™ is back! The now famous pirate, not so good wooer and one of the worst monkey translators (despite all his trips to Monkey Island™) has returned and this time he’s in “Scurvy-Inducing 3D”. More you ask? Then look down…

Graphics

Finally we see the ultimate puzzle/adventure game go into 3D on the PS2. The characters are very well animated in some of the video sequences for its time (06/11/2000). Although there are not that many graphic glitches in the game, you may be able to see part of Guybrush’s™ body go invisible for a second or two. Even the general character movement has had attention and now we don’t get that phasing through the floor effect we are so used to with other games of its time. Some of the videos have lots more detail put into them than others, such as the opening boat scene, the return to Melee Island™ and the secret about Charles L Charles™.

Guybrush™ is always clear when you’re running unless you are on the world map feature, which is done with average graphics. One nice touch to the graphics in this game is that when you are running you can see the background very clearly instead of things like mountains just suddenly appearing out of nowhere.

Gameplay

If this is the first time you have ever played a monkey island™ game I suggest that you read this section very carefully. Guybrush Ulysses Threepwood™ washed up on the shores of Melee Island™ many years ago. He had nothing on him except a goofy name and a strong urge to become a pirate. It was wanting to be a pirate that led him to the love of his life, Elaine Marley™. Unfortunately the evil pirate captain LeChuck™ also wanted her hand in marriage. Elaine was never really fond of Guybrush™, as his pirate skills were terrible to be kind. It was defeating an evil pirate captain, an evil pirate captain ghost, an evil pirate captain zombie and an evil pirate captain demon from heck (all conveniently one person) that finally won Elaine’s heart.

The demon zombie ghost pirate captain I referred too above is none other than LeChuck™. Guybrush™ finally stopped this ultimate resurrected pirate permanently by burying him beneath a mountain of ice on Monkey Island. Or did he…

Now I mention Monkey Island™ here and I think you might be asking why the game is named this. Well its because Guybrush™ keeps ending up there against his will and Monkey Island™ holds more secrets than you could ever dream of. After marrying Elaine and going on a fabulous three month holiday (well maybe not fabulous but Guybrush’s™ sense of enjoyment is different from others), Guybrush™ and Elaine return to Melee Island™. They find an Australian real estate developer has taken over almost the entire town by buying up the houses. After asking about they find that this man is extremely good at insult something or other (Insult sword fighting, insult arm wrestling etc), that he is actually the best at this and that he has never been beaten. He challenges someone to a game of insult something or other then beats them and the person is so ashamed they sell their house to him and move away.

This brave couple also find out that while Elaine was away City Hall declared her dead at sea and sold all her possessions and ordered her mansion destroyed. It is then they find out that the town hall also are holding a new election to find a new governor, yet there is only one candidate – Charles L Charles™.

After completing a mission on Melee Island™, which will take a long time for the people new to the complex Monkey Island™ series, you have to go to Lucre Island™ to stop the mansion’s destruction. While on Lucre Island™ you will have to complete numerous missions, which will take a very very long time to figure out how to complete, if you are not using a guide. I would not recommend using a guide as it takes all of the fun out of solving the plot. Each puzzle must be solved piece by piece, sometimes having to complete a different mission just to find some needed information. Just remember that in this game there are lots of items to pick up and every single one of them (except a weird prosthetic creation which I’m not going into detail on) must be used in the game. If you get stuck on a puzzle then you are missing a key item needed for it but there are many parts of this game that will actually require some knowledge that you are just going to have to make a completely random guess at. With a lot of items there are a lot of different things you can do with them; however, if you are not meant to do it then Guybrush™ is going to tell you so don’t worry about accidentally putting a duck in a perfume bottle. It is always worth trying everything with everything, however, otherwise you are not going to get anywhere.

The controls in this game are simpler than the last Monkey Island™ game in which you had to use a keyboard to click on an item; this was harder than it sounds. In this game we delve into the world of analog movement on a Monkey Island™ game. Now you don’t have to use analog but if you don’t you will find Guybrush™ will only walk and will not run. The only way to make him run is by using the analog so get used to joysticks because it’s the only way you’re getting through this game in less than a decade. In order to choose an item to either pick up, use or look at you will have to press the R1 and R2 buttons to scroll through the list of available items in that point. The available items will flash up on screen in text so if something comes up that you think might be important find the space the text came up in. The controls make take a bit of practising with first but in about act 2/3 you should have completely mastered them.

One interesting feature to this game is MONKEY COMBAT! This is kind of like a side game but you have to play it and win about 5 times before you can actually advance in the game! This can be very hard to learn but you have to keep at it. Remember to listen carefully to Guybrush’s™ tone of voice because it will sometimes change to a very funny tone in some situations. Guybrush™ is also always cracking jokes so watch out for them.

Being able to save at any time in the game is always good and it means that you can save right next to a puzzle so you don’t have to go all the way back from a save point.

Sound

The characters each have a cool voiceover in this game, which makes them that little bit more realistic. The background music is very jolly and what you would maybe expect from pirate towns. The music seems to fit perfectly into the scene most of the time though there are some parts where it is just neutral music or the main theme. There are sound effects as well so just keep your ears open for the slightest sound that may give you a clue; or, of course, it may be completely random.

Lifespan

With its massive amount of puzzles and crucial mini games Escape From Monkey Island™ is going to take you at least 1 month playing constantly but without using a guide for puzzle masters. For anyone who is not used to playing puzzles this game should probably take in the area of 3 – 6 months.

Lots of games these days are very repetitive but puzzle games are usually never repetitive because there are over 100 puzzles in each game with this one as no exception. If you have a lot of spare time on your hands I would not recommend playing this constantly because you are most likely to become bored of it because the puzzles can be so insane!

When first playing this game myself it took me 2 months longer than expected because I could just not get past MONKEY COMBAT! On MONKEY COMBAT! I would suggest taking a week break off it then going back and trying again otherwise you might never go back too it!

There are about 3 parts in the game, which become very boring after a few weeks of constantly getting the same puzzle wrong. If you get stuck for more than 3 weeks I would recommend finding a guide and only reading the bit you need to know so you don’t spoil the game.

Overall

This game is one fantastic play and is definitely worth buying. If you are going to buy it then take it back to the shop when you’re done and hopefully be in the time limit so you get a full refund then you can expect to be about halfway through act 1/3 when your time is up. Everyone should still play this and you never know, if you keep it in good condition you just might sell it on E-bay. Finding another game of such quality on the market is highly unlikely and the only games I can think of that are even worth playing in the same genre are in the Broken Sword series which should keep you busy for at least a week. You can get this game at great prices from the Internet brand new because of its ancient release date but this does not mean it isn’t a great game so happy playing.

9 out of 10
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