Reviewed: January 23, 2011
Released: December 15, 2010
App Store Price: $2.99
Back in the early 90ís I was working with Ken and Roberta Williams for a little company called Sierra Online helping to make the best adventure games PC gamers had ever seen. While we were all hiding up in the mountain community of Oakhurst, George Lucas was slicing off a piece of his movie empire to create his own game company, and one of those games has proven to be quite enduring, with countless sequels across nearly every gaming platform available.|
Of course I am referring to Monkey Island and the exploits of Guybrush Threepwood, back in a time where you actually had to read your dialogue trees, at least until the advent of CD-ROM and remakes where all the text was replaced with movie-quality dialogue. Guybrush still sails the Seven Seas, even in 2011, thanks to Telltale Games and their unique ability to create serialized adventures. Fans of the Sam and Max series will know what to expect as far as gameplay, graphics, and irreverent humor, but Tales of Monkey Island puts its own witty brand of pirate humor on the genre.
The iPad has already proven more than up to the task for playing this adventure games. What is usually handled with a mouse on a PC can now simply be touched, tapped, or dragged. Telltale doesnít mess around with the formula that made this series a hit. Youíll explore colorful levels, interact and collect objects, then use those objects, often in combination with others to solve puzzles or complete quests. Itís very standard adventure fare and is perfect on the iPad.
Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is the first in this 5-part series that begins with a heated battle between Mighty Pirate Guybrush, his beloved wife Elaine, and their long-time nemesis, the demon pirate LeChuck. When the encounter goes up in flames, Guybrush finds himself marooned on a strange island with winds that always blow inward making escape quite impossible. Guybrush needs to find a way to escape plus learn what has become of LeChuck and Elaine, and cure the infectious voodoo pox that's spreading across the Caribbean, causing Guybrush and other pirates to act like unruly hooligans. Fans of the series will delight in the story that weaves familiar characters like Elaine, Stan, and the Voodoo lady as well as introduce a few new soon-to-be-favorites.
Admittedly, the quest is only about 2-3 hours long, which might seem a bit steep for the $3 price tag and the fact you are likely to be purchasing four more installments for the same money. But even at a $1 per hour, you canít find a better value. The quality writing and excellent voice acting is worth the price of admission, and youíll surely play each chapter more than one.
There are plenty of insider references for long-time fans of the franchise and fresh new jokes for newcomers. Tales of Monkey Island is going to be a great series and I anxiously look forward to each new part as they release.