From The Archive is a series that takes articles written by Jennifer McMurray in the past and presents them here on MIC News for a new audience.
Tales of Monkey Island is available for modern computers on Steam and on GOG.com.
This review was originally written for Associated Content on February 24, 2010. It was posted on The Adventuress on July 2, 2014.
In this game, the plot thickens, as is evidenced by the name of the episode. Guybrush finds himself having to go to court for his crimes, and a voodoo subpoena keeps him from fleeing the island, similar to the voodoo anklet in Escape from Monkey Island. Things are not as straightforward as they seem though, as the trial is only part of the story. The storyline here is the highlight of the season so far.
At this point, if you’ve been playing the series since the beginning, whichever method you chose should be second nature. But if this is your first time experiencing the Tales of Monkey Island, there are three control methods to choose from. The first control method is direct control with a keyboard or a joystick, and the second is a combination of a keyboard for movement and a mouse for selecting objects. The third option is a little more cumbersome, it’s known as the click and drag method. With it you click on Guybrush and drag him to where you wish to go, and then let go of him to select an object to interact with. Then when you want to move Guybrush, you have to click and drag him again.
Enough good things can’t be said about Michael Land’s soundtrack in every Monkey Island game. It continues to shine here, and although it’s synthesized instead of using live instruments, it fits the mood of the game perfectly. The recurring cast members continue to do a terrific job, and Kevin Blankton once again turns in a terrific performance as the human form of LeChuck. We get to see some returning characters, such as D’Oro, the pirate collecting pirate from the first game. I didn’t find him that interesting in the first game, and unfortunately not much has changed here.
The new characters are a bit of the mixed bag. The judge and bartender of Club 41, Wallace Grindstump, is interesting, but the new female character, Bosun Krebs, is not. On the other hand, Nikki Rapp turns in an excellent performance in this game, as her character’s current emotional state shows in her voice. Alexandra Boyd’s performance of Elaine inflicted with the pox of LeChuck is hilarious, and the scene where the two women in Guybrush’s life finally meet is great. The human LeChuck is an interesting character as always, and Alison Ewing performs her role as the Voodoo Lady with such conviction it’s as if she’s been doing the role throughout all the games. As in the last game, there is one popular character that makes a return here. Unlike the previous character, his appearance here is more of the same, but for fans of the character that shouldn’t be a problem. One positive note is that his voice actor puts in the best vocal performance of the character in the series so far. Additionally, Telltale seems to have ironed out the problems affecting the second episode completely by this point. The similarities of the character models can no longer be seen, and Telltale kept the returning characters who were a bit too generic, so even they blend in here.
The fourth episode is the best episode of the season so far, despite a few boring characters. The new character of Wallace Grindstump is entertaining, and the returning character from the previous game is on character, even if there’s nothing new for him in this game. The main cast members of Tales of Monkey Island perform their roles wonderfully as always, with Alexandra Boyd as the poxed Elaine a clear standout. It’s the storyline of this game that puts it heads and heels above the others. It will leave both Guybrush and the player re-evaluating the relationships between the recurring characters in the series.
4½ out of 5