Escape From Monkey Island

Escape from Monkey Island is the fifth game in the Monkey Island series. It was the second game to use the GrimE scripting language. I enjoyed Escape from Monkey Island quite a bit. It had it’s share of flaws, but it is still a wonderful game. This game uses an updated version of the interface LucasArts first used in Grim Fandango. I still miss the point and click interface found in the classic LucasArts adventures, but thankfully Escape from Monkey Island has some enhancements that make the game more enjoyable. An addition I enjoyed is the welcome return of combining items in inventory. This has always been a staple of the puzzles in the Monkey Island series, so I was very glad to see that the new interface allowed this.

The storyline in Escape from Monkey Island is one of the things that turned many fans off from the game. There are a lot of contradictions here from the story set forth in the previous games, but I wasn’t concerned at all about these. When you are dealing with a series that is heavily based in voodoo magic and evil curses, it’s not hard to imagine how these plot holes could be realistically resolved in a future installment. The storyline was enthralling, the jokes were funny, and the cutscenes were entertaining. It was great to see LeChuck doing something other than blindly chasing Elaine, and seeing LeChuck’s transformation abilities back in action for the first time since The Secret of Monkey Island was a real treat. It was also nice to see a different villain at center stage for once, with LeChuck playing second fiddle throughout most of the game.

There were only two things that bothered me about this game. First was that it included a few puzzles with strange logic. This was the same hang-up that plagued Grim Fandango. The first time I played through the game, I got through the file sorting puzzle by luck. The swamp time puzzle is the most puzzling of all. I don’t think I would have ever figured it out without consulting a walk-through. The other thing that bugged me was the monkey kombat stages at the end of the game. Unlike the odd puzzles, this was cause for me to almost give up the game in frustration. The sword fighting mini-games in the first and third games were fun, but this game was not fun at all. Having to write down monkey noise combinations to do martial arts moves was tedious, and in the end it didn’t seem rewarding. Thankfully, the monkey kombat parts were short and the final scenes of the game were very cinematic and entertaining, so it didn’t stop my enjoyment of the game too much.

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