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THE GATEWAY » volume C niimlK*r I 




Tales doesn’t Monkey around 

Telltale Games revives an old fan favourite while adding sweet 3D graphics 



gamereview 

Tales of Monkey Island, 
Chapters One and Two 

Published by Telltale Games 
Developed by Telltale Games 
Now available on PC at 
www.telltalegames.com 

LUCAS W AGNER 
Online Editor 

It's been nearly a decade since the 
golden age of poim-and-click adven¬ 
ture games. Titles like Maniac 
Mansion, Full Throttle, and Loom 
were once commonplace: games 
which eschewed video-card-pushing 
special effects in favour of engaging 
storylines and brain-busring puzzles. 

One of the most [topular franchises 
of the era was the Monkey Island 
series, chronicling wannabe pirate 
Guybrush Tlireepwood's quest to 
seek Mighty Piratehood, defeat the 
Ghost Zombie Demon Pirate LeChuck, 
and win the heart of Elaine Marley. 
Governor of the Tri-Island Area. With 
witty dialogue, plots which saiiriz.ed 
both pop culture 3nd pirate culture, 
and professional-grade voice acting in 
the later installments, Mortice) Island 
was a fan favourite. 

But tastes clianged in PC gaming 
once the 2000s rolled around: first- 
person shooters became dominant 
once improved graphics cards made 
3D available to the masses. Adventure 
gaming went into decline, and 


I ucasArts — creators of the Monkey 
Island franchise — put the series to 
bed in favour of creating more Star 
Wars games. Until now. that is. 

Earlier this summer, LucasArts 
licensed Monkey Island to Telltale 
Games — a company dedicated to the 
revival of the adventure gaming genre, 
with games such as Sam & Max Save 
The World and Strong Bad s Cool Game 
for Attractive People — and thus. Tales 
of Monkey Island was born. 

An episodic game split into five 
chapters. Tales picks up the series 
after a fictional Monkey Island S. in 
which the intrepid Guybrush lias 
finally amassed the items required for 
a voodoo spell to defeat the nefarious 
LeChuck once and for all. The game 
is folly rendered in 3D. a first for the 
Monkey series. A brief tutorial takes 
place during the first act of the game to 
get players accustomed with the new 
interface. Gameplay is a combination 
of classic point-and-click for object 
selection, with the option of dragging 
the mouse or using the keyboard for 
moving Guybrush around. 

Despite the fancy graphics and new 
controls, however. Tales stays true to 
its roots in terms of story and overall 
gameplay. The dialogue is as punchy 
as ever, the episodic plot provides a 
nice twist on the usual Monkey Island 
formula, and the characters remain 
mostly unchanged from how they 
were ten years ago. Guybrush, despite 
bis newfound Mighty Pirate status, 
is still the same semi-hero, who 
emerges victorious despite himself. 


that gamers have grown to know and 
love. 

Of course, this isn't to say that the 
fancy graphics aren’t worth men¬ 
tioning; the Monkey Island world 
looks better than ever rendered into 
3D. and Telltale's animation is a leap 
beyond the usual stiffness that three- 
dimensional characters tend to have. 
Characters in Tales aren't just Up- 
synched. they’re emotion-synched— 
and it’s beautiful. The game's music 
contains a mix of themes from previ¬ 
ous games in the series, along with 
all-new leitmotifs for the new addi¬ 
tions to the game’s cast of characters. 

Tales of Monkey Island isn’t perfect, 
naturally. The game's episodic struc¬ 
ture, while innovative, means that 
players have to wait a month between 
each new installment (though the 
second episode provides a recap for 
those who've forgotten the events of 
the first). The puzzles also seem sig¬ 
nificantly easier than those from the 
earlier Monkey games; again, the epi¬ 
sodic system limits Telltale's ability 
to write larger overarching puzzles 
without losing players along the way. 

But these are merely minor 
nit picks. On the whole. Tales of 
Monkey Island, at least in its first 
two chapters, is worthy of the series' 
name and fame. Even if you haven't 
played any of the original games, 
this new installment is still worth a 
try; and if you've played the original 
games, you've probably bought Tales 
already, and (like me) eagerly await 
the game's third chapter. 


FLOP 

CULTURE 

MTV, will your genius never cease? 
What else can explain the entertain¬ 
ment channel's grandiose plan to reju¬ 
venate their MTV Rims brand and 
make everyone shout "I want my MTV 
the fuck away from me 1 than with TV 
movies, the single cheapest and ulti¬ 
mately pointless endeavours in the his¬ 
tory of moving pictures? 

Variety reported Wednesday that 
the studio is planning three new direct- 
to-TV films to act as "backdoor pilots" 
for shows. "You can take bigger creative 
risks with a TV movie as a one-off," 


stated MTV Senior VP of Production 
Chris Linn "This gives a chance to work 
with a whole new group of people and 
explore subiects that aren't already 
explored on our network." Translation 
'This gives us the opportunity to make 
even lazier bullshit that can fail miser¬ 
ably 'without affecting ojr bottom fine 
We re excited to work with more cost- 
efficient shame black holes than preg¬ 
nant 16 year olds and 3 aris Hilton's Best 
Fucking Friends." 

These selections include such insuf¬ 
ferable focus-grouped pap as My Super 
Psycho Sweet 16, a horror film taking 
place in a roller rink, Turn The Beat 
Around, yet another competitive dance 
movie, and Made, where a band geek is 
helped by a cheerleader so she can Bring 
If On with the real squad. But hey. that 


last one features the daughter of Donna 
Summer, who I've heard is the kids' 
favourite these days. 

If that isn't enough to make you lump 
into the shallow end of a Tifa-Tequila- 
shaped pool, MTV's plan is to release 
one of these shots of love (oh. I’m sorry 
television events) every' quarter Its 
strange: it s almost as if the channel is 
gradually starring to lose its tight focjs 
on music. 

JON\ KMECH 

Flop Culture is a semi-regular feature 
in which Gateway pop culture pundits 
shrike their literary fists at ridiculous 
events or celebrities deserving of bitch- 
slaps in print. 


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