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Platform

PC

 

Genre

Adventure

 

Publisher

Telltale Games

 

Developer

Telltale Games

 

ESRB

T (Teen)

 

Released

September 29, 2009

 

 

‑ Yet another new gaming environment for some hearty high-seas pirate adventuring

‑ Introduces even more characters that have been given distinct personalities and roles in the overall magnificently written Tales of Monkey Island story arc

 

 

‑ Without sleuthing out the many clues, gamers – especially those with short attention spans or lousy memory ‑ will be left to randomly guessing or repetitive trial & error puzzle-solving

 

 

Review: Tales of Mokey Island: The Siege of Spinner Cay (PC)

Review: The Sims 3 (PC)

Review: Indigo Prophecy (PC)

 

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Tales of Monkey Island: Lair of the Leviathan

Score: 9.0 / 10

 

Throughout the first two episodes of the Tales of Monkey Island series, pirate hero Guybrush Threepwood has gotten himself in trouble more than a few times trying to find the cure for the accursed and spreading pox his former (current?) archenemy LeChuck has stricken Guybrush with that is also slowly infecting many of Guybrush’s cohorts. It’s in the third episode, Lair of the Leviathan, that Guybrush really can’t keep his head above troubled water (literally), though. In this episode, there’s a new take on the Pinocchio adventure tale deep, deep inside the belly of a large sea creature. Instead of a menacing whale, however, Guybrush finds himself in the innards of an oversized and lovelorn male manatee.

 

tales of monkey island          tales of monkey island

 

Dark, dank and smelly, the manatee’s gut is the setting for the best-written and most enjoyable episode of the point & click adventure series Tales of Monkey Island. Lair of the Leviathan features a brand-new gaming environment with both

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new and familiar characters along with puzzles that steer away from simple item combining, instead requiring good old-fashioned detective work.

 

As the episode begins, Guybrush and his ship, along with the lovely bounty hunter (with Guybrush her current bounty) Morgan LeFlay, find themselves swallowed by a super-sized male manatee. Morgan’s unconscious, posing no immediate

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threat to Guybrush. But after meeting the previously long-lost Coronado De Cava, who’s taken up residence in the manatee, Guybrush needs to awake Morgan to pose as his wife, thereby fooling De Cava to unwittingly assist them in discovering the item Guybrush is searching for throughout the seven seas – the La Esponja Grande, which can scrub away the pox currently pulsing through Guybrush’s body.

 

Throughout the episode (as in the previous one, too) there’s an underlying sexual tension, as Morgan has definite love-hate feelings for Guybrush. But Morgan’s romantic overtures and innuendos go largely ignored and almost completely over the head of Guybrush, smitten as he is with his lovely pirate wife, Elaine. There’s also the Voodoo Lady-De Cava romance that Guybrush finds himself smack in the middle of (both purposely and not). It’s clear that these romantic plotlines will play themselves out front and center in the final two upcoming episodes.

 

tales of monkey island         

 

Bringing a fresh approach to the gameplay is that many of the puzzles rely more on gamers’ memory retention than on the old point & click adventuring “combine item A with item B” approach (although there’s a few of the annoying timing puzzles that get real frustrating real quick, especially when playing on a laptop).

 

In the Face-Off game that Guybrush needs to play (and win) to get voted into the Brotherhood of Noogie, Bugeye, Moose and Santino/Murray, gamers must first find the clues that help them figure out what face-making technique works best with what interacting character, and gamers will get a real Sherlock Holmes workout seeking out the puzzle-solving hints. There are, however, still plenty of the item-combining puzzles and others (particularly the manatee “dating” game) that seemingly rely more on trial & error, shot-in-the-dark guessing solutions.

 

Lair of the Leviathan is the best-written episode so far (and as always, extremely hilarious) that not only shines a lost treasure’s golden glow in its storytelling but through the completely new gaming environments, including the love-starved male manatee’s innards and Guybrush’s bottom-of-the-sea “love connection” excursion. From beginning to end, including finally discovering the Holy Grail of Guybrush’s quest, the pox-cleansing La Esponja Grande (that proves to be not so grande) and a somewhat unexpected double-cross finale, Lair of the Leviathan is the most engrossingly humorous and fun tale of Monkey Island yet.

 

‑ Lee Cieniawa

lcieniawa@armchairempire.com

(November 5, 2009)

 

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