The Siege of Spinner Cay Review
Well, what do you know -- here's the second episode of Tales of Monkey Island and it's just about as excellent as the first. Granted, things start off a bit slowly on the Jerkbait Islands, but as soon as things pick up, they really pick up.
Not to get ahead of myself, of course. The Merfolk, introduced early on, might be a bit too much for some Monkey Island purists, but really... With ghosts and zombies, why not include another form of fictional beings?
At any rate: The Siege of Spinner Cay opens rather explosively with a sword fight involving [name removed due to spoilers!]. After, shall we say, some unexpected results, the game moves to a slow, but short, sequence on the Jerkbait Islands. It lags a bit, but soon the gameplay area opens up quite a bit more than it did in Launch of the Screaming Narwhal.
More importantly, the game also takes a very agreeable turn for the better, and fans of the series will be happy to see both Elaine and LeChuck enjoying more screen time than they have in any of the previous games. Particularly the dialogue with LeChuck is very well written -- at times hilarious -- and launches into a meta-puzzle that is highly enjoyable.
Telltale has always done a good job at not including too many references to the original games, something which carries over into this episode. There are few return characters, and only a couple of true throwbacks to previous episodes. (The best ones being two music references.) In other words, Tales of Monkey Island does not rely on riding on the success of the previous games. Rather it feels fresh and new.
And, for the record: Winslow, the first mate introduced in the first episode, is quickly on his way to becoming a fan favorite.
You get what you ask for
Well, kind of, at least. There is still a reuse of models, which is kind of annoying, although they have been cloaked a bit better this time around. Still, I would like to see some more variety in future episodes.
More importantly, those who have waited for a Monkey Island game with a darker side to it, like LeChuck's Revenge, will find it here. The Guybrush-Elaine-LeChuck triangle keeps taking twists and turns one might not have expected a month ago, but there ya go. How this all will turn out will make for great (melo-)drama!
And finally, the attention to background details seems slightly better than the previous episode. Look up toward a faraway cliffside from a beach, for example, and you will see the silhouette of one of the characters, moving about.
Hey, it's the little things that count.
- Anything that was excellent with the first episode is still excellent here.
- Clever writing.
- Plot takes a strange (and dark) twist, yet stays true to the original games.
- Probably the most we've seen of Elaine and LeChuck in any of the games.
- Still that re-use of character models.
- Merfolk might be a bit out there for some.
It starts off a bit slowly, but when things start rolling, they snowball. The writing is sharp and the attention to detail awesome. A highly entertaining episode.
Agree? Or are you plainly wrong and disagree? Post your comments at Mojo!