Tales Of Monkey Island Episode 1: Launch Of The Screaming Narwhal (Wii) Review

By Adam Riley 20.09.2009 6

Review for Tales Of Monkey Island Episode 1: Launch Of The Screaming Narwhal on Wii

The Monkey Island series has reached legendary status over the years, despite the fact that many fans were not quite as pleased with the game's fourth release. However, since LucasArts appeared to have ditched the name completely, gamers were in uproar, screaming for a fifth entry. Now Telltale Games, which actually consists of ex-LucasArts staff, has borrowed the franchise and made a brand new version, complete with familiar cast members, but this time taking it down the episodic route on WiiWare. Can the series prove to be as popular as Strong Bad's Cool Game for Attractive People was on Nintendo's download service, and just how good is the first episode?

The scene is set with Guybrush Threepwood, Mighty Pirate, attempting to rescue his beloved wife, Elaine, from the evil clutches of zombie pirate LeChuck. However, despite trying his hardest to find all of the ingredients the mysterious Voodoo Lady told him were required to create The Cursed Cutlass of Kaflu that will finish off the brute, Guybrush ends up taking a few shortcuts and causing somewhat of a disaster in the process. Queue merry japery, crazy antics and a wild ride full of humour and mayhem. Thankfully, it is not one that can only be enjoyed by fans of the original outings from the days of yore.

In this first of a five episode arc, players are thrown straight into the thick of the action, guiding Guybrush around and using the Wii remote to interact with various on-screen objects, either receiving a random comment regarding them, or being able to pick up and use them later on. The aim is to thwart the ghostly LeChuck by combining numerous items and then ultimately thrusting the special Cutlass into him, thus obliterating him forever. Sadly Guybrush ends up making LeChuck human, whilst releasing an evil mist into the world and infecting his left hand at the same time. This first episode takes place on Flotsam Island, a place Guybrush finds himself shipwrecked after his calamity with LeChuck. The overall aim of this chapter is to find out why the unusual island has winds that prevent ships from sailing away from it and then bring a shred of normality to the place in the long run.

Screenshot for Tales Of Monkey Island Episode 1: Launch Of The Screaming Narwhal on Wii

The beauty of Telltale is that not only is it made up of a great team of developers in general, it has many of the core talent that originally left LucasArts when the company decided to halt work on future point-and-click titles. Therefore, Episode 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is truly a labour of love, with many of the team reunited and clearly keen to pour as much of its wit, creativity and general humour into the final product as possible. Characters met along the way will leave players chortling to themselves for most of the adventure, whilst puzzles will certainly have players scratching their heads, but most definitely not throwing their controllers against the wall in frustration. The only let-down that could be drawn against this first episode is that sometimes the on-screen conversation arcs, that players can choose from when talking to non-playable characters, do not always bear complete relevance to what is actually said. However, in a way even this negative point can be positively spun, since rather than merely repeating the lines shown on-screen, Guybrush will spurt out something along the same lines, but ever so slightly different.

Tales of Monkey Island Episode 1: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is a resounding success on all levels and deserves its 1,000 Points price-tag on the WiiWare download service. If you have not had chance to pick it up yet, do so now before the second episode lands here in Europe.

Screenshot for Tales Of Monkey Island Episode 1: Launch Of The Screaming Narwhal on Wii

Cubed3 Rating

9/10
Rated 9 out of 10

Exceptional - Gold Award

Rated 9 out of 10

Monkey Island is indeed back with a bang and Telltale once again shows why it is currently one of the best in the business for churning out high quality adventure episodes on a regular basis. This first episode comes with jokes a-plenty, smart puzzles and a great overall appeal to both long-term Monkey Island fans and newcomers alike.

Developer

Telltale

Publisher

LucasArts

Genre

Adventure

Players

1

C3 Score

Rated $score out of 10  9/10

Reader Score

Rated $score out of 10  0 (0 Votes)

European release date Out now   North America release date Out now   Japan release date None   Australian release date Out now   

Comments

Our member of the week

Not a single on the wiiware version being littered with slowdown and even some small freezes ? Even though this doesn't make the game less fun and great... it can be frustrating and deserved being said in my opinion. I just finished breezing through the second episode on PC. Can't wait for the third chapter Smilie.

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

Freezes? I didn't come across that. The bits of slowdown didn't strike me as being overly distracting at all, to be honest. Point and click games are so slow-paced in general that I certainly didn't think it affected the overall experience.

I'll keep a closer eye out for it with Episode 2, though, so thanks for bringing up the point Smilie

They showed off Ep.2 at the event on Wednesday, but I decided to not touch it as I want to play the whole thing through in one go and presume it'll be out this coming Friday on WiiWare.

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Our member of the week

It can happen when you make guybrush run (by double clicking a background element or holding the z button down on the nunchuk). It looks like the Wii doesn\'t have time to decompress the data when you move too fast throughout the game world (the game can then freeze for one or two seconds, before going on).

My guess is they had to compress the game a lot to make a game that\'s 180MB for the PC fit into 40MB for the Wii while keeping the same content. Even though the sound and graphics are a bit better on PC, especially the textures. The first chapter is now available for free on PC by the way Smilie.

Anyway, when comparing both experiences, the PC one in the most enjoyable IMHO. But i think that\'s not TTG\'s fault. They had to make up with Nintendo\'s limitations on the Wiiware filesizes and did a great job nonetheless. I really enjoyed playing it Smilie.

Come on Nintendo ! Now as long as you have enough free space on your Wii, you can cram much larger wiiware games inside it, and leave them all on your SD card. Remove the freakin\' limitation dammit !

( Edited 21.09.2009 08:47 by Kafei2006 )

Cubed3 Limited Staff :: Review and Feature Writer

I didn't encounter any freezes, either.

I like this game being available in English in Germany, because I liked MI3 with Dominic Armato's voice and he's still the same old Guybrush. Elaine and LeChuck are nicely voiced, too and after the disappointing MI4, this game is far better then the last part on PC.

I find your lack of faith disturbing!

Kafei2006 said:
It looks like the Wii doesn\'t have time to decompress the data when you move too fast throughout the game world (the game can then freeze for one or two seconds, before going on).

My guess is they had to compress the game a lot to make a game that\'s 180MB for the PC fit into 40MB for the Wii while keeping the same content.


Thanks a lot for giving detailed feedback, Kafei - much appreciated. It could well be due to what you said about the compression. I believe it\'s an issue that has been raised numerous times on Telltale\'s forum, so the team will no doubt look at ways to improve it for the second episode.

Laurelin said:
I didn\'t encounter any freezes, either.

It\'s good to hear I wasn\'t the only one that didn\'t have problems, at least!

I like this game being available in English in Germany, because I liked MI3 with Dominic Armato\'s voice and he\'s still the same old Guybrush. Elaine and LeChuck are nicely voiced, too and after the disappointing MI4, this game is far better then the last part on PC.

It really is a labour of love from a bunch of developers that have come together after many years apart, thirsty to bring the world what it had been craving - a proper Monkey Island sequel with good controls, brilliant voice acting and the same dry wit and humour that had fans laughing like crazy in the past!

With so many people extremely pleased with the first episode, you have to hope the high standard can be maintained over the entire five-episode arc. Strong Bad took a dip in its third episode, but managed to rebound and finish with a strong flurry, so we\'ll see what happens with this...

( Edited 21.09.2009 20:32 by jesusraz )

Adam Riley [ Director :: Cubed3 ]

UNITE714: Weekly Prayers | Bible Verses
Guest 04.08.2010#6

Bought this this afternoon and enjoying the great voice acting, funny and well acted for once, unlike all the cheap cheese that is being fed to gamers through most games.

This chapter froze my Wii twice pretty badly. Couldn't reset or turn it off, had to unplug the power supply.
I didn't have much memory left, but I don't know if that has got anything to do with it. Just put a lot of stuff on my SD card now though, hopefully it will fare better from now on.

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