Daily Archives: April 21, 2011

Adding to the Backlog – Ratchet: Deadlocked, Secret Agent Clank, King’s Field: The Ancient City, Myst III: Exile

Yup, four more games. How did it happen? Well, let me tell you, inquistive Grinding Down reader.

GameStop is currently running their Power Saver Sale to make more room on their shelves for all things shiny and current. That means a lot of used PlayStation 2, GameCube, and GameBoy Advance games need to go, and as we’re all aware, these sorts of stores have plenty of stock available to push. Outdoing their buy two, get one free deal, the current Power Saver Sale is all about buying two, getting two for free. That’s, uh, an extra free game! Not too shabby.

I went to the GameStop by the Leaky Cauldron the other night, but didn’t see anything worth grabbing. Still, this sale is too good to let swim by so I decided to try again, this time visiting the closest one to my workplace. Went out on my lunch break and found both of the Ratchet & Clank games for super cheap, around $7.99 each. I scanned the shelves and bins for other titles I knew I wanted, such as Ico, more point-and-click adventures (if any exist for the PS2), Suikoden III, any of the Yakuza games, and maybe a copy of Psychonauts if I was lucky. Alas, none of those titles were discovered. The best I could find was Myst III: Exile and King’s Field: The Ancient City, both around $2.99 each, meaning these would be my freebies for the Power Saver Sale. I’ve never played any Myst games, but I did read one of the books a long time ago; from what I can tell, it’s kind of like a first-person clicking game. And I guess King’s Field is a first-person RPG starring people with deformed hands…I dunno. Going to go into it with completely fresh eyes and give it a shot.

I am, however, most excited about the Ratchet & Clank games. That series, mainly the original trilogy, had some of the best gameplay to offer on the PlayStation 2, and I had just started moving over to new consoles when the spin-offs and tie-ins came out. These are sure to be a blast, and all that remains for PlayStation 2 playable titles in the series is Ratchet & Clank: Size Matters.

To be honest, I’m getting a little bored with my current Xbox 360 selections. Considering that I recently went back to a five-year old game simply for Achievements, something needs spicing up. My videogaming, that is. And if I’m going to go back and play five-year-old games, I might as well go play some good ones from the PlayStation 2. Well, hopefully good.

The sale ends on April 24, 2011 so get to it. Plenty of great games still available for all three systems. I suggest you go searching, too.

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Games Completed in 2011, #13 – Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge

So I beat this game. Big Whoop, right?

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge is a game I wish I had played sooner. Like, maybe when I was in high school or back when I dreamed of being a plucky wannabe pirate. Alas, I only discovered it after a Special Edition was created, released for the Xbox 360 Arcade, and then put on sale a few weeks ago. Don’t worry; I’ve already said three Hail Marys and two Our Fathers, and even then I know that’s not enough repenting yet.

In this sequel to The Secret of Monkey Island–which I’ve also not played yet, grrr–Guybrush Threepwood is searching for the legendary treasure known as Big Whoop. Unfortunately, during this hunt he unknowingly resurrects his arch-nemesis LeChuck, who he defeated in the previous adventure, as a zombie. There’s also some mini-plot thing about a love interest named Elaine Marley, but that never seemed like a vital focal point of the game. This Big Whoop search will span several islands, taking Guybrush back and forth as he collect items, solves puzzles, and interacts with a host of memorable, charming characters.

This Special Edition is more than just a re-skinned game. Besides the updated artwork, which is simply gorgeous, there’s re-worked controls to help players not familiar with the SCUMM engine get along much easier. Right-clicking on an item or person brings up a wheel of options, such as LOOK AT Wally, TALK TO Wally, or even the dreaded PULL Wally. That might seem like a weird option, but I suggest selecting it, as now, thanks to the addition of voice acting, every selection elicits a smarmy response from Mr. Threepwood. And the voice acting is stellar, with every character having a strong personality that is instantly captured upon speaking. My personal favorites include Wally B. Feed, Largo LaGrande, and the constantly quieting librarian. You can even listen to this awesome voicework with the original, retro graphics and gameplay. Another addition that long-time fans are probably super excited about is that Monkey Island creators Ron Gilbert, Tim Schafer and Dave Grossman recorded commentary to go with the game as you played; I did not give this a listen yet.

The puzzles range from obviously easy to eye-stabbingly frustrating, and for those that need an extra nudge in the right direction, two new features can be used: a hint button and item highlighting. I didn’t use either to unlock Achievements come the endgame (I know, I’m a whore), but they are there if need be. For the tougher puzzles, mainly all of Part II, I had to use the Internet every now and then. Some of them hurt my head, and some of them proved almost impossible, like when you had to give LeChuck a hanky a split-second before he zapped you with some voodoo magic. That one took me at least fifteen tries to get the timing right.

Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge is both a fun and funny game. Entering a new screen and clicking on everything is thrilling, and I mean that as seriously as possible. I just wanted to know what Guybrush thought about everything, whether it was a stool, a parrot, or even monkey playing a piano. Exploration and an eye for detail is what’s important here, and while the story felt a little rushed during the final showdown, it was wonderful to experience. I have the need now for more point-and-click action, and it looks like I’ve missed out on quite a collection of SCUMM-based games. However, I’ve been warned to steer clear of Escape from Monkey Island. No promises, but I will certainly try.