Tag Archives: pirates

Onwards to another quest for magical treasure

Over the weekend, at my niece’s and nephew’s first birthday party, I was chatting with my friend Kevin, one half of Math the Band, and he tipped me off to a game he absolutely loved, and I was surprised to learn it was for the…Nintendo Wii. Usually, that sort of thing doesn’t happen. The game turned out to be called Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure, and it’s a point-and-click adventure driven by the desire for super booty. Hmm…that sounds a little familiar. And yeah, I know, both touch upon monkeys as well.

So, the very next day, I was out and about at the mall, trying to ignore what day it actually was, and I found Zack & Wiki: Quest for Barbaros’ Treasure for $9.00. I decided to play pirate and be daring and give it a whirl, even though buying Wii games still feels a little shameful these days. Anyways, once home, I checked over at The First Hour to see if this was something I could do some early minutes coverage of, but it seemed like Greg Noe already took care of the game: first hour review and full hour review. I was a little bummed to see he had not fallen in love with the title as much as Kevin seemed, but I popped it into the Wii anyways and played for about 30 minutes.

It’s not bad. The music is nice, but the sound effects that Zack and Wiki make after every single sentence is maddening, and I’m going to have to either play with the game on lower volume or straight up mute that option. I died twice, which is always a rare yet refreshing thing in point-and-click games. I love all the colors and cartoony item design and zany characters, as well as the amount of shiz there is to collect. Not sure how much I’m gonna enjoy waggling the Wiimote for each level, but 30 minutes didn’t drain me. Right. I’m pretty cautious, as it seems this game is the case of “love it” or “hate it” and maybe I don’t ever want to get to that place where I have to stand my ground. We’ll see how it goes, or if I ever even remember to play it again. That happens a lot with Wii games for me…

In a span of three days, I purchased two pirate-themed games. That’s pretty amazing. Don’t bother arrrrguing the point either or ye be walking the plank before the sun sets.

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.