Young swashbuckler Guybrush Threepwood returns in this sequel to 1990's The Secret of Monkey Island. Unfortunately for him, evil ghost pirate LeChuck has returned as well. Fame and fortune seeker Threepwood sets his sights on the mysterious treasure of Big Whoop, which is rumored to have special powers -- powers that might finally put an end to a certain apparition's relentless pursuit. Now it's a race between Threepwood and LeChuck to recover the treasure and compete their destinies.
Monkey Island 2 has you solving a variety of humorous puzzles while guiding Guybrush Threepwood through the storyline's four chapters: Largo Embargo, Four Map Pieces, LeChuck's Fortress, and Dinky Island. Collect an assortment of offbeat items, from a used hanky to a clean white shirt, to work your way out of various predicaments. While the point-and-click play mechanics are identical to its predecessor, Monkey Island 2 features a few notable changes, including 256-color artwork, an interactive reggae soundtrack, and an optional easy mode.
"Eagerly awaited". Now there's a phrase that fits this game perfectly. Since the original Monkey Island revolutionised the world of graphic adventures a few years ago, the whole world, and probably some of our neighbouring planets as well, has been holding out for the continuing adventures of Guybrush Threepwood and his pirate pals. And it's here. Right now. In fact, there's a copy waiting for you at your local software shop. So go and buy it. Go on. I suppose you'll want me to tell you a bit more about the game than that. I might as well, I'd probably get sacked otherwise. All righty then, here comes the story so far...
Way back in the Secret of Monkey Island, we met a wannabe pirate by the unlikely name of Guybrush Threepwood. Under our careful guidance, he became a fully-fledged pirate and defeated the evil ghost pirate, LeChuck. Fast forward a few years and we rejoin Guybrush as he sets off to find the legendary treasure of Big Whoop, and deal with the newly resurrected zombie LeChuck. We also bump into some other old friends along with Guybrush and LeChuck. Stan the used ship salesman is now a used coffin salesman. Governor Elaine Marley is back as Guybrush's reluctant leading lady. The spooky VooDoo lady has set up her own VooDoo mail order service, while Herman Toothrot is still a hermit. And, yes, there are monkeys in it. While we were away things have changed for our hero. Guybrush has grown himself a natty goatee beard and become a respected and admired hero At least that's what he thinks. Once again, you must wield mouse to direct Guybrush through an even bigger and better adventure than before. A heady brew of voodoo, zombies, pirates and caustic humour awaits, so let's take a look.
And it is indeed bigger and better than before. The feel and look of the game is a lot nicer this time, thanks to what looks like graphics ported across from the PC. It even sounds better thanks to the iMuse sound system. This adapts the music as you progress, so the music flows naturally from upbeat reggae to spooky graveyard music with nary a hiccup. It also gets full marks for incorporating the refrain from Wave of Mutilation by the Pixies into the music for the town of Tickwood.
The humour's back as well, and it's rib tickling stuff. Oh yes indeed missus. All the way through it manages to spoof everything from Star Wars to the original Secret of Monkey Island, with little digs at people in general all the way through. If anything Monkey Island 2 is even dafter than its predecessor, and its got the most ridiculous ending ever.
The control system remains unchanged, with the same commands only a mouse click away. The only thing it does lack is a drop command so Guybrush's pockets soon stretch to Tardis-like proportions. There's no limit to how much you can carry, but the more stuff you have, the longer it takes to look through the inventory. However, it does eliminate the problem of choosing which items to take and which to leave.
It's also a very user-friendly game. If you're a beginner then you can opt for a trainer version of the game with some of the trickier problems removed, and even the full game helps you along with a friendly shove. That's not to say it's easy. Oh no. Some of the problems are total kilters. It's just that the game avoids situations that could leave you stranded. There's no sudden death, and if you make a mess of a problem, maybe by forgetting to get a certain object, then the game will let you get it rather than forcing you on without it. This means that you are free to experiment with different responses and ideas without fear of being penalised for it.
Other points worth highlighting are that despite the incredibly detailed graphics and animation, the game sun skips along at a fair old pace. Take note, Sierra. Even playing from the startling 11 floppies, it's smooth and swapping is kept to minimum. Ber-limey, eh? Well, this is all getting a bit sycophantic so I'll go into "cynical old man mode" and pick up on some downers. Hmm. Well, my biggest problem is that the whole thing is fairly unsurprising. There's been no great shake-ups on the style front. If I was feeling very brutal I could be tempted to say that it's basically a remake of the original with cosmetic changes and different puzzles. But then, Evil Dead 2 was a remake of The Evil Dead and it was tons better.
The other problem with games of this ilk is that once you've finished it you won't be back. It may take you a long time to get there, but once you ve done it the appeal vanishes. Yeah, it's nitpicking but you should be warned. Apart from that though, this is horribly close to being a perfect game It's certainly the best adventure I've seen for ages, and it sets the standard for future graphic adventures in the same way the original Monkey Island did. Fans of the genre should seek this one out without delay. In fact, they probably already have. And good for them. You know it makes sense.
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