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Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge (DOS)

90
MobyRank
100 point score based on reviews from various critics.
4.2
MobyScore
5 point score based on user ratings.
Written by  :  אולג 小奥 (168605)
Written on  :  Aug 21, 2003
Platform  :  DOS
Rating  :  4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars4.6 Stars

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Summary

Can a spitting contest help overcome relationship problems?

The Good

LeChuck's Revenge has been described by some as "the best sequel ever". Considering the fact it was a sequel to a truly fantastic game, and therefore had to be top quality itself, it is really a great compliment, and I think it was justified. The best thing about this game is that it didn't merely repeat all the stuff that made the first game great, but went its own way; it retained much of the original game's atmosphere, while distancing itself from it in tone and style.

Monkey Island 2 is much crazier and much darker than the first game. I played this game two times, and I always felt I was participating in some sort of a carnival show, where the borders between dream and reality are vague, where everything is possible, and where weird and even grotesque situations have become the norm.

The humor is now more edgy, less naive-romantic, sometimes even slightly "black" (though not too much so to destroy the sweet atmosphere that is still there). Just watch that skeleton-dancing cutscene or the insane spitting that takes place when Guybrush and Wally are hanging over a pit of acid. This is the kind of weird humor that made the game so original for that time. Of course, now such things don't surprise anyone, because many adventure games tried to imitate this attitude later (many of them utterly failing), but Monkey Island 2 was really the first that introduced such kind of humor to the genre.

And the puzzles? Carrying a monkey in your inventory, using the most improbable inventory items with the most improbable stuff... pity I can't name specific examples, because no spoilers are allowed in reviews. Suffice to say that the puzzles in this game are even wackier than in its predecessor. The difficulty level is also significantly higher; but the game also has an "Easy" mode, where some of the trickiest puzzles are eliminated.

The dialogues are brilliantly written and very amusing; just check out the conversations with Elaine or with Stan (who became even funnier in this game). Generally, Monkey Island 2 is one of the funniest game I've ever played, and certainly the funniest in the series. Just think of that hilarious library on Phatt Island... There is no end to jokes, puns, pop culture references, and so on.

Now, I was among those few who really loved the ending. I even think it was the best part of the game! It was absolutely weird, very dark, strangely romantic, and in a certain way, even tragic...

The graphics are outstanding, certainly belonging to the finest examples of hand-painted 256-color graphics ever. The characters are noticeably better animated than in the first Monkey Island. The game also boasts a dynamic soundtrack, with some of the most beautiful MIDI compositions around.

The Bad

I'm not sure I loved the new concept of Guybrush. I found him a bit too cynical and somehow weary in the sequel; the youthful enthusiasm from the first game was lacking. Perhaps as a result of that, LeChuck's Revenge doesn't quite charm the same way its predecessor did. It is definitely "bigger and better" than the first one, but the magical "I want to be a pirate" atmosphere is somewhat downgraded to give more freedom to hilarious situations and puzzles.

Speaking of which, the difficulty level here is certainly not for the casual player; even on "Easy", many puzzles are guaranteed to give you a headache, and the much larger game world (three islands you can - and should - move between during a large portion of the game) can sometimes reduce the puzzle-solving to a slightly tedious "click on everything until something happens".

The Bottom Line

The sequel to the glorious simian adventure is much crazier and wackier than its predecessor; although it doesn't quite ooze the same charm, it definitely went further in making the whole business more edgy and entertaining. Add to this killer production values and loads of gameplay, and you'll have a great classic on your hands.