Written by  :  Katakis | カタキス (39505)
Written on  :  May 08, 2005
Platform  :  Windows

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Christ! Not another Monkey Island 4 review...

The Good

Escape from Monkey Island is the fourth instalment in the Monkey Island series from LucasArts, and it is a bit different to the previous three games. In The Curse of Monkey Island, Guybrush went to great lengths to find the real engagement ring to put on Elaine's finger, and break the pirate curse that caused her to turn into a gold statue. He then buried the ghost pirate LeChuck under a block of ice, and proposed to Elaine, a proposal in which she had accepted.

They started their new life on Mêlêe Island’, an island that is part of the Tri-Islands area, the same island that you explored in The Secret of Monkey Island. But the both of them have a little trouble. You see, Elaine has been declared dead and her famous mansion is to be due for demolition. Furthermore, an election is to be hold that could kick Elaine out of office, replacing her with a new governor - none other than LeChuck. Since they are married, you often hear Elaine calling Mr. Brush such names like "snookums", "honeybun", and "love of my life" all throughout the game. Very typical for a married couple.

EFMI has you starting on Mêlêe Island’. You will notice some differences of the structure between this and the first game. When I explored Mêlêe for the second time, I was surprised at how small it is. The jail, the antique shop, and the church is no longer here. Instead, these were replaced with a huge block of land that leads up to the Governor's mansion. Something tells me that it all has to do with the Australian land developer that you will have to deal with later in the game. And where are the Governor's dogs? She must have sold them to somebody else, or they were put down after Mr. Brush drugged them.

Unlike the previous MI games, EFMI is in 3D. Because it was all the rage post-millennium, that is how today's games are done, and it is no use complaining about it; technology has to move forward sometime in the future. I'd say by the year 2015, 4D will be introduced, which will be heaps better than 3D, but I might be wrong. As they say, who knows what the future holds.

You control Mr. Brush by using the keyboard to move him around, use items, speak to people, and access his inventory. When you access the inventory, it comes up on the screen nicely, and I admire the way that it cycles between different objects in the form of a circle. The inventory is closed the same way that it is opened. Pressing [F1] on the keyboard allows you to save and load a game, erase saved games, change different options, view certain cut-scenes, and return to or exit the game. You can store up to 20 pages of saved games, and some will require you to insert the game's second CD if you saved much later in the game. I still don't understand why Lucas decided to remove mouse support from the game, if the mouse is widely used in other games.

I always look forward to playing 3D games, and EFMI is no exception. As a result of the 3D engine that LucasArts used, the graphics look great. Each scene is done nicely. Mostly all the characters are modeled perfectly, and some of them look amazing and reminds me of my childhood days. Elaine, for example, has never been cute before, especially in 3D.

The sound is very good. At the very start of the game, when you are on board the ship, you will hear a tune that sounds like one of those pirate songs, without the lyrics. The music that can be heard on the overhead maps are the best, in my opinion. Some of the music is actually a combination of reggae and jungle music, and suits the scenario very well.

And what about the humor? Well, EFMI carries a lot of humor, and plenty of it lies within the tasks that you have to accomplish throughout the game, as well as the conversations that you have with the different characters that you meet in the game. On Jambalaya Island’, for example, you have to navigate through the swamp, and you have to do business with your future self by saying the things that he just said, and if you mess up, a hole will appear, which will suck you back to the start of the swamp. Like the first game, you have to tour Monkey Island’ again and do business with Herman Toothrot, also in the first game. You have to keep hitting him with certain objects so that he can regain his memory. And I did not forget the in-one-door-and-out-the-other trick back on Mêlêe.

The familiar characters, like Stan, the voodoo pristess, and Mr. Brush himself, are voiced by the same actors. And some of them sound like the ones that I heard from various cartoon shows. The talking figurehead, for example, sounds like Bobby from King of the Hill, and one of the pirates on Jambalaya sounds like Agnes from The Simpsons

The Bad

Although each character gets voiced by the same person as in CMI, not everybody gets the same treatment. In CMI, Elaine had a British accent, yet in this game, she carries an American one. As for Murray, the talking skull, he was so much funnier in CMI, but in this game, I found him quite annoying just to hear him trying to lure people to Planet Threepwood (a parity of Planet Hollywood). This give me the impression that both of these characters were voiced by different actors.

I hate fighting games, but when I had to play Monkey Kombat with a bunch of monkeys in order to continue the game, I felt a little bit annoyed. The game is slightly different to Mortal Kombat. You see, you have to defeat your opponent using the right calls and stances, and you have no time limit. Not only did I have to play it once, but thrice. Sometimes it was a bit boring to watch my opponent beat me, as I did not have a clue what calls that I need to use to beat him. Even if I did not use the right calls, I managed to reduce my opponent's meter, but every time that I did so, I was forced to perform a save-if-you-win-and-restore-if-you-lose routine, just in case I made a mistake. At the end of MK, I realized that it is important to write down all the calls and stances, as well as what stances beat others. And that's what I did.

I saw a map of the Tri-Islands area, and I was disappointed that the game did not allow me to travel to all the islands on that map. There are only about three islands that you can travel to, but not including those islands.

The Bottom Line

If you like 3D adventure games like I do, give EFMI a try. it's much longer than the previous three.

If you have played the past Monkey Island games, you will be happy to know that most of the characters from the original keep returning in later sequels and have developed over the years. I just heard from Lucas that there is not going to be a Monkey Island 5. I personally like to thank Mr. Brush for the great adventures that he joined me on.

Rating: ****