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Written by  :  Shamal Jifan (21)
Written on  :  Mar 02, 2017
Platform  :  SEGA CD
Rating  :  3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars3.6 Stars

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Guybrush's Sega Adventure

The Good

The Secret of Monkey Island was one of the many classic adventure and RPG that were scheduled for a Sega CD port. One of the reasons that I bought the Sega CD was because of its ability to run some big RPG and Adventure games, which often didn't get released for cartridge-based, home console systems.

LucasFilm's wannabe, silly swashbuckler is a welcome addition to the Sega CD library. All the characters, comedy, locations and puzzles are brought over from the original computer version.

Young Guybrush Threepwood has arrived on a Caribbean Island with a dream; become a grog-drinking pirate. Along the way he will meet the beautiful governor, a zombie pirate and maybe, maybe, discover the secret of Monkey Island.

The Bad

The Secret Of Monkey Island doesn't really take advantage of the Sega CD hardware. Unlike the later remakes, this game seeks to be a direct port of the original game. Not a bad idea, if it can be done well.

Unfortunately, the Sega CD hardware can't handle a direct port. One of the first cases of this involves the Sega controller.

It is a bit awkward to control with the standard Sega controller. It's not impossible, but this is a game best suited for mouse. Alas, the Sega CD Mouse controller came later and isn't compatible with this game.

The second example of the hardware limitations involves the single speed drive.

The Secret of Monkey Island suffers from frequent pauses while the single speed device loads the disc's data. It's not quite as bad as the Sega CD port of Willy Beamish, but it's noticeable.

Then we come to the graphical limitations of the Sega CD. While it is nice to be able to see your inventory items (early computer versions of the game simply listed your available inventory), the overall graphics in the game suffer from the hardware limitations of the Sega CD.

The Sega CD - like its cartridge sibling - could only display 64 colors on screen, from a total palette of 512. This could be overlooked for the Genesis, because its hardware was designed in the 1980s.

However, when the Sega CD was released in the early 1990s, it was difficult to justify anything lower than 256 colors on screen out of several thousand. That was the capacity of the SNES and most PC and Mac computers of that era.

In this case, the Secret of Monkey Island looks darker and muddier than its original computer version. Not necessarily a bad look for a pirate-themed game, but it doesn't help sell the Sega CD as the Next Level of 16-bit gaming.

Finally, the game relies on a password feature, in order to save progress in the game. The save game feature wasn't great on the Sega CD (due to its limited available memory), so I can see why the game designers opted for a password system.

It's obviously better than nothing, but the passwords don't always save your entire inventory. Instead the password seems to only save the inventory items you absolutely need to win. Not a huge complaint, but can discourage experimentation.

The Bottom Line

The Secret of Monkey Island is a classic, point and click, graphic adventure game. Lucasfilm was a leader in adventure gaming and it's unfortunate that Disney, after buying the company, chose to close the book on these games. This Sega CD version is still fun to play, but suffers from the system's hardware limitations. It also would have benefited from a compatible mouse. Sega CD owners looking for an adventure game, should give the game a spin.

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