Dprime Review: Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter 4 The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood


Originally posted on Default Prime. Screenshots represent the PC version.

The season finale for Tales of Monkey Island is already available on PC, but those who play it via WiiWare just received the fourth entry in the episodic series, The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood. While the last chapter was an excellent entry, some of the puzzles in it were a bit unforgiving. On the bright side, the third chapter on WiiWare was excellent from a technical stand point and featured little to no slow down which the series has been struggling with on the Wii. Can the fourth chapter keep the same smooth gameplay as the third despite being in a more open environment? Or will the massive slow downs from the first chapter make a return?

Chapter 4, like the past chapters, picks up where the previous chapter left off. Guybrush Threepwood found La Esponga Grande and cured himself of Le Chucks’ pox. Unfortunately his temporary partner betrays him and takes Guybrush back to Flotsom Island to be dissected by the mad scientist, De Singe. Upon arrival though, Guybrush is quickly taken by the local residents to Pirate Court where they have filed charges on him. Guybrush, left without a lawyer, must defend himself in court to prove his innocence, so he can get out of jail in one piece and save his pox infected wife.

There isn’t much to say about the writing that I haven’t said in the previous reviews for this series. The writing is top notch and every single line of dialog is interesting and entertaining. Because the game is set on Flotsam Island, most of the characters return from the first chapter. But there are still a few new characters along with the return of Stan from one of the classic Monkey Island games. Towards the later half of the game, the story starts to mix it up a bit and starts throwing out plot twists left and right. The effect is that you will be on the edge of your seat for the last couple hours –  guessing at what could happen next. Of course the game ends on a cliff hanger, as every other chapter has, to try to pull you into buying the next chapter. This feels like torture because you want to know what happens next after all the major events that take place.

Chapter 4’s design is a bit more linear then chapter 3’s, but it still retains many of the more opened ended aspects when it comes to solving puzzles. This time around, the game splits up into multiple sections where you can solve different puzzles in what ever order you want. Where as the last title threw most of the puzzles at you all at once. The puzzles, while still difficult, are much easier in chapter 4 which is a welcome change since chapter 3 had some puzzles that were just brutal. The game does a great job dropping hints to tell you what to do while still giving you a great sense of accomplishment when you solve a puzzle.

Visually the game looks on par with the past WiiWare releases. There are still a few visual glitches here and there but not nearly as frequent as the last title. Chapter 4 returns to the setting in the first chapter and runs a lot smoother then it did previously. Unfortunately there’s still some minor slowdowns from being in larger more open ended areas, but it does little to distract you from the gameplay. Facial animations still look great, but characters still have an odd popping like animation when returning to their idle stance. If you are looking for the best visual experience, the PC version is still the way to go.

As  always, the WiiWare version’s voice acting is compressed, but the voice actors still do a amazing job. The sound track largely rehashes the music from the first chapter due to it taking place in the same locales. I didn’t notice any audio issues that all the previous chapters have had. So unless I just missed it, this title should be free of audio issues.

If for some reason or another you lost interest in the series after chapter 3, give the series another chance since chapter 4 goes well beyond chapter 3 in terms of quality. Chapter 4 is the best of the series and does a great job of balancing the difficulty when it comes to puzzles. The adventure will have you laughing the whole way while providing enough plot twists to keep you on the edge of your seat till the very end. The WiiWare version is a good substitute for the PC version. But again, the PC version is the way to go when it comes to the Tales of Monkey Island series. Be sure to check back next month when we have the review for the final chapter of Tales of Monkey Island.

Score: 8.8

Pros:

  • Best chapter of the series so far
  • Excellent writing and character dialogue
  • Puzzle’s difficulty well-balanced
  • Excellent ending that leaves you wondering what is coming next

Cons:

  • Typical WiiWare issues including compressed audio, visual glitches, etc.
  • Odd popping animations (may be WiiWare only)
  • Cliffhanger end makes me sad :<
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