DPrime Review: Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 5: Rise of the Pirate God


Originally posted on Default Prime

The Tales of Monkey Island series has had a nice run so far. Coming out of the excellent fourth chapter in the series, chapter five had a lot to live up to. At this point, those that have played up to chapter four are likely to pick up, or already have picked up, chapter five even if it isn’t as great as the rest of the chapters. But in case you really need that extra incentive to pick up the title, keep on reading.

 

As with every other chapter, the story picks up right where the last chapter ended. Guybrush Threepwood, who now finds himself dead, has to search the underworld for a way back to the land of the living. He must do this with the help of other dead souls, so he can stop Le Chuck and return to his wife – Elaine. If you are looking for a humorous adventure with witty writing, Tales of Monkey Island chapter five fits the bill as with every other chapter. While the plot has some twists here and there, some of the later plot points are a bit confusing. Some of the explanations are not clear or kept so brief that major plot points fly right by you. You eventually will get a grasp of what is going on, but it may not seem apparent at first.

Chapter five’s puzzles are streamlined and flow smoothly, with the exception of the final puzzle. Hints are consistently helpful and are placed creatively throughout the game – some of which are cleverly hidden in the dialog itself. The slight hints are helpful, but don’t take away too much of the pleasure of solving a hard to crack puzzle. In terms of puzzle difficulty, chapter five probably falls somewhere in between the rest of the chapters.  Occasionally there are some moments trial and error, but they aren’t anything you can’t work through.

 

The WiiWare version runs smoothly up until the last scene where the game slows to a crawl and collapses into a glitchy mess. Throughout experience, there are still plenty of visual glitches to keep players company, such as character animation popping, Guybrush completely disappearing, and more. Unlike the visual issues, the sound problems are completely absent except for the final scene where voices and music starts to cut out and repeat themselves.

Overall, Tales of Monkey Island chapter five is a pretty good season finale for the episodic series. But it is not perfect. It doesn’t exactly live up to chapter four, but it does a good job of placing itself above all the other entries in the episodic series. If you found all the other chapters enjoyable… then chances are you already have the final chapter. But if you are still on the fence, then definitely pick this one up.

Score: 8.6

Pros:

  • Dialog and voice acting are top notch
  • Puzzles flow well with helpful hints to keep a steady pace
  •  WiiWare version is visually smooth… for the most part
  • A fine end for the season

Cons: 

  • The last puzzle can be a bit frustrating from pacing issues
  • The WiiWare version doesn’t hold up well during final puzzle due to onscreen action that  significantly drops frame rate and creates audio problems
  • Ending seems a little rushed causing some confusion

 

Tales of Monkey Island, as a whole, is an enjoyable series and is one of the only games to get episodic gaming right. Each chapter hit on time (I’m looking at you Valve) and held a consistent quality throughout. The series has its ups and downs at times, but overall was very enjoyable. The puzzles are streamlined so even if you aren’t necessarily fantastic at puzzle solving you can get through without gluing your face to a guide. But if you are looking for some head scratching puzzles, there are quite a few throughout the series that will require you to put on your thinking cap. The whole series costs $35 on PC. It will easily take you 20-25 hours to complete, so you are definitely getting your money’s worth. The Wii version costs $50 for the whole series and is a suitable substitute, but the PC version is definitely the better choice.

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