The previous chapters of Telltales swashbuckling adventure successfully captured the heart of Monkey Island and delighted fans. With the release of the third chapter, Guybrush’s adventure is in full swing as he continues to search for the ominous La Esponja Grande (yes, loosely translated that does mean `the big sponge`!)
The pox, which Guybrush managed to release way back in the first episode, has escalated in ferocity and is spreading fast across the Caribbean. No one is immune from this curse and in his quest to right his wrong-doings, Guybrush finds himself in the belly of a manatee, heading to the location of La Esponja. This internal setting is very different from previous chapters and from any other previous Monkey Island games. While it presents unique and unusual puzzles, it also makes for quite a dull, dark and dingy atmosphere. It isn’t without its charm thanks to its colourful inhabitants, but it definitely doesn’t feel as true to the series as the desert islands, palm trees and vast oceans.
The puzzles, as important to these games as the characters, are intelligently thought out, even more so than those in Chapter Two. They are logical and clear but have a few unexpected turns – so when they do temporarily throw a spanner in the works, a little rethinking is typically required before the solution presents itself. There are even a couple of puzzles which hearken back to stand out puzzles from the past series. – these variations on sword fighting insults are used effectively with a mixture of wit and clever implementation which will mostly appeal to veteran fans without putting off new players.
Once again Guybrush, as the lead, is charming, funny and full of character. However, a familiar trend appearing is the importance and the execution of supporting characters. Like LeChuck and Elaine in Chapter Two, Morgan LeFlay in Chapter Three is just as memorable and notable. It’s an impressive feat creating such a cast of funny, interesting characters and all this adds to the excellent story playing out. The transitions between the plot from one character to another, usually in different locations, develops the storyline and, again, is done to a very high standard.
Like the story, Telltale are clearly also in full swing. They are delivering a wonderfully funny script and developing new interesting characters in a way that the next episode can’t come soon enough. Despite the puzzles being more logical than previous, there is still a good four – eight hours worth of gaming here. The only criticism to make is that the initial setting isn’t the most exciting but at least it adds variation and prevents it from ever feeling stale. It’s worth noting that this isn’t the only setting you explore in the chapter and the last third feels like a joyous return to familiar territory.
This is probably the best chapter delivered so far and whilst not receiving a top score of five, if this trend continues, by the last chapter it might receive this accolade.