After Guybrush’s triumph in the previous chapter, he is quickly brought back down to Earth with a bang!
Betrayed by Morgan Le Flay and unwillingly returned to Flotsam Island, he finds himself in the dock faced with a set of unusual and comical criminal charges. A welcome return of fan favourite Stan (and his eye boggling jacket) adds to this chapter combining a slice of Phoenix Wright style courtroom drama, with possibly some of the most fiendish puzzles yet. However, don’t expect to see Guybrush shouting “Objection!�? or “Hold it!”.
The courtroom scenario differs from previous chapters and is successful in making it fun and interesting. Consisting of just under half of the episode’s length, this legal drama involves Guybrush collecting evidence to prove his innocence and then presenting it during the trial. These puzzles aren’t overly challenging but they once again allow Telltale to show off their impressive writing abilities.
The rest of the chapter significantly ramps up the puzzle difficulty and requires a great deal of thinking outside the box to solve. At times it’s quite difficult to know where to begin, thanks to the ambiguity of the clues, and unfortunately even the in game hints aren’t as obvious as they probably need to be. When compared to how Telltale have dealt with the difficulty of the previous chapters, this appears to be fairly uncommon and a bit of a surprise. It isn’t enough to mar the overall experience, but it does have the potential to discourage some from carrying on – or at least succumbing to a walkthrough!
Stan doesn’t quite live up to expectations and his appearance is pretty forgettable; disappointing considering how much Telltale have achieved in recreating other interesting and funny characters like Lechuck, along with that other Monkey Island alumni, Murray the talking skull. The return to an already explored location is a brave move and fortunately enough new environments are introduced to keep it feeling fresh. There’s also a distinct change of direction in the episode where it turns a very dark and mature corner, something to be applauded. The Monkey Island series have always been very light hearted and whenever they’ve dealt with anything remotely morbid it has always been in a comical fashion. The scenes in question are directed both emotively and effectively, proving Telltale to be accomplished storytellers.
Despite an unusually difficult set of puzzles, Chapter Four of the Tales series manages to deliver an enjoyable experience. With a dramatic ending which sets up the highly anticipated finale, the Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood is another essential part in an unfolding drama which will soon be coming to an unwanted, but hopefully momentous, close.