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Monkey Island The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal PC Review

26/07/2009 Family Returning Gamer Review
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Monkey Island The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal PC

Monkey Island The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal



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It is not easy being a pirate, especially without a ship, far away from his lovely wife, and on an island where winds only blow inward. I have a faint memory of friends enthusing in hysterics of Le Chuck and Guybrush's antics, but sadly never sampled them first hand.

In The Launch of the Screaming Narwhal one plays that same pirate Guybrush Threepwood who happens to come across his wife Elaine on the high seas. The reunion is not as happy as hoped for, because Elaine is captured by Guybrush's arch nemesis LeChuck, who also has the thirteen monkeys of Montevideo trapped. The game is modeled as a story and plays out as if it is a movie, involving the player in the actions and dialogs.

Unfortunately, Guybrush is neither the sharpest tool in the shed nor does he have a lot of luck (he apparently used up all his luck by meeting his lovely and smart wife Elaine), so during the course of events Guybrush looses his ship and blows up the other ship. LeChuck and the monkeys are nowhere to be found, Elaine is hopefully still alive, and Guybrush is stranded on Flotsam Island.

The graphics are marvelous, the sounds are great, the dialogs are funny, and the voices are really well done.

Guybrush meets the locals and the owner of the local newspaper hires Guybrush as a reported for pirate stories. While talking to the newspaper publisher Guybrush finds out that Flotsam Island is a dead end. All the winds are always blowing inward, so sailing away from the island on a ship is not an option. Guybrush still wants a ship and there is one on the island (the Screaming Narwhal), but the current captain doesn't want to give it up that easily.

Up until this point the game is a lot of fun. The graphics are marvelous, the sounds are great, the dialogs are funny, and the voices are really well done. I like the autosave function and the mouse controls are excellent. However, the island really seems to be a dead end. I walked Guybrush aimlessly around trying different things, but besides starting a bar fight nothing else happened. The newspaper owner was specifically looking for a story about a bar fight, but the sentences that could be selected during dialogs did not offer any option to relay that story. One has the same difficulty with the captain of the Screaming Narwhal.

I am sure that eventually I would find my way out, but not getting anywhere gets old fast and becomes boring and annoying.

Asking the same questions and trying the same things over and over again only generated the same results. I went to all characters on the island over and over again, visited the different places on the island yet again, and tried to combine all the items that I found, but nothing resulted into any clue. Even brute force attempts of throwing a bomb at everything and anyone did not generate success. The map of the island is a bit confusing because it seems as if the direction in which one should send Guybrush is not the right one in the end. I spent over two hours trying different things just to end up as clueless as before.

I am sure that eventually I would find my way out, but not getting anywhere gets old fast and becomes boring and annoying. The game really starts off well and is highly entertaining, but the action comes to a screeching halt and the player is trapped. I am sure there is a lot of game left and that many interesting things are still waiting, but I don't understand how to play this game. The dialogs and possible actions do not offer me enough clues to come up with a plan for the next steps. I, and I am sure others, would appreciate getting some hints upon request. I am sure that this would not ruin the fun, but instead make this game more entertaining and enjoyable.

Written by Sinan Kubba

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Sinan Kubba writes the Returning Gamer column.

"As an 80s kid I was obsessed with gaming. But university, stress and life relegated my hobby to the backseat. After years in the wilderness, I'm back into video games. I don't just want to play games that remind of a happy youth though. I'm just as excited about games that take things forward, experiences that re-ignite that curiosity and fascination I had years ago."

Here are the games I've been playing recently:

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