The best thing to say about this Ron Gilbert classic is that all you need to do is look around you right now and see just how many Monkey Island games are continuing to surface, even after all these years. There is no doubt that they are all here because of the strength of the original, which as a lot of you know, has been revamped in glorious HD for the Xbox 360 and the iPod/iPhone machines.
Guybrush Threepwood and his adventures began on Melee Island back in 1990 and it is when you look beneath the surface that you get to see just how much of an influence this one title alone had on the point and click genre. Sure it spawned numerous sequels, created by different people all through the 2 decades of its life, but when you see just what the people behind it created before and after, it becomes apparent that the original deserves the most credit. Ron Gilbert, who more recently did Deathspank was at the helm for the first two and would make a few comebacks now and then, but not often enough to stay as a stalwart to his own creation.
Tim Schafer was the second coder, who would go on and create the acclaimed Psychonauts and Brutal Legend and Dave Grossman, who has since left Lucasarts has come back to his Monkey Island roots by being involved in the Telltale Games series of adventures. Another name not mentioned too much is Steve Purcell, an artist on the original game, but who would become the creator of Freelance Police duo Sam & Max, so you have to admire the amount of subsequent work that came about from this original piece of code.
It’s not really required to say how well it plays now, as more or less everyone who is reading this will have it, either portably or on their console’s hard drive, but the testament is a big one and long may it reign as the classic the world knows it is.
I downloaded the Special Edition of this from XBOX Live over the weekend and aside from that always annoying grindy part (yes, the insult sword fighting), I thought it was still a very good game that shows that when Lucasarts step away from tedious Star Wars games, they are unstoppable.
The old graphics still have lots fo charm and detail and actually the old inventory system works a whole lot better than the new, supposed improved method which I just found too fiddly, especially when you have to shuffle and use items quickly.
Unlike a lot of retro re-skins which just smear the old visuals into a hideous mush, the new graphics and sound in this have been created with care and attention actually work very well.
Worryingly, whilst I don't know my own mobile phone number and car registration number, I could still remember how to complete this game without a guide
It's good to see the humour and music for these games has continued through to the modern day, I don't think I've played a bad Monkey Island game yet; reckon the modern console versions still have the same feel to the originals, even with the extra features like speech.