|System: X360, PS3, PC||Review Rating Legend|
|Dev: LucasArts||1.0 - 1.9 = Avoid||4.0 - 4.4 = Great|
|Pub: LucasArts||2.0 - 2.4 = Poor||4.5 - 4.9 = Must Buy|
|Release: July 7, 2010||2.5 - 2.9 = Average||5.0 = The Best|
|Players: 1||3.0 - 3.4 = Fair|
|ESRB Rating: Everyone 10+||3.5 - 3.9 = Good|
by Caleb Newby
Reports of the adventure genres demise have been greatly exaggerated.
For you youngsters out there, were going to take a quick look back at one of the more revered and fondly remembered game subtypes of all time before getting to the game at hand, LucasArts recently released Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChucks Revenge. As for the rest of you, Ill meet back up with you two paragraphs down.
Everyone is familiar with the wildly popular first-person shooter (FPS) genre and, arguably, the current king of the genre, Halo. Fast-paced action, impressive graphics, and lots of killing are the bread and butter of FPS games. But for all its popularity, the FPS genre is a relatively young one (though oversaturated). Before Halo, we had GoldenEye. Before GoldenEye, we had Doom. Before Doom, there was Wolfenstein 3D. And before that, there was well, adventure games. Back in the 80s to mid-90s, the adventure game genre was the breakout star of the video game industry. Contrasted with todays dialogue of frame rates, weapon variety, and physics engines, the adventure genre was known for its story, humor, creative puzzles, and problem solving. Text adventure games such as Zork in the 80s evolved into the massively popular graphical Sierra games such as the Kings Quest series. Out of that spawned the legendary LucasArts collection of adventure titles such as Full Throttle, Sam and Max Hit the Road, and perhaps the most beloved of them all, the Monkey Island series. Sadly, the pace of video games sped up as computers were able to handle more and soon, the adventure genre fell by the wayside, with many in the industry all but proclaiming the death of the adventure game. This certainly seemed to be the case until the birth of Xbox Live and the popularity of downloadable content.
History lesson over. Now that adventure games have started rebuilding some traction through nostalgia and an online distribution method, LucasArts has followed 2009s release of The Secret of Monkey Island: Special Edition with the natural follow up, Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChucks Revenge (MI2). Updated in much the same way as the original but with even more improvements, MI2 should delight old and new fans alike. Like last years game, the graphics have been redone to keep the game from feeling too dated and making it easier on the eyes. Its a delicate balance of updating versus losing its charm, but like last years release, the graphics keep the spirit and flavor of the original. If thats not good enough, however, there is still the option to quickly switch back to the play style and look of the 1991 release.
A shining bright spot of the Monkey Island series is the voice acting, and all the original voice actors are back to reprise their roles, lending their talents in the remake. Its wonderful to hear heated, fully-voiced conversations debating the merits of woodchucks chucking wood. Even better, if you do decide youd rather play the game in old school mode, you now have the option to keep the voice acting going. This was one of the biggest downsides I had with playing in retro mode last time and am grateful for the update. That is not to say that the age of the title doesnt come out even here, however. After getting used to games such as Mass Effect where you choose the gist of your reply but dont know what you will actually be saying, Monkey Island is from a time when you read your dialogue options, pick one, and then have what you just read voiced back verbatim. Its not so much bad as it shows another small way games have evolved over the years.