Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan Review for PC

When Manatees Attack

“Praise the burning face of hell!” The third installment in the ongoing saga of mighty piratical antics found in Tales of Monkey Island has shoved off and set sail. This time the developers plotted a winding course through some of the most hilarious and outlandish material we’ve seen from the episodic series yet. If spelunking through behemoth manatee innards, delivering voodoo wedgies, and chugging mugs of steaming bile sounds like a good time, you won’t want to miss out on Guybrush Threepwood’s wild journey under the sea.

Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan screenshot

The charismatic, mighty pirate has had more than his share of mishaps in Telltale Games’ new Tales of Monkey Island series. Chapter one sees him shipwrecked on a seemingly inescapable island after he managed to sink his own vessel, infect his hand with evil magic, and unleash a zombifying voodoo curse across the Caribbean. In chapter two, Guybrush reunites with his lost wife Elaine, cavorts with androgynous mer-people, and is forced to reluctantly team-up with his newly-unzombified nemesis LeChuck. As fate would have it, LeChuck and Elaine wind up sailing off on a pointless mission, while Guybrush pursues a giant, mystical sea sponge rumored to be capable of absorbing the rapidly spreading voodoo pox. After being waylaid by the lovely bounty huntress Morgan LeFlay for the second time, our swashbuckling hero and his newfound foe find themselves swallowed whole by a gargantuan manatee. It gets even better from there.

Chapter Three: Lair of the Leviathan is easily the funniest chapter yet. Much of your time is spent fiddling around in the guts of an oversized manatee, which is strange enough to begin with. The fact you wind up dealing with a band of pirates who’ve holed up inside the big fellow with no intention of ever leaving takes the cake. These bile-drinking, sour face-making miscreants provide a sturdy foundation for a large portion of the episode’s silly puzzle work. Gaining their trust and vote of confidence requires a combination of deceptive drink mixing skills, the ability to contort your mug into some awful ugly poses, and some creative match-making efforts. But then there’s also the task of restoring your living manatee prison’s damaged sense of direction so he’ll make it to the sacred mating grounds where the prized magical sponge resides. You just might have to dive through more than a few fluid-filled bile ducts to achieve your goal. Yes, the humorous gags may potentially make you gag.

Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan screenshot

Traversing the meaty interior of a huge sea creature is a nice break from the topside high seas sailing and the jungle island hopping found in past chapters. It’s a completely different setting from what we’ve seen before, and it’s one that’s surprisingly dynamic. Even when you do manage to wrap things up and find a way out of the beast (don’t ask how), there are still more funny hijinx to tackle and new turf to explore. Let’s just say you better brush up on your manatee 101. Lair of the Leviathan doesn’t recycle old areas (aside from Guybrush’s ship deck), which helps keep the adventure from feeling stale. If anything, Chapter Three invigorates the adventure substantially.

Adventuring deeper into the creature reveals additional challenges and surprises, including a familiar face (err… skull, actually). The return of a particularly evil (“Muwhahahaha!”) old acquaintance is definitely a highlight among the assorted cast in Lair of the Leviathan. The few new characters you encounter are intensely quirky and add their own element of humor into the dialogue and interaction. A literal pirate face-off between Guybrush and a scurvy bloke where they duel by dishing out their smarmiest faces had us in stitches. Even the manatee himself offers some entertaining encounters towards the end of the chapter. The high quality dialogue remains intact, and the voice acting continues to be marvelous.

Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan screenshot

Little has changed with the series’ gameplay and controls. You’ll spend a lot of time creatively piecing together found objects and trying them out in unusual combinations on various people and hotspots. As in past episodes, there are some branching dialogue trees that play into the game’s puzzles, like when you’ll sneakily dupe Morgan into going on a date with a nerdy pirate by directing her to engage in specific “secret mission” tasks or toward then end when you’ll have to untangle the intricate language of manatee love. The resulting conversations are often funny, and these encounters round out the more straightforward puzzle fare. That said, the straightforward puzzle fare in Chapter Three is far from ordinary.

Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan screenshot

Many tasks you’ll undertake are gross, bizarre, or some combination of the two, and it makes the game a heck of a lot more entertaining. Milking a pus sack for a tankard of brew and using stinky slime slugs as a means of reviving consciousness are among the nastier things you’ll do in the episode, though they’re not necessarily the worst. While the series has featured some interesting and compelling challenges overall, the varied tasks you’ll face in Lair of the Leviathan are spectacularly amusing at times. Many are so off-the-wall that even the cleverness found in earlier chapters is overshadowed. Some puzzles will take a lot of thought to figure out, while the answers to others come much easier. The adjustable hint system lends a hand, if needed, keeping the frustration level to a minimum.

Lair of the Leviathan doesn’t wind down on quite the same cliffhanger ending we’ve seen in the last two chapters, but the continuity in the story throughout the three episodes released so far is coming together very impressively. The tale delivered in Tales of Monkey Island is an interesting one, even though it’s delivered bit-by-bit. This mainly boosts anticipation for upcoming chapters, since the multiple plot currents all seem to be pointing to some interesting developments down the road. We can’t wait to see what happens in the next installment, and the increased fun and oddness found in Lair of the Leviathan is hopefully a harbinger of great things to come.

The inside of a manatee has never looked so slick and interesting. 3.8 Control
Strong two-handed controls work well, though the single-handed option still feels awkward. 4.8 Music / Sound FX / Voice Acting
Excellent dialogue and voice work. 4.0 Play Value
This is one of the funniest and most entertaining episodes yet. 4.5 Overall Rating – Must Buy
Not an average. See Rating legend above for a final score breakdown.

Game Features:

  • Guybrush Threepwoods returns in an all new zombie pirate adventure.
  • Challenging and humorous puzzles off variety and plenty of laughs.
  • Multiple control schemes let you play one or two-handed.

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