The Secret of Monkey Island: Review #6

Fitst Time ever playing this:Pros: Beautiful artwork Entertaining characters and dialogue Engaging storyCons:Cumbersome interface and interaction system makes doing thing more complicated and harder than they need to be. Puzzles can be overly complicated, vague, or simply arbitrary.Examples (also spoilers):For one puzzle, you have to give a troll something appealing, but invaluable, so he will let you pass. This thing is a red Herring, which makes little sense given the meaning of a Red Harring(a useless/misleading clue). I guess it’s an incredibly meta joke about how you have a literal Red Herring in a puzzle game that must be given to a troll that wants something useless, but appealing, but that’s a pretty obscure reference for someone to figure out, and actually contradicts itself because if the red herring is used to solve a puzzle, it’s useful, and it’s not exactly useless is it?But that’s not the main problem. The big problem I find is that in order to get the herring, you have to scare away a seagull, and to do that, you have to step on a plank multiple times to launch it into the air. However, the plank looks no different than any other part of the floorboard, and must be stepped on in a specific part to activate, so how is anyone supposed to figure out they need to step on a plank that has no indication of being loose (or interactable for that matter) in order to scare the bird away?Another puzzle that I couln’t figure out without help was with finding the swordmaster. Now I didn’t need help because I couldn’t figure out what to do. I needed help because the game failed(by some program problem) so make it possible to solve the puzzle without help. In order to find the swordmaster, you have to follow the old shopkeeper when he says he’ll go talk to her for you. I thought that, and thus tried to follow him, but when I went to follow him out of the shop, he disappear with no indication of where he went. So I finally ask the game for a tip, and it says, wait for it, to follow the guy. So, I try again, and this time the game shows where he goes. I keep following him until I enter the island map, right on his heels(literally), and guess what, there is no indication where on the map he goes. No sprite, nothing, so I ask help again, and it shows he went into the woods. This is not good design for a puzzle. It was likely not intended, but it’s still a problem.There are other cases of this, where the puzzles are either too vague to figure out, or fail due to the game not working corrctly, So this game is by no means perfect.I would say this game is mixed, great narrative and characters, audio, and visuals, but held back by sloppy gameplay in some parts. I will give it a tip towards the positive end though because of the help button reaily available to help the player progress. If that wasn’t there, I would not recommend this game due to some of it’s overcomplicated and sometimes buggy puzzles.Update: I finished the game, got bored of and frustrated with the puzzles 1/3 of the way through, and said screw it, I’ll just use the «Help» botton through all of the puzzles just to minimize story progression downtime.Good story, very entertaining, but the puzzles, to me, are so bad, I just basically skipped them. Too much busywork, running around to grab things and fiddling with them in the clunky inventory and the action screens(new or old version), and puzzles so illogical there’s no sense to them even after I did them. Pull cannon to get gunpowder and cannonball out? Use wine instead of blood as an ingredient? The last puzzle (only one I figured out on my own) to kill Le’Chuck just had me grab a bottle of regular Root Beer to kill him. I thought when trying it, «No way this is all that’s to it to beat the final guy. It’s just regular root beer. You need special voodoo root beer to beat him, probably made while he’s punching you across the island as you grab and combine items before he punches you again». But nope. just use REGULAR ROOT BEER on him, and it’s game over, completely contradicting what the game was building up to, that you need a special magical concoction to beat Le’Chuck, but in the end just any root beer will do, even one you get out of a machine.Only reason this isn’t a negative is because of the great story, funny dialogue, and the wonderous «Help» button. Otherwise, I’d take a big fat red thumbs down and shove it up the puzzle devs Asses.

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