Tuesday, 27 January 2009

The Legend of Monkey Island

I don't know if my picture of me and Dave as JC and Paul Denton got him thinking about Deus Ex, but the retitling of our Blog to something more Insulting got me thinking about the Monkey Island games.

A long time ago now, I was playing The Legend of Zelda: The Wind Waker for the first time (I'm going somewhere with this anecdote, believe me). I'd gotten to the second island and found myself (or rather puny protagonist Link) stranded on the strange pirate town on Windfall Island. He had a ship, but needed to buy a sail from the merchant in town. After going to the correct merchant's window, he found that luckily a sail was available, but the merchant wanted something in return.

Sounding very adventure gamish, right? Well, for some reason I couldn't work out how to get the sail and presumed it would come up naturally during my exploration of the island. I discovered many puzzles to solve, many locals to talk to, many strange little minigames to play (completion of which undoubtedly would get me an item someone else wanted), and lots to do even though I couldn't swim more than a few yards out to sea and didn't have a sword. Oh, and there was plenty of humour too.

How Monkey Island-like was that? That's what I want adventure games to be like now. It's all very well getting such brilliant titles as Sam & Max and A Vampyre Story, but the genre hasn't really evolved since Maniac Mansion 20 years ago.

Forget Quicktime Event Extravaganzas like Fahrenheit/The Indigo Prophecy, I want adventure games to be third-person, move with normal movement keys, not have static screens, with everything you can interact with being nice and obvious, and have natural barriers like the sea. No loading screens, no transitions, all natural. That's what I want Monkey Island 5 to be like.

(Not that's it's going to happen what with LucasArts being... what they are. Oh well)
- Chris Capel


  1. I have to say, one of the things I dislike about the fourth Monkey game (and Grim Fandango) was the keyboard movement. When playing an adventure, I want to relax and imbibe the atmosphere through my eyes, not play it like an action game. If I wanted that, I'd play Left 4 Dead or a City Interactive game...

  2. Please don't ever utter the name City Interactive again...

  3. It would just control like an action game, not play like one. And both Grim and EFMI didn't really work with keyboard movement because they still had static screens that you could walk out of - they were 2.5D, not proper 3D.

    While I do like mouse control in my traditional adventures, I'd like to see the genre evolve a little bit.

  4. I just disliked MI4 altogether.
    Fahrenheit scored way too highly too. Gimmickry, necrophilia and WTF-story-end should have set it at 80% IMO.

    How were the 3D Broken Swords? I think I have them somewhere, but not played yet (I really should stop talking about games and actually play a few...)

  5. I liked MI4. It was funny at least. I liked Fahrenheit too, but I never felt like I was actually doing anything - and would never play it again.

    Broken Sword: The Sleeping Dragon was pretty good, despite a few crate-pushing moments and a totally stupid finale.

    Angel of Death was supposed to be 'meh', but since Vista can't run it AT ALL I had to return it.