|Tales of Monkey Island: The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood|
|Platforms||Windows, OSX, WiiWare, PSN|
|Genre||Point and OBJECTION!|
|Buy from Amazon|
After the excellent Lair of the Leviathan episode, I was totally expecting the quality to fall in back to Tales of Monkey Island’s previous levels, good comedy, but not Monkey Island comedy. Thankfully, The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood manages to sustain most of the momentum of Leviathan in a well written romp that sets out a few pretty unique puzzles for our hero.
So far I’ve really been enjoying Tales of Monkey Island, it isn’t as good as the first three games in the series, but is really well done as an episodic adventure. Breaking out the island hopping into their own chapter has always fit well with Monkey Island, and allows the writers to create more natural cliffhangers and mini-conclusions.
The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood features a few of its own surprises, which I’ll definitely spoil in the following few paragraphs, if you’re reading this far I guess I’m assuming you’ve either already played the season or don’t care about spoilers at this point.
Well, first off, the episode sure waited until the last minute to follow through on its title of trial and execution! I was certainly surprised when ghost pirate LeChuck (undead again, after sucking out the juicy voodoo pox from the sponge) stabs Guybrush through the chest with his sword, setting up the fifth and final chapter very nicely. It makes me wonder if the “Rise of the Pirate God” is supposed to mean Guybrush Threepwood himself? How curious indeed.
And Morgan LeFlay died too! Maybe. Well, I didn’t think she was actually died, but then she didn’t open her eyes while Guybrush held her... but then her body disappeared! I’m really hoping she’s not actually dead, I’m in love with her character now! I’d be cheering for a Guybrush/Morgan slash episode if Elaine wasn’t such a powerful woman in her own right. Elaine running around pox’d the entire episode was hilarious but finally being cured right as Guybrush is killed? Heartbreaking.
Okay, now that I’ve gushed as a fan, let’s talk about what was great about The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood. First off, the trial and quest for innocence was an excellent centerpiece to the episode. Being faced with four counts of deathrow-level crimes is an intimidating start, but upon immediately “escaping” from jail, it’s back to business in solving piratey puzzles.
I liked how you’re given an item which lays out exactly what crimes you committed and who the plaintiffs are, makes it much easier to follow what you need to do instead of returning to the courtroom every few steps of the puzzle for a reminder. My favorite case was placing the iron flakes in the paralyzed cat’s food so the magnetic monkey will drag him around the courtroom, hilarious bit of slapstick action there.
The female pirate’s leg being burned from nacho cheese was a bit obscure since we never actually see Guybrush’s initial fumbling through Club 41 in episode one, not that the cat incident was much different, but the outcome is just a bit lame. Guybrush mixes some hot liquids he finds around town to prove that she faked the crime (the second faked crime, by the way). We don’t know the plaintiff at all, we didn’t see it “happen” in the first place, and the solution is simply stumbled upon by trial and error. Not to mention that of the six steaming liquids you can collect around town, you only actually need two of them to solve the puzzle. Wouldn’t have minded something a bit more based in the game beyond random chance, such as finding a recipe for the cheese sauce or something.
I was honestly assuming the chapter would be over when the trial finished, but was greatly pleased to see Elaine show up crazy-eyed and ready to kill Morgan for her supposed philandering with Guybrush. We’ve been waiting for these two to meet for three episodes now and it does not disappoint. Summoning Elaine to court was a hilarious and well-crafted puzzle that manages to place Guybrush oh so awkwardly right in between the two women of his life.
The final big piece of the episode features the Voodoo Lady teaching Guybrush on how expand La Esponja Grande to island-curing proportions. You receive a foldable map and six steps on how to embiggen the sponge, and freedom to explore the rest of Flotsam Island. Honestly, some of the clues were a bit vague and I found myself getting help online more than I would have liked. It’s one thing to use Stan’s famous jacket for one piece of the puzzle, but another to use an obscure object that was just placed in the corner of one of the scenes for the purpose of this puzzle a few moments ago. Thankfully we didn’t have to walk through the jungle more than I was expecting, and that portion was actually pretty fun.
What elevates this episode over the first two are the strong characters throughout, with Stan’s appearance to more Morgan, plus Elaine and evil LeChuck, and even a bit of Voodoo Lady (small helpings are the best with her). De Singe isn’t terrible either and receives a surprising death at the end, and while the supporting cast isn’t great, their time is limited (outside the obnoxious amount of time required talking to Hardtack the bailiff).
Tales of Monkey Island continues to get stronger, and while The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood isn’t as good as Lair of the Leviathan, it’s nothing to be ashamed about. Let’s just hope it can finish strong!