Return to Monkey Island review
I have stressed many times the importance of the nostalgic theme in today’s popular culture, which is suffering from a spiritual crisis. Hence the return of forgotten movie franchises, the resurgence of bands like the Spice Girls, and the attempt to find new inspiration in classic adventures. It took Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman thirty years to turn back to their roots and head back to Monkey Island.
Inspired by the success of the chic Thimbleweed Park, Gilbert tries to strike a balance between the classic charm of the original Monkey Island series and modern gaming standards. As a result, the classic interface suffered, having lost the “Push”, “Take” and “Give” actions, the number of interaction zones and item combinations was reduced, and the riddles themselves became simpler and more logical. At the same time, for fans of serious mental exercises, a special mode of complicated puzzles has been preserved.
The events of Return to Monkey Island take place sometime after the third part. Elaine and Guy’s brush got married, the island of Carnage changed its governor, and the demonic skull Murray survived the worst moments of his life. Telling his son about his return to Monkey Island and the search for “Mystery”, Guy brush periodically goes into the world of his own fantasies and unexpected plot twists. The authors actively put pressure on a loyal audience of devoted fans by returning classic heroes and remembering warm-hearted situations. For newbies, there’s a short story retelling mode in a separate menu item, but that doesn’t help much in absorbing the creamy layer of jokes for old fans.
Gilbert poked fun at contemporary culture and genre elements in Thimbleweed Park, which made Return to Monkey Island very sparsely social. Aside from a toothless reference to Lucasfilm and a single awkward attempt at poking fun at the social agenda, all the other gags are built around memories of the past and poor salesman Stan. And this should please old fans, but it will definitely disappoint newcomers. As well as, probably, a wild amount of backtracking. The storyline itself, although it tries to beautifully turn out all the futility of traveling in search of the “Secret” and bring the ghostly pirates to the fore, seems exhaustedly boring. Well, the ending is just the most ordinary disappointment. How did it sing? “The play is over, the lights go out.” Here also.
The game offers several levels of difficulty, but you should not be afraid to walk along the edge of the board, because you will have a hint book at your disposal, which, by floridly hinting or directly explaining certain things, will help you solve even the most ingenious problems. The personalities of the characters, including Dominic Armato as Guybrush, have been carefully preserved.
The graphics in Return to Monkey Island have caused a lot of controversy among fans of the series. However, the replacement of 2D art with 3D, slightly angular models did not spoil the overall narrative, giving it more caricature. In addition, the authors did a good job detailing the environment and the animation of the main characters. Therefore, most of the claims to the “not such” picture can be considered untenable. It’s just a modern version of pixel history.
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