The Secret of Monkey Island 2 SE
The 'special edition' of Monkey Island 2 is a great addition to the series
- Gorgeous artwork, witty dialogue, excellent voice acting, commentary is both genuinely interesting and downright hilarious.
- Hint system isn't specific enough in certain parts of the game, may frustrate players with no 'point-and-click' adventure experience
Can we all just take a moment to recognise LucasArts for the great things they've done recently with their classic franchises? Some companies are content with either letting their revered oldies gather dust while others will callously re-release them to trade on nostalgia, but LucasArts has done it the right way, showing the same level of dedication and care as their most ardent fans. So kudos to you, LucasArts: we sincerely hope other companies will take notice and follow your example, especially the people who hold the rights to the old Sierra On-Line adventures.
Monkey Island 2 Special Edition is a textbook example of how publishers can pull old titles from their catalogues and make them relevant again. LucasArts has been doing this for a while now, giving Tell Tale Games the creative license to take franchises like Sam & Max to new places and, as is the case here with the Special Edition of Monkey Island 2, giving new life to classics by updating the graphics and features. But the true secret to their revitalisation efforts is that they manage to maintain the same charm and humour that made these titles so successful in the first place.
Even after all this time, Monkey Island 2’s tale of hapless wannabe pirate Guybrush Treepwood and his battle to outwit and defeat the demon ghost pirate LeChuck is still pretty damn funny, and it’s made even more so by new voice acting and a reworked script. Thankfully, much of the original cast also returns to flesh out the experience, which is a big plus for nostalgic fans who were on board with the series back in the 90s. Put together, all this makes the story come together incredibly well, and even new players will get a chuckle from things like numerous Star Wars references and various pop culture in-jokes.
If anything, the game is almost worth it for the extra features alone. Optional commentary by the original team (Schafer, Gilbert, and Grossman) is a real treat to listen to, especially with memorable quips like “God, we used to program!” and humorous anecdotes about minor details in the game, like the name of the dog at the Phatt Island Jail. Monkey Island 2 SE also comes with the original version of the game, which carries the original graphics and music, although the in-game voice-overs can be layered over the old interface.
Monkey Island 2 SE is a great remake of a great game, and I’d be happy to recommend it to anyone. However, I’m not sure that new players will take to point-and-click adventuring so well, especially since some puzzles are incredibly hard to solve, even with the in-game hint system. Luckily, we have the aid of online guides in 2010, but even that may not curb some early frustration. Regardless, Monkey Island 2 has aged gracefully, and the graphical facelift and extra goodies help sweeten the deal for diehard fans and newbies alike.
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