Many thanks to SSH and his AGS Blog I downloaded my free copy of ‘Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal’ on ‘Talk Like a Pirate Day’ and spent the next several hours finishing it.
Unfortunately I wasn’t particularly impressed.
It wasn’t that it was a bad game… it’s just that it felt rushed, amateurish*, the puzzles and plot were all over the place, the interface was clunky, every line of dialogue was scripted (seriously, what’s the point of giving you four options to choose from in a conversation when Guybrush ignores your choice completely EVERY SINGLE TIME**) and it was a Telltale game, not a Monkey Island game***.
Feel free to disagree with me on any or all points, my arguments probably won’t stand up to fearsome interrogation. This post was as much an excuse to draw something with my tablet as a rant anyway.
*Except the graphics, animation and I guess the acting.
**I have a theory about this – in the classic LucasArts adventure games you could choose your response to a conversation from a number of options. Naturally you choose the one that you found the funniest, which means you’re tailoring the jokes towards your sense of humour. With Tales: Episode 1 Guybrush says the same thing no matter what you choose thus destroying all replayability, denying you control of the character and leaving you with the feeling of a potentially hilarious missed conversation.
***Monkey Island is about grog-drinking, unwashed, unpleasant, skull-digging pirates, hunting treasure and sailing to exotic Caribbean Islands. Pirates playing with dolls, scientific contraptions and frilly pink underwear do not belong here (or at most are only as background jokes ala Largo’s “laundry”, not shoved in your face as puzzles).
A few days ago I got an email from someone who had stumbled across this post that I made on the AGS forums about an adventure game called Runaway – or Monkey Run? – by a German group called Pixel Team (not to be confused with the later Runaway adventure games by Péndulo Studios).
I’ve got a demo of this game from a CD collection and it has always intrigued me because although it’s rather buggy and has an awful interface, it also has several nice touches that seem to have had a lot of thought put into them. I spent a few free evenings recording videos and trying desperately to remember how to complete it (which I’m sure I’ve done, or nearly did).
I couldn’t figure it out, so here’s a video of the first puzzle to show a bit of the game in action instead.
Unfortunately I have not been able to find much out about this game (especially as searches for “Runaway” and “adventure game” find the Péndulo games), so I’m fairly sure it never got beyond this demo. If you have any more information I’d love to hear it.
The demo was released as shareware, so if you fancy playing it I’ve uploaded a copy here. It works fine under Windows XP using DOS-Box. If you manage to get into the keeper’s house (which I think is the next step from where I’m stuck) let me know how because I really can’t remember how I did it last time! If I manage to get much further I might put up a full playthrough.
Tip for playing:
When picking up items you can click the ‘Pick Up’ option, then the item. With the other interactions you generally have to click on the place you want to interact with, *then* click the verb…