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).
Continuing on from yesterday’s post…
A biased and uncharitable review of Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships (Part 2)
Success – I opened the door! Now I can dress up in a diving suit, then attempt all the other challenges while still wearing it. According to George, Nancy has “…solved mysteries in every corner of the world”. The map shows the locations of all of Nancy’s mysteries, so “every corner of the world” actually means North America and four places in Europe. How cultured.
“You look just like this bird I met in England” sounds like another way of saying “We already rendered a parrot once, lets use it again”. I assume this previous meeting explains why Nancy shows no surprise at a bird that can carry on an intelligent conversation. Seriously, a bird like that should not be left sitting in an empty lobby, it should be on TV hosting a chat show or doing the weather or something.
George told me this golf cart needed water to work, but it runs fine. This is the person we’ve got repairing our one and only satellite phone? It doesn’t work on grass (after all, why would you want a golf cart to work on grass?) but fortunately most of this ‘ecotourism’ island is covered with winding tarmac roads.
After beating the monkey at his own game I get to choose a prize from a thrilling range! Don’t get too excited about puzzle solving though, Nancy’s quick to remind me that the parrot wanted fruit. If only this were a real adventure game, just think of the puzzles you could solve with an eye patch and a goldfish keyring…
This means 7-9-2-0-4 in international signals. Now there’s a fair chance that anyone wanting a sail is going to be using it to sail a boat, and there’s an equally fair chance that said sailor will know the international flag signals so really all this does is weed out the amateurs. Changing this code must be a real pain. Do they have a stock of little flags to put on the bin?
I found this picture hidden in the lobby. It brings home a stark realisation that somewhere, somehow a real game creator made this game and was pleased enough with it to hide a photo of his wife (or daughter, or sister or next door neighbour) in the background. Kind of touching, unless of course that picture *is* the game creator in which case its just creepy.
Having ticked off everything on the task list that the game will let me, all I’ve got left to do is to look for Bess. She clearly came to this beach but the demo won’t let me go there, so I guess I’ve been abandoned to drive the golf cart in circles around the map. Anyway, leaving the demo without a proper ending seems a good enough reason for me to do the same to this post.
Time for something a little different (although I’ve done something similar before). I got bored on Sunday evening, fired up Steam and downloaded a demo of what I fully expected to be a rubbish game. What follows are my experiences.
A biased and uncharitable review of Nancy Drew: Ransom of the Seven Ships (Part 1)
I always visit the options page before starting a game. Here I’m glad to note we are given not one but two resolutions: ‘small’ and ‘would fit comfortably on the screen of my phone’. Who is this game made for, those casual gamers who never found the resolution settings on their PC?
Although it’s meant to set the scene, this introduction raises more questions than it answers.
– Shouldn’t that be George and I? If you’re going to keep a journal at least learn to use correct grammar. (If not write a blog instead).
– Who on earth holds a father-daughter banquet? As a side note, arriving a day late to one of these things is never a good plan. I can only assume everyone will be dead, missing or replaced by a robot lookalike by the time Nancy arrives.
– An ecotourism resort that you can only reach by plane? Well somebody dropped the ball there. Does the cost of your ticket include carbon offsetting?
– Floatplane is a stupid name for a kind of aircraft. Not a question, just an observation.
– I guess this is the same journal Nancy will use to record all the grisly details of whatever ‘Mild Violence’-containing mystery we come across. I’m sure the red-purple frilly borders will offset that marvellously.
– “Shark Diving Resort” is possibly the worst name for a resort I have ever come across.
– Seriously, how big is this book? Judging by the size of those poorly paper-clipped postcards… erm… 29×33 centimetres closed. I’m not going to ask where she keeps it.
I have no idea what’s going on here but AHAHAHAHAHA! I’m just disappointed the actor didn’t read the “pppp” at the end of “Stooooopppp”. Also a nice contender for ‘worst water render in a modern game’.
If I were ever to kidnap someone, I don’t think I’d do it on a tiny, inaccessible island with no planes to escape with. Okay, so the story’s wholly unoriginal and the characters look like they were made in Poser, but we’ve already got intrigue, danger…
…and a task to “Win a game against a monkey”? I assumed the introduction was supposed to make me sympathise with the characters and draw me into the game’s plot, but why bother when five seconds later you’re going to a literal list of mini-games I have to play. There are many things that drive people to crime. Need, greed and apparently an insatiable urge to create treasure hunts. We’re dealing with one seriously messed up villain here… do you reckon you actually have to go diving for number 8, or is it just an excuse for them to watch Nancy dress up? Let’s not think too hard about that one.
Venture back tomorrow, if ye dare, for the terrible conclusivness of part 2!
…about 2 weeks ago. Anyway, apparently the game was short but funny, so that’s good! Review here.