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Posts Tagged ‘Lair of the Leviathan’

Run! I mean swim!

The newest episode of Tales of Monkey Island brings a much needed change of scenery to the series. The two first episodes repeated each other with an island setting and both even had a forest maze. Compared to them a giant manatee’s stomach is very original.

In the end of Siege of Spinner Cay Guybrush, his sole crewmate and pirate hunter Morgan LeFlay got swallowed by a giant manatee. In its mouth our heroes find treasure hunter Coronado DeCava who is also after the Lesponga Grande, which will fix the voodoo pox infecting Guybrush himself and other pirates . The problem Guybrush faces this time is the ear of the manatee. A part controlling its sense of direction has been stolen and is being held by DeCava’s mutinous crew of four. They have formed a brotherhood which Guybrush must join if he wishes to heal the manatee and get the sponge.

Piratehunter

The game world being essentially a stomach the area in which to walk and interact is a lot smaller, solving a lot of the problems with the control scheme, a big problem in the earlier episodes. Walking up and down the same staircase because of a wronglytimed press of the mouse, as often happened in Siege of Spinner Cay, is gone. Also gone is the time consuming running around. There is even a possibility to use tubes  in the manatee’s stomach (don’t ask me) for speedier travel.

With the control problems all but gone the player is free to concentrate on what makes Monkey Island so good: The dialogue and humor. When it comes to these two Telltale ups the ante considerably. Lair of the Leviathan presents four new characters and they’re all very funny, my personal favorite being Moose, sort of a surfer-type hippie pirate. A friend from older Monkey Islands also makes an appearance.

Coronado DeCava

Different from the earlier episodes is that the characters have a lot more facial animation and many of the jokes involve more facial expressions, instead of only leaning on dialogue. Piratehunter Morgan LeFlay for example grows very disappointed in Guybrush as the episode progresses and makes faces to Guyrush each time he walks past her. The episode even includes a competition of making scary pirate faces, or just downright dumb expressions.

AHOY, SPOILERS AHEAD

Many of the puzzles deserve an honorary mention. Guybrush playing the part of a wingman to the giant manatee with the help of a manatee speaking horn was my personal favorite. As it happens the horn is a tourist edition and the player needs to figure out which available answer fits best with a female manatee’s comments. With choices varying from “I have nothing to declare” to “I want to go to the theater” this is not necessarily an easy task. In a way the puzzle is a reinvention of insult swordfighting, without the grind. While many of the puzzles were amusing, Launch of the Screaming Narwhal’s puzzle in LeSinge’s lab remains my favorite in the series.

END OF SPOILERS

An old friend

Lair of the Leviathan, with very little to complain about, is the funniest episode so far. At some points I actually paused and thought something on the lines of: “Damn, that was amusing”. Perhaps because I was not stuck in the puzzles for as long as in the earlier episodes I also thought the pacing of the game was a lot better. If you have doubts about Tales of Monkey Island on the whole at least play Lair of the Leviathan.

(Here’s a link to the walkthrough I used, from Roger Davies.)

The official trailer:

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