Review by Shunichiro
"Monkey business at its funniest!"
It's been almost 20 years since the first time I played "Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge". It was on Commodore Amiga 500 and not on PC with then flashy 256-colors VGA graphics. I didn't have a hard drive for Amiga yet but I had an extra disk drive so swapping whopping 11 disks was a bit less of a pain (but pain it still was!). All these years later I found myself again giggling, chuckling and downright laughing at the exploits of wannabe pirate Guybrush Threepwood, thanks to the brilliant special edition available for Xbox 360 and PS3 as downloadable game (and also as a retail package with the special edition of "Secret of the Monkey Island").
The special edition for the first Monkey Island didn't impress me. Newly designed HD graphics looked artificial and lifeless compared to the charming, pixel-by-pixel drawn original. The game was still there, as funny and clever as ever. The second time though, they got the best of both worlds.
"Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge" looks stylish and ravishing with full of character in its glorious, re-drawn HD graphics. All the backgrounds are obviously based on the original pencil sketches with digital paint over them so the game looks both familiar and greater than ever. By the time the original game was released, LucasArts had moved to scanned images of hand-painted backdrops. Yea, the original art by Peter Chan looked great on paper (as is evident in "bonus materials" section of the special edition) but blocky, low resolution and limited color palette of VGA pretty much destroyed it and made it look like someone had puked on the screen. Especially now when you switch between the original and new graphics, you really begin wondering how on earth this could have looked so good back in the days... Also, the music is re-arranged and sometimes you just keep up the PS3 game menu for Monkey Island 2 open just to listen to the brilliant title song!
Of course, what matters most is the game. The puzzles are wacky but logical in their own way, and the whole thing is crafted so well together. You can't accidentally miss important objects and get later stuck because of that. The game in its clever structure won't allow you to go ahead before you're ready to. In the special edition, there's an integrated hint system for the graphic adventure challenged - which I guess the new generation of gamers probably are since the once great genre is on the brink of an extinction. Don't use the hint system. I didn't, even though I didn't remember half of what I played back in July 1992. Especially the memories of the end game were hazy but I blame Amiga version's crazy disk buzzing for it! And the game is funny. No, that would be the understatement of two decades. It's hilarious, clever, full of popular culture references, with some of the funniest, wittiest dialogue ever written for a game, all delivered with a top-notch voice acting.
So this is one the best games from past few years and in reality it's over twenty-year old game as the PC original was published in 1991 (with Amiga version following in summer 1992). New graphics aside, it tells a lot about the lack of imagination and quality writing in today's games.
Reviewer's Score: 10/10 | Originally Posted: 02/01/12
Game Release: Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck's Revenge (EU, 06/07/10)
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