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Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge Special Edition XBox 360 Review - -

Gameplay 8.5
Graphics 8.5
Sound 8.5
Value 8.5
Publisher: Lucasarts
Review Date:
August 2010
Troy Mayes


Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge Special Edition

Lucas Arts dominated the PC market in the 90ís. Their point and click adventure games were some of the best games the industry has ever produced. With the release of Monkey Island 2: LeChuckís Revenge Special Edition on Xbox Live Arcade Lucas Arts have not only paid homage to their classic title of the same name and pleased fans everywhere, theyíve also crafted a thoroughly entertaining and head scratching-ly difficult game.  

Monkey Island 2 once again sees you filling the shoes of hack pirate Guybrush Threepwood. Threepwood, fresh off defeating the ghost of the evil pirate LeChuck once again finds himself in hot water. LeChuck isnít actually gone for good like Threepwood believes; only his spiritual self is gone. Now the body of LeChuck is back and it wants Threepwood. While trying to avoid LeChuck Threepwood is also attempting to uncover the lost treasure of Big Whoop. Threepwoodís adventures take him between the islands Scabb, Phat and Booty where he meets a range of colorful characters and has to solve a number of challenging puzzles, emphasis on challenging. 

One of the best things about the XBLA Special Edition is the impressive HD graphics. The entire game has been given a graphical overhaul with new redrawn graphics and the results are very nice. You can tell because the game allows you, at the press of a button, to revert to the retro style of the original. The picture is crisp and clear and the HD graphics really make the diverse color palette pop. The animations are generally good but there are a few scenes where the lip-sync doesnít match up or the choice of movement, like Captain Dreadís bobbing head, just donít seem right. For the most part they get it spot on, especially the used coffin salesman whose arms donít stop moving and is absolutely hilarious. 

The Special Edition also sees the game give you the opportunity to move away from point-and-click and manually control Threepwood. It is nice to have the freedom to move the character where you want and how you want, but there was the occasional pathfinding issue, where youíd become stuck or move into a door instead of the alleyway like the character has a mind of their own, and sometimes the camera really needed to move in closer as you walked towards the back of the screen. Also selecting objects was sometimes a bit difficult when a few objects were located close together. Itíd sometimes take a lot of effort to maneuver the cursor over the object and get it to recognize it as the thing you wanted to select. 

The Special Edition also features an all-new voice cast, which makes the game far more enjoyable than reading bulk text. Thereís pretty good variety in the dialogue, which is generally quite witty and fun, but donít expect endless amounts of new dialogue everytime you revisit an area. An improved soundtrack also made you feel like you were playing a pirate game, which is handy considering thatís what you were doing. When I think of the game one of the things that sticks out the most is the varied soundtrack that had a fresh sound for the different areas.  

New features were the name of the game for the Special Edition and one feature, which I found invaluable but others might not, is the hint system. By holding down X players can be provided with a hint on what to do next. I found the game incredibly difficult. Some of the puzzles have really random conclusion, like using an actual monkey as a wrench. What the hell? I know nothing about manly things like wrenches and pumps and using wrenches on pumps so the little joke was completely lost on me. The hint system isnít really designed to make those challenges any easier. Instead it provided a basic guide to what to do next, like find a map piece, but itís not something like what Nintendoís implemented where the game plays itself. For arguments sake if it says to use a shovel and you donít have said shovel it wonít tell you step by step how to acquire it, a lot of the details are still left up to you.  

The puzzles make the game incredibly challenging and rather long, but not in the Ďthis is boring, when will it endí sort of way. They make it long because there is a lot of trial and error and often multiple parts attached to each puzzle. It was nice to be truly challenged by a game and even stumped a few times due to the design of the puzzles. Okay it was more like stumped most of the time, and sometimes I felt as if I was missing something when I tried to complete a puzzle, some hidden meaning in the dialogue or something that directed you what to do next. Having a shitload of items and not knowing what to do with them is rather frustrating and a few of the puzzles were a little too extreme. Then again you play a game like Monkey Island 2 to be challenged and the game really delivers in that respect.  

On the whole itís really hard not to recommend this new and improved version of Monkey Island 2: LeChuckís Revenge. Some shiny new graphics, a great voice cast to bring the witty dialogue to life and that same challenging gameplay that made the originals so great. Sure there are a few minor issues with pathfinding and animations but on the whole itís a really well made game. Fun, cheap and itíll last you hours, Monkey Island 2: LeChuckís Revenge Special Edition is worth the outlay.


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