Devolver Digital, LucasFilm Games and Terrible Toybox with the guidance of Ron Gilbert and Dave Grossman (although without Tim Schafer) present Return to Monkey Island, the sixth game in the franchise (but the third).
Return to Monkey Island It is available for PC and Nintendo Switch.
For all of us who grew up between the 80s and 90s, you will remember what the words “graphic adventure” meant if you had a desktop PC. It was a synonym for “LucasArts” something that I was able to write in a more complete note that you can read here: when the adventure was graphic.
Beyond the magnificence of his illustrations, LucasArts had put a certain spark to his stories, something that would mark the animation of the 90s in general. An innocent humor for young and old that sometimes even played with double meanings.
It seems like yesterday when I had seen at the house of a schoolmate The Secret of Monkey Island, released in 1990. Its unique settings, its colorful characters and the possibility of solving puzzles in a narrative way; you were just another pirate accompanying our hero Guybrush Threepwood.
The following year he left Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge, although I didn’t play it until I had my first PC in 1995. Guybrush’s adventure continues leaving one of the most important unknowns in the history of video games, what happened at the end of the story? Was the whole story part of the imagination? Or is there really another hidden secret?
In search of the secret
The story is starring Guybrush again and a couple of years have passed since the end of the second part. We arrive at the Mêlée island where we will find everything changed. Elaine is no longer the governor of the place, and the old guard is no longer in charge and a group of young pirates in charge of Captain Madison make the decisions in place. Worst of all, the zombie LeChuck is preparing a crew and a journey to travel and find the secret of Monkey Island.
Each moment of the game is divided into parts and each one takes us from one place to another, returning to classic areas of the franchise or discovering new spaces.
As I mentioned before, what I enjoyed the most when I was a kid about the adventures written by Gilbert, Grossman and Schafer were the dialogues and luckily Return of Monkey Island manages to keep the bar high. The characters have intact charisma and a nostalgic air is felt throughout the story, almost as if those 30 years had not passed.
Of course I don’t know if the new generations are going to laugh with phrases like “the first rule of a pirate is never to buy a used treasure map”. Although my smile was impossible to hide.
The challenge of using the imagination
things happened to me with Return to Monkey Island. The game obviously has the same mechanics as any graphic adventure. An inventory with the objects that we find and each scenario to explore and click to interact. The main course… the puzzles.
Each zone has a series of activities to be carried out and they are carried out by obtaining objects, exchanging favors, talking to characters or using your imagination. Although some may become complex, the truth is that the answer is simpler than it seems. And my mind kept wondering if the challenges of the first parts in the 90s were not more far-fetched or if perhaps now, almost 40 years old, I have a more lively mind. I will never know.
There are also puzzles that trigger other puzzles and you will hear yourself saying: “aahhhh so I have to do this or go there”.
To add a bit of treasure hunting, there are some hidden cards that appear randomly, containing trivia from the saga Monkey Island with questions and several answers to choose from.
The game has an easy mode and a hard mode. I directly tried the difficult one where there are more challenges and the truth is that the game is not very complex as I mentioned before. Also in case they get lost, there is a clue book that can be insisted on to reveal the resolution of each puzzle.
A face lift but in the same body
The first thing that happened when the first images of Return to Monkey Island It was the small dispute for its aesthetic change. The classic pixelated graphics gave way to a more cartoony style with more octagonal features. But don’t be fooled, the work of artist Rex Crowle (Tearaway) is to be commended.
Not only for daring to reimagine scenarios and characters already seen with a new style; but also in creating new experiences. The settings have a lot of life and each object has a story or interaction (something that I always liked a lot about graphic adventures).
Music was handled by Michael Land, Peter McConnel and Clint Bajakian, original soundtrack creators who re-teamed together and have done multi-game LucasArts projects such as Day of the Tentacle, Grim Fandango or adaptations of starwars.
Dominic Armato is also back who gave the voice to Guybrush giving coherence and continuity to the adventure.
MINIMUM: Requires a 64-bit processor and operating system – OS: Windows 10 – Processor: AMD FX-4300 (4 * 3800) or equivalent / Intel Core i3-3240 (2 * 3400) or equivalent – Memory: 8 GB of RAM – Graphics: Radeon HD 7750 (1024 VRAM) or equivalent / GeForce GT 640 (2048 VRAM) or equivalent – Storage: 4 GB available space