This review focuses on the WiiWare version of the title. Screenshots are from the PC release of Tales of Monkey Island: Chapter Three Lair of the Leviathan. Chapter two’s review can be found here.
After much delay, Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan finally is available on WiiWare. By this point in the series it is probably fairly easy to tell whether or not you will like the rest of the series, but Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3 does throw in a few changes that might move some players who are on the fence about buying the third chapter. Will these new changes reignite your pirate spirit? Or will you simply feel it’s an old treasure not worth searching for?
Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3, like chapter 2, takes place immediately where the previous chapter left off. Guybrush and his crew have been swallowed by a giant manatee. Within the Manatee are a group of rebellious men who want to stay within the manatee and won’t let Guybrush escape. Guybrush must mingle with this group in order to escape to complete his current quest to find the “La Esponga Grande” to rid himself of Le Chuck’s pox. The story unfolds in a non-linear order most of the time but it works well and has enjoyable characters and like the rest of the series has lots of witty writing. Also a fan favorite story character returns in this title, so those who played past Monkey Island titles will most likely appreciate their inclusion in the title. This chapter probably has the largest variety of characters, so if you found past character’s being all too similar, you might find yourself becoming attached to a few of the characters in this chapter.
As with its past entries, the biggest problem it has on the gameplay side is simply trying to match the designer’s logic. One way you would solve a puzzle doesn’t work. Not because it usually wouldn’t but because the game isn’t designed for you to do so. So unless you look at a guide there is a good chance that you will wander ten, twenty or even thirty minutes just to find there was a simple solution that only the designer would have thought of as the most logical. One of the later puzzles is absolutely ridiculous. There is a puzzle where you have to answer questions through 25 pre-set phrases, but the answers to them are incredibly random and you have to get multiple correct in a row in order to complete the puzzle. By far this title probably has the most illogical puzzle designs of them all, but almost all of them are still solvable minus the one previously mentioned which I recommend you just look up in a guide for.
One major change in this title is the level design. Rather than having multiple areas spread across a entire location, chapter 3 takes place in only about five rooms. While this could seem like a issue it actually gives you a bit of freedom to how you solve puzzles as most of the games puzzles are already presented to you. One room is also fairly large giving you a bit of free space to work with so you don’t always feel cramped. One issues this does cause though is that there are too many objects to click in a single room. This means that objects become cluttered on screen, which makes it difficult to select exactly which object you want to interact with.
A great note for WiiWare users is that the game has no slow down. Whether this is a result of the small environments used or just TellTale eventually working around the problem, it is great that this problem is gone for at least this chapter. The game still doesn’t have as much as a visual spark as the PC version but it gets the job done. While there have been some visual glitches in the past in the Tales of Monkey Island series, this one takes the cake as it seems there were numerous throughout the experience. Animation looks great for the most part but occasionally you would notice some choppiness. The voice acting is still top notch, but the compressed voices are still present. Occasionally the audio chops up a bit but its forgivable.
Tales of Monkey Island Chapter 3: Lair of the Leviathan is yet another great entry in the Tales of Monkey Island episodic series. While this chapter may have quite a few flaws, it is just as enjoyable as all the other chapters. WiiWare users will be happy to find that their frame rate issues have been a completely ironed out. Unfortunately the same thing can’t be said for visual glitches, which have increased in frequency, and audio issues. If you loved Chapter 1 and 2 and wish to continue Guybrush’s quest, then pick this up ASAP. If you didn’t like the last two chapters then there is nothing here to keep you going.
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