With the wind in it’s sails, Tales of Monkey Island has sailed onto it’s next episode. We last left our mighty pirate heroes Guybrush, and Winslow at the sword of a mysterious female stranger. Luckily The Siege of Spinner Cay doesn’t keep you waiting to resolve the conflict at hand.
Last month’s episode of Tales of Monkey Island concluded with Guybrush Threepwood, and his trusted crew member Winslow escaping the dangers of Flotsom Island’s inward wind. They set sail to find Elaine and rescue her from the evil Pirate LeChuck. In the scheme of things, the Screaming Narwhal (their trusted sea vessel) becomes damaged, and needs repair before they can get any further on their quest. This leads them to the island of Spinner Cay, home of androgynous sea creatures (they have one thousand words for wind, but none for ‘man’ or ‘woman’).
I found it interesting to read reactions to the first episode, and find so many people complaining about the new controls. Players of the previous Telltale episodic adventure games, will likely find that it’s an evolution of previous titles control schemes. With the early titles, character’s would move to where you click. This meant that the camera had to be pulled out so you could direct characters around the scene. With the Wallace & Gromit series, direct character movement was introduced using the WASD/Arrow keys. This allowed more cinematic camera angles, as well as introduce depth of field effects. The only downside to this was that players who enjoyed sitting back and clicking their way through things, were forced to sit up and use both keyboard, and mouse. Tales of Monkey Island remedied this by keeping the keyboard movement options, but also adding a mouse interface which when held down, the player could point the way to where the character needed to go. To folks going in with only the previous Monkey Island titles as the frame of reference, it seemed foreign, but for veteran Telltale players, it was a natural evolution.
Another interesting evolution is within the series itself. In previous series, you would have your main area, and then a familiar city that would open up more and more with subsequent episodes. Tales seems to be introducing completely new islands each episode, which is refreshing. In addition to this, the episodes seem to have an overall arch, which relies on you having played the previous episode. Some might think it strange to be selling each episode separate, if it’s telling one story. Personally I think the gap of roughly a month between episodes keeps things fresh. It was also nice to see things transition into the evening, as the time spent in the first episode would occupy most of the day.
The Siege of Spinner Cay is a splendid follow up to the season opener. The story seems to pack in even more adventure, without seeming like too big of a departure from the first episode. I eagerly anticipate getting to spend more time with Guybrush, and Winslow, aboard the Screaming Narwhal, especially given another thrilling cliffhanger at the end of the episode.
You can grab a season pass (with a nice DVD at the end) or individual episodes at the Telltale Store.