Welcome to Pirate Court! Today’s case ‘Pirates vs. Threepwood’ is now in session. The Plaintiff is in the jazzy hands of Caribbean businessman extraordinaire, Stan! The defendant Guybrush Threepwood will be represented by… Mighty Pirate Guybrush Threepwood. Please be seated. Court is now in session.
As it would turn out, all of those seemingly minor crimes that our friend Guybrush has been committing all season don’t go unpunished. In the penultimate tale of everyone’s favorite episodic pirate adventure Mr. Threepwood has to defend himself against a long list of crimes, all of which make reference to the events of previous episodes. The bulk of the story revolves around him gathering evidence to prove his innocence. One would think that being detained in a cell for the time spent not in trial would prove difficult to achieving his goal, but not all of the other pirates are as witty as Guybrush. Soon enough our hero is exploring the familiar locale of Flotsam Island (the location from the first episode of the series).
Night time works well for Tales of Monkey Island. It not only helps to make a location you’ve visited previously feel fresh and new, but it allows for Telltale to show off how nice their lighting is. Whether it’s light from a candle, neon sign, or plain old moonlight, the world feels new and looks great. The other thing that sets this episode apart from the rest in my mind is the advancements they made in the Monkey Island story as a whole. When one of the big reveals happens, I audibly shouted “WHAT!?!” at my computer monitor. What starts as an innocent courtroom drama quickly leads to some revelations that greatly change how you’ll view the Monkey Island universe.
I would be remiss not to mention the return of my personal favorite character, Stan. He’s seen many professions in the previous Monkey Island titles, but this time around he’s putting on two giant hats (metaphorically of course). Not only is he representing all of the angry pirates in court, but when the trial goes to recess he manages ‘Stan’s Courtroom Souvenir Emporium’ which sells case related paraphernalia and gewgaws. The faithfulness toward the character (whether it be the flailing arms, or line orientation on his signature overcoat) deserves it’s own recognition. The fast talking voice actor (Gavin Hammon) also helps bring a lot of life and energy to the character.
I usually mention the cliffhanger provided at the end of each episode in passing, but this ending is a bit different. In my review of “Lair of the Leviathan“, I wrote about how the series has slowly been introducing more of a serious narrative. This entry’s final scene is one of the better examples on how they’re going about doing this. Of course the world of Monkey Island is one of humor and joy, but these final moments had me entertained for completely different reasons. The way the scene plays out delivers shock, sadness, and sympathy, in addition to adding surprising emotional weight to a very famous line.
I highly recommend playing the series as a whole, especially this episode. The way things are beginning to wrap up have me even more excited for the finale. The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood is a great ride from start to finish, which by the end of you’ll be saying “Can we go again?”.
Tales of Monkey Island: Episode 4- The Trial and Execution of Guybrush Threepwood is out now on PC, and Wiiware. If you’re new to the series you can check out a free demo for the first episode right here. You can grab a season pass (with a nice DVD at the end) or individual episodes at the Telltale Store.