Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge Review – A Gem of a Game

Even with nostalgia goggles off, still is an amazing adventure game & remaster

After the occurrences of The Secret of Monkey Island (orig. 1990, remaster 2009), we revisit Guybrush in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge (Lucas Arts 1991, Special Edition 2010), several years after his defeat of the ghost pirate LeChuck. Now, more mature, as his beard clearly indicates (even though some bartender doesn’t believe him), Guybrush feels unfulfilled as life has been in a rut since LeChuck’s demise. In search of a new adventure, he ventures off to find the buried treasure known as “Big Whoop”, and in doing so, accidentally initiates the events that lead to LeChuck’s resurrection.

Monkey Island 2: LeChuck’s Revenge may be one of the very first PC titles I’ve ever played when my brother borrowed it from one of his friends, and it later on became the first PC game I’ve ever owned myself. So the question is whether or not this game stands the test of time and whether this remaster is worth its admission fee. After all, I wasn’t too hot on Monkey 1‘s remaster with its sometimes problematic controls and its not as fun gameplay.

About the game

Put your thinking cap on, because without using the internet or any guides, it might easily take you more than a month to get through this game. Monkey 2 improved upon a lot of things from Monkey 1; the side characters have more personality, and the “moon logic” has been toned down for the most part. Nevertheless, they’re still there in some places and sequences like “If this is XX, how much is this?” bring back uncomfortable memories, but these are minor dents.

Monkey2_01
The game changes aspect ratios when switching between graphics

What I have to say though is that this game is a lot tougher than expected. Players have to simultaneously solve puzzles on three different islands that each have vast maps and quite a lot of side minor characters on them. Talking to all of them in order to learn what to do requires a lot of time and a good memory. I had a lot of fun re-experiencing this world, though I do understand that the complexity of the puzzles might definitely be a turn-off for modern players. There is also a part where one has to use the library to find a book that contains clues on the whereabouts of a sunken ship. But as the library catalog is so extensive, this might take a while.

Another thing that the developers mentioned in the audio commentary is that they were surprised by how long this game turned out to be and stated that they didn’t want the game to be too short, so they just kept adding stuff. Monkey 2 could’ve easily ended before the Dinky Island segment, or had several puzzles simply removed and it would still be as memorable.

About the remaster

As with the remaster of Monkey 1, the game comes with new music, the ability to switch back and forth between old and new graphics, a hint system, and a full voice over. This time around, the game also has audio commentary by its original creators. The hint system and commentary were definitely two things that improved this project. You could now learn a bit about the game while also trying to figure out how to connect one and one.

Monkey2_02
Close-up and comparison of the old pixel art and the new design

If you are buying the PC version, then keep in mind that, similar to the remake of Leisure Suit Larry: Reloaded, there are also two versions of this remaster in circulation: One without, and one with them. Players don’t miss out on anything if they pick the version without achievements, as most of them are very uncreative and don’t add anything to the game. The achievements in later remasters by Double Fine (like Grim Fandango and Day of the Tentacle) were much more rewarding when (re)visiting these crazy worlds.

Finally, the only complaint I have about the new artwork is that the style very different from Monkey 1. It doesn’t make sense to me why the design for Elaine Marley was changed so much that she looks like a completely different person in this game.

Conclusion

This game is definitely not for everyone. The puzzles are pretty tough and require a lot of patience to get through. If you’re a fan of comedic brain teasers, however, then this is definitely worth checking out. Guybrush’ are hilarious and even the baddies are adorable. The remaster suffers from some of the same issues as the previous one, in so far that I had problems with the item menu when playing with the modern graphics turned on, aside from that, it was pretty enjoyable.

The game is an 8 voodoo dolls out of 10

Where to get

Monkey2_03
Kate Capsize has been my favorite side character in the game ever since I first played it

Monkey Island 2 Special Edition: LeChuck’s Revenge  is available both by itself or as part of the Monkey Island Special Edition Collection aka Monkey Island Special Edition Bundle. It can be found at a retailer near you, purchased through online stores like amazon, and is available as digital download on services like Good Old Games or Steam for $9.99 USD or your local equivalent. It used to be available on iTunes but appears to have been taken down at the time of this review.

Feel free to visit my Steam curator page for other reviews:

http://steamcommunity.com/groups/gaoscorner#curation

All screenshots taken by me during my playthrough and recorded using the Steam Overlay feature.

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