Tales of Monkey Island: The Siege of Spinner Cay Review
Guybrush's first adventure was quite the mess. So far his wife, Elaine, is still missing, he still has the cursed hand, and the dreadful vodoo Pox he unleashed is still out there infecting residents out at sea. In this second episode he obviously will have to clean up some of this mess.
Guybrush Threepwood has survived the evil doctor, the Marquis de Singe, and has escaped from Flotsam Island. His next adventure takes place in the Jerkbait Islands, where a beautiful island called Spinner Cay is located. Here he finally catches up with his wife, Elaine, and at the same time discovers that the vodoo Pox has infected pirates outside Flotsam Island. Worse, these cursed pirates are also after the prized treasure, La Esponga Grande, a big sponge that will suck up all the vodoo Pox thereby curing anyone infected by it. What's Guybrush going to do about these pirates, and will he find La Esponga Grande in time?
Spinner Cay is a magnificent place inhabited by the Vaycalians, a friendly merfolk race. Spinner Cay's blueish colors, waterfalls, and lanterns are a welcome change of scenery from the jungles, beaches, and pirate buildings you saw in Launch of the Screaming Narwhal. You can visit a local shop and library and even meet the queen herself. I never got tired of watching them plop down into the waters and pop back up. You get to talk with these Vaycalians but there's nothing really special, personality-wise, about them that stands out.
Unfortunately not enough is done to make you feel at home in Spinner Cay. There aren't that many characters here to chat with and you will spend more time outside the island doing other things. Spinner Cay could have been expanded with more set pieces, puzzles, and characters to interact with since it is the best looking place in the series so far. It would have been great to spend more time there rather than walking in jungles that look exactly like the ones from Launch of the Screaming Narwhal.
Now you will get to visit more islands, far more than LOTSN, as the game provides a map where you can direct the Screaming Narwhal to new places like Brilling Island and Roe Island. The place you will spend most of your time is the Jerkbait Islands, which actually consists of three smaller islands where you will meet LeChuck and the other pirates.
Characters and Dialogue
The one standout supporting character here is LeChuck, who is now a saint since he's no longer cursed with the vodoo Pox. Meeting the noble and good-hearted LeChuck is an entertaining part of the game, but it becomes a problem when there's no one else to replace his role as the villain. Guybrush doesn't really face any real threat here, the way he did with the Marquis de Singe in LOTSN. His fight out in the seas with the pirate called McGillicutty later in the game was a shallow and short experience. McGillicutty is just another evil pirate already done a thousand times before, so I wouldn't put this one-dimensional character on the same pedestal as the Marquis de Singe. I wish Morgan LeFlay, a much more interesting and entertaining character, would have been Guybrush's nemesis here instead of McGillicutty.
It was disappointing that they did not bring back a few memorable characters from the first chapter. I felt they delivered some of the strongest lines and comedy in the game. One of them makes a brief appearance with LeFlay but that was it.
I was glad to meet new characters like the Vaycalians and Morgan LeFlay, but it would have been nice to see old faces who I thought had good chemistry with Guybrush. They would have been better alternatives than the pyrite parrot whose one line joke is no longer funny anymore.
Tales of Monkey Island: The Siege of Spinner Cay has its ups and downs. More could have been done to enrich the world and the characters. That doesn't mean it's a terrible game. Fans of the first chapter should look forward to solving more head scratching puzzles, seeing the new side of LeChuck, visiting the merfolk's beautiful home in Spinner Cay, and finally meeting Morgan LeFlay.
But by not bringing back some of the original cast members and by not focusing more on Spinner Cay or LeFlay, the story and characters are not as strong as the first chapter. I hope that Telltale will release a more epic third chapter where you get to know about these characters. A chapter where Guybrush is given a real challenge, a nemesis or a situation, that is worth getting into, and no more jungle exploring please!