Guybrush Threepwood, self proclaimed "might pirate," has failed to rescue his wife, Elaine, from the hands of the evil undead pirate, LeChuck, during their battle on the high seas. By adding his own twist to a voodoo recipe that was supposed to destroy LeChuck, Guybrush manages to mess it up causing it to backfire. As a result he ends up stranded on Flotsam Island. Now he needs the help of the local residents to get him a ship so he can go and find Elaine.
Story (4 out of 5)
Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal does an adequate job of keeping you interested by telling a mystery story, focusing on the situations surrounding Guybrush’s cursed hand, the reasons behind the terrible winds on Flotsam Island, and the secrets that are hidden there. You can choose different dialogues from characters you meet who will provide you with clues and info about those mysteries. They do have a lot to say, and thankfully the conversations have spark and personality to them.
The game could have used more characters since there are only a limited number of residents to talk to on Flotsam Island. Don’t expect a long game. Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal feels more like a prologue to hopefully more epic stories in the future episodes.
The best parts of the story belong to the characters, specifically Guybrush, the Voodoo Lady, the doctor, and the glass blower. They all have funny and witty dialogue to share. A few characters like to poke fun at Guybrush while Guybrush likes to make tongue-in-cheek remarks on items he finds and objects he examines. Pirates are known for being tough as nails, but in this game you won’t find many who fit that picture. Since they can’t leave the island because of the winds, a few manage to keep themselves busy with interesting jobs and hobbies you don’t expect to see in a pirate. One of them is D’oro, a jolly fat pirate who enjoys collecting and playing with action figures.
The comedy is well written and it really helps to bring the story to life.
Presentation (5 out of 5)
The colorful and vibrant cartoon style is perfect for telling a funny pirate adventure story. The three dimensional models of Guybrush, LeChuck, Elaine, and the pirates look similar to ones from computer animated movies. Flotsam Island is a small place but the well designed buildings and ancient ruins should have enough appeal to keep you interested in exploring for a few hours.
The game adds some nice touches to the sound effects, you can hear the winds blow, sea gulls chirping, and animals making noises in the jungle. Together with the music and subtle sound effects, you feel like you’re walking around in a living breathing island.
Dominic Armato, the voice actor for Guybrush, is the first reason why this game is entertaining enough to play through. He gives you a funny, clumsy, and easy going Guybrush who is fun to play as. The rest of the voice actors did their jobs by playing their roles perfectly, adding personality, charm, and humor to their characters. The Voodoo Lady, aka "Deep Gut," sounds like a voodoo lady with her loud prophetic statements about the spiritual world and the mundane realities of life.
Gameplay (4 out of 5)
For the most part the puzzles here are challenging enough for you to spend moments to reflect and think. It’s important to be aware of your surroundings and to memorize objects you’ve seen that will play an important part later. You will have to listen carefully to what other characters say because they accidentally give clues to some of the puzzles. For example, you will come across some barrels filled with black ink, and at first, you can’t do anything with them. But later on, a certain item must be dipped with black ink, and you will know what it is if you listened carefully to a certain pirate’s take on a black item.
There are puzzles that seem really hard but they end up being easy to solve, as long as you don’t think too hard. Besides just being another parody on pirates, a captain’s pink underwear on the clothesline can be used for an important purpose if you put a certain item in there.
You can combine items together to make new ones but most of the puzzles are easy and there aren’t many situations where you’ll need to.
The best way to be challenged is to turn off the hint system so Guybrush won’t give you any advice.
Tales of Monkey Island: Launch of the Screaming Narwhal is good enough for an introduction game. The story has enough mystery to keep you interested. You won’t be disappointed with the cast of characters and the challenging puzzles. What they can improve on is the item combination feature and having more people to talk to and places to explore. In the end, this game has enough appeal to whet your appetite for the next episodes.