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Gamertell Review: Tales of Monkey Island: Lair of the Leviathan for PC

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Title: Tales of Monkey Island: Lair of Leviathan!
Price: $8.99 or $34.95 for the full series; $10 for the Wii episode
System(s): *PC, Wii
Release Date: September, 29 2009
Publisher (Developer): Telltale (LucasArts)
ESRB Rating: “Everyone” for comic mischief.
Pros: Very fun and hilarious game play. You get to create a unique pirate face and explore the inside of a manatee (and the return of Murray).
Cons: No more Island exploring, possibly too much manatee exploring.
Overall Score: Two thumbs up; 98/100; A; * * * * 1/2 out of five.

What do huge manatees, mutinous crews and voodoo curses all have in common? The third installment of Telltale’s Tales of Monkey Island: Lair of Leviathan.

In the previous episode, our hero Guybrush Threepwood and his ship were swallowed whole by an insanely large manatee. Once inside, Guybrush learned that the explorer (who is now a bit loopy) he was looking for was also swallowed by the beast so that hew could control the beast from the inside, and steer it towards La Esponja Grande, which happens to be at the manatee mating ground.

Guybrush will need the help of the explorer’s mutinous crew (who would prefer to just live in the manatee forever), to escape the beast and eventually get to the sponge. But that’s not all; you also have to learn to speak manatee to seduce the rather vicious Leviathan: a large, angry, female manatee that guards La Esponja Grande.

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Manatees Make Great Summer Homes

This episode was quite interesting and a bit different. Instead of exploring islands and talking to the locals, you are stuck inside a huge manatee. Not only do you have to interact with the manatee’s innards to get out, but you also have to find his missing ear canal which has been swiped by the crew of the explorers ship. You find out later that they think the old coot has lost his mind in wanting to find a large sponge and are much happier living in the manatee’s stomach.

Your first goal is to get each of the three crew members to like you and therefore want to give you back the ear canal. This is not going to be an easy task, since they are pirates and don’t trust outsiders. You can jump through canals throughout the beast to travel to different parts of the manatee, which is pretty gross when you think about it, but also the best form of travel.

You also meet an old friend in this episode, by old friend I mean a character that any veteran of the Monkey Island games will know: Murray. Murray is a dead pirate who loves to cause misery and despair to those who cross him. Fortunately, he is now only a yakking skull, which is quite hilarious. As long as you have him in your inventory, he will talk to you and makes idle threats until you find him a body so he can get his revenge on the world.

Other than that, the game play is the same as the other episodes. You have to find items and use and combine them to solve puzzles. You also learn a new technique, the “Arrr” face, where you pick different combination’s of facial expressions to create an awesome pirate face. You need this technique to impress one of the crew members and to intimidate another. I assume they will also incorporate this in the upcoming episodes too, but I don’t know, I also hope that it is not intended to replace insult sword fighting!

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Mutiny Has Its Downsides

There is not as much fun scenery as there was in previous games because you mainly spend your time inside the manatee. You also venture around underwater (since we all know Guybrush can hold his breath for 10 minutes!) talking to manatees, which is exciting. Despite that, I do miss the island exploring. You can only spend so much time inside a manatee before you go stir crazy!

Getting the crew members to accept you into their crew takes much trial-and-error. One member will easily accept if you can get him a date with Morgan, the bounty hunter you are traveling with, but you have to know what he likes on a first date (and he won’t give you any clues). Basically you just keep trying different things and see what he approves of. Then, when he is happy with the way Morgan approaches him, he will agree to accept you. It would have been nice if he dropped a few hints like, “boy I like holding hands with a girl,” or “I hate pushy types!”

Another crew member won’t accept you unless you can impress him with your pirate face (Arrr face). This involves having to search around the manatee and find pictures or people making facing, then adapting them. It is fun to see the different variations you can come up with. The third one only listens to his friend Santino, who happens to be a dead skeleton that can’t talk. So good luck with that one!

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Be Gettin’ Yar Hooks on this Booty

The game keeps getting more and more interesting as the new episodes come out. First Guybrush was infected with a crazy voodoo plague, then Guybrush encountered a crazy scientist that stole his hand, then Guybrush was attacked by crazy pirates who want your gold artifacts, and now Guybrush has been swallowed by a huge manatee and forced to work alongside a explorer who’s long years of exploring the unusual have made him a bit crazy.

This game is worth playing just to see the return of Murray. After all, it’s always nice to see things brought back from the archives.

So pick up this fantastic adventure game at Telltale Games. And if you still haven’t checked out the previous two tales, you better get to those quick!

Site [Telltale Games]

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