Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge. (computer adventure game) (Evaluation)
by Eddie Huffman
Consult your recipe for Peg Leg Rot and swig a hearty mug of grog. Guybrush Threepwood, goofball hero of Lucasfilm Games' The Secret of Monkey Island, has returned in Monkey Island 2: LeChuck's Revenge to do battle yet again with his decomposing nemesis, the ghost pirate LeChuck.
The games in the Monkey Island series are brightly animated adventures with a pirate-era setting and a warped sense of humor. You wear the paltry beard of Guybrush Threepwood, a pirate wannabe at the beginning of The Secret of Monkey Island and a LeChuck-conquering hero as Monkey Island 2 begins. I couldn't get far enough in the first game to lay eyes on LeChuck, however, much less defeat him.
Fortunately, Monkey Island 2 features an optional Easy mode "for beginners and magazine reviewers." (Ahem.) Unfortunately, even when playing "Monkey 2 Lite," I still couldn't figure out a way for Guybrush to vanquish LeChuck in round 2 of their ongoing enmity. My Guybrush remains lost under Dinky Island, getting zapped from room to room whenever LeChuck puts the pins to his Guybrush voodoo doll.
Whether you have better luck playing this game or not, you'll enjoy yourself. Unlike many other adventure games, Lucasfilm games actually encourage you to take chances--and to take it easy. As Guybrush, you can spout rude putdowns at unfriendly guards without fear of reprisal, and you can venture into unfamiliar places--a skull-shaped voodoo hut hidden in a swamp, the bedroom of an unconscious island governor who awakens only long enough to open his mouth for a spray of food from bedside tubes--without having to worry about sudden death.
Along with this easygoing approach, you'll find engaging animated scenes, from closeups of navigational maps detailing peril-fraught seas (avoid the Forbidden Rhombus and the Forbidden Right Circular Conic Cross-Section) to topographical macro views of the islands Guybrush wanders. Before he even encounters the newly reanimated LeChuck, Guybrush must search for clues to lead him to the lost treasure that's every pirate's dream: Big Whoop. The animated game has a cinematic feel, from the lovely opening shot of Scabb Island to the mood-setting music.
Monkey Island 2 is worth playing for the sounds alone. I first tried it using only my computer's internal speaker, then ran it through a Covox Sound Master II. The difference was astounding. A game of adequate, squawking sound effects quickly became something akin to a movie, with impressive flourishes of sound to accompany every tumble and capture. The music was even more impressive, with clattering Caribbean rhythms enlivening the opening credits, jaunty pirate music accompanying the opening scene, and springy reggae sounds emanating from the speakers every time Guybrush boarded the ship of the dreadlocked Captain Dread.
Combine that music with fine animation and abundant humor, and you have as enjoyable an adventure game as anyone could hope for--even if you never do vanquish LeChuck.