What’s the Matter? Can’t Keep It Up?

We finally finished playing Tales of Monkey Island this afternoon, making it to the end of the final episode, Rise of the Pirate God. I say “finally”, because it took us quite a long time to finish the final sequence of the game. And by that I mean it took us a long to to bother to finish it. Because it sucks quite a bit.

I don’t normally like to complain about games in an overt way – I still feel guilty sometimes for abusing LEGO Indiana Jones – but the end of Tales of Monkey Island really grates on me,  and it’s because pretty much the whole game until the end was so charming. For the first four chapters of the game it was good old Monkey Island humour, stupid and hilarious puzzles, and so on. I was like a well-wooed wooee, a smitten kitten, a doting dove.

It bewilders me as to why the end of the game – and, really, a lot of the final chapter, though there were highlights – was so poor. I suppose it might have just been the challenge of wrapping up a long storyline and, to be fair, the endings of Monkey Island games aren’t necessarily their strong points. The end of Tales suffers from the traditional “LeChuck keeps turning up and kicking you out of the screen” puzzle, has terrible lighting, and more, but it also features a far greater transgression: Guybrush is listless and defeated throughout the sequence. No spry humour, no indefatigable wit, no foolish bravado. It was just depressing, and we ended up simply following the steps of a walkthrough to make it through the sequence.

This makes me wonder about the whole experience of being “betrayed” by our favourite media. I imagine it happens it most forms – they just don’t do it right. In particular, there’s idea somewhere that we, the fans, know better that the producers of the media in question. I guess this holds especially true when older properties like Monkey Island are resurrect – it must be nerve wracking for the developers I imagine. Maybe they felt like they were taking an edgy leap by making Guybrush be all flaccid and defeated at the end of the game, who knows.

I know it was a dumb idea though. Thanks for nothing, jerks.

26 August 2010
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