The Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition is just like the special edition of Star Wars (a Star Wars reference? In my Mojo?) only better. It is the exact same game as the original, only with modern visuals and several other perks. Rather than telling all about the original game, I will direct you to our excellent Secret History article if you haven't already played the game (for shame!).
The demo shown started just like classic Secret of MI. It showed the title screen with Melee Island in it's 8-bit glory, and then transitioned to the all new Special Edition graphics. And it was really great seeing Guybrush's classic opening line in stunning HD. Every scene of the game has been beautifully hand painted with character sprites layed on top. While Guybrush might look a bit off in the new cover art for the game, I think he looks just fine in-game.
One of the best parts about the new version of the game is that it is fully voiced. Just like the new Tales of Monkey Island, Dominic Armato is returning to voice Guybrush, as well as Alexandra Boyd as Elaine and Earl Boen as LeChuck. The music is also completely re-recorded.
If you still can't get used to Guybrush's new look and just want to enjoy the original game, you can do that too. With just the push of a button you can seamlessly switch between the special edition game and the original, just as it was released 20 years ago. That is the beauty of this special edition: the game itself has not been changed one bit. All the text, puzzles, and jokes have not been changed, just have received a very nice facelift.
A new feature that has been added to the game is a hint system. Rather than having players who get stuck on a puzzle break the experience and go to the Internet for help, a simple push of a button provides a hint on what to do next. And the great thing about it is that the player can choose just how much they want to be spoiled, from a general tip to an in your face arrow pointing at the door to the Scumm Bar saying "Walk through the door with the sign that says 'Scumm Bar'", as was the example given to me at E3. Of course those of us that know the game like the back of our hand will have no use for this, but it's a great thing to include for new players.
There will be some surprises you didn't see in the special edition of the game, but nothing wildly different. For example, remember Spiffy the dog? The one who's close up was cut out of the original Monkey Island? Well if you approach Spiffy and talk to him, you will see he has finally been given the close up he deserves after 20 years. Little things like this will hopefully put the special edition over the top for those of you who are still skeptical about it.
George Lucas sure is great at making fans of his products buy something they already have multiple times. This time it is worth it though! Secret of Monkey Island Special Edition does not have a release date yet, but it is planned to drop around the same time the Tales of Monkey Island is released, so look forward to it around that July 7 date.Mojo loves you Written by Jeff Moeller for The International House of Mojo and The LucasArts Fan Network.
12th June 2009.