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E3 2000: cry of the forsaken Page Two

I will now be reduced to a drooling fanboy.

Which brings us to what you've all been waiting for: Escape From Monkey Island. From the demo I was shown I can say two definite things - 1) It is hilarious, and 2) What's been shown so far does an excellent job of meshing in with the MI world we've seen in the first three. From the beginning of the demo (part of the game's opening cinematic involving a hilarious flashback sequence which made me laugh to the point of serious embarassment) to wherever it ended each time (I observed the run-through it three times, I admit) I couldn't get enough.

Visually EMI matches most closely with Curse of Monkey Island (the swirly clouds and rounded off buildings are a near-perfect match - aside from the fact that they are 3D). I was told that EMI project leads Michael Stemmle and Sean Clark looked especially to the first game for inspiration, and it shows. The dialogue (that I have heard) definitely rings of that, loaded with subtle but quick wit and self referential in-jokes.

As mentioned elsewhere, Escape from Monkey Island is running on a new revised version of the Grim Fandango GRIME engine, which means it is almost entirely 3D polygon based characters interacting with 2D pre-rendered backgrounds. Guybrush is controlled using the arrow keys, versus the traditional mouse control from the past three, and (like Grim) when he passes something of interest his head turns to look at it (if multiple hot spots are within his 'line of sight' you can select which one to interact with through a text menu that pops up). Some might find this lack of mouse disturbing, but from what I could see it worked fine, with hardly any of the walking troubles many had with Grim Fandango. Also, this being a Monkey Island game and all the sentence bar is still used at the bottom (the text line that displays a sentence describing the action you are about to do, like "Walk into International House of Mojo").

What's going on, who's there, and why

The story takes place close to the end of the third game. Elaine and Guybrush have been married (as seen in the end of Curse), and return home from the honeymoon to find that Elaine has been proclaimed dead and mysterious (yet familiar) politician Charles L. Charles is expressing serious interest in Elaine's "former" position. At this point what happens next isn't clear yet,but a lot of wacky MI adventures ensue, including Insult arm wrestling a man named Mr. Ignatius Cheese, visiting four different islands, two of them new (Melee, Monkey, Jambalaya, and Lucre), and a humiliatingly un-manly pink pirate ship.

While the Melee Island I saw in the demo wasn't overflowing with generic pirates out for a walk in town many familiar characters were seen around, including Meathook (or at least his house on Hook Isle, now a wax museum), Otis (former mint-desiring prisoner), Carla (the Swordmaster of Melee Island), the Voodoo Lady, and the Scumm Bar cook/barkeep. Also expect familiar faces like Stan (now running "Stan's Time Share" on Jambalaya Island), Murray, and quite a lot of monkeys, one of them named Timmy.

Turn off your computer and go to sleep.

Lots of what I said could potentially change, I'm sure I got some facts wrong, and I might have lied intentionally a couple of times just to throw you off, but regardless I hope you found this informative, satisfying your E3/LucasArts fix for today (or at least the next hour or so). Any questions or comments should be sent to me, anything involving hate mail or me being in trouble should be sent to spaff.

Sources
LucasArts
GameSpot
The SCUMM Bar
Computer Games Online
Screenshots from showfloor video and LucasArts 2000-2001 Product Catalog.

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