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Our Monkey Island 2 SE Review 07 Jul, 2010 / 34 comments

elTee's review of Monkey Island 2 Special Edition can now be found over here.

34 Comments

  • Avatar
    Murray the Chao on 30 Sep, 2010, 09:12…
    To be honest, I expected Largo to sound more like Bugeye.
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    BillieJoe86 on 13 Jul, 2010, 04:49…
    Ughh... I really don't know why people keep telling that iMuse works fine. I feel bad for the guys at LucasArts who made a huge effort to make this possible, but I guess that it would be unfair for Land and McConnell not to point this out.

    The iMuse that you see in the PC version of the SE is light-years away from the classic one. There is no comparison at all. The amount of places within a cue for which a transition would be played were waaaaaaay more in the original. There were also more transitions, and more places where the previous cue could transition to. It's hard to explain without writing a huge explanation that could lead into an article and make a lot of noise - which I am trying to avoid.

    One thing is to say that due to the way in which the SE was programmed, iMuse could not be implemented, or a gazillion of variables that we don't know but am very sure that exist. However, it is a totally different thing to say that iMuse was implemented properly. Well, maybe properly yes, but definitely not as good as the original. It is a shame that it ended up being more amusing to play the older version if we wanted to appreciate the magic of iMuse.

    Again, LucasArts did a great job, and I wish we knew more about the project. But I believe some of you don't really appreciate how fantastic iMuse was in the original MI2.
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    LGH on 12 Jul, 2010, 20:47…
    I've bought the iPhone version yesterday, and I'm really happy. The controls work much better then in MI1 SE (although I found them quite OK in there). iMuse works just perfectly, and the other gimmicks are also well implemented (touching the screen with 2 fingers for revealing hot spots, shaking the iPhone for hints, turning it vertically for accessing the load/save menu).

    But there's one thing: THE MUSIC. WOW… Perfectly remastered, partially with real instruments, and still as interactive as it was with midi. Absolutely great work!

    I NEED A SOUNDTRACK! What would I give to have this remastered music as a soundtrack. Of course, the interactive pieces would needed to be remixed into complete songs. For example one track "walking aroung in Woodtick", or for example the jail song with the ending cue at the end, etc.

    I would love to buy a physical CD, but I would of course also be willing to buy the soundtrack online (e.g. via iTunes).

    Please, LucasArts, do release it. NOW! ;)
  • Avatar
    elTee on 09 Jul, 2010, 17:48…

    mintcake

    any lover of Monkey 2 would gladly sit there and watch and listen to that intro sequence as it is what stirs the memories and nostalic feelings of when you first played it way back in the day.


    I'm not defending LucasArts, I just don't think it's a big deal. This isn't the game I'm nostalgic for - that game is on floppy disks. This is a different game. I agree that it would be nicer with the intro, but I'm frankly amazed that so many people are so put out by its exclusion. When I make my list of 'amazing moments from Monkey Island 2' the intro isn't on there.
  • Avatar
    GozzoMan on 09 Jul, 2010, 14:25…

    mintcake



    No i dont think thats right, any lover of Monkey 2 would gladly sit there and watch and listen to that intro sequence as it is what stirs the memories and nostalic feelings of when you first played it way back in the day.



    Well, that intro was so good I think anyone would sit gladly through it, "vintage" in its design as it was. It set the mood of the game magnificently.

    And I still haven't been able to swallow the broken iMuse on xbox360, I was shivering to download it and now I'm delaying...
  • Avatar
    Scurvyliver on 09 Jul, 2010, 14:20…
    I just wanted to say I cranked up the game last night and thought It looked pretty darn sweet.

    I am planning to take my time with this game, ration it if you will. I cant see the point in speed-running through - just following the motions. I plan to look around, try some things, and enjoy the damn good music.

    A couple of minor things so far:
    - Yes it's a bit sad the intro is missing
    - largos voice is a bit slow and brutish to how i imagined
    - some of the voice acting is a bit wooden at times (neil ross as wally comes to mind in some lines, though normally he is a spectacular actor. Bad directing?
    - I think I saw a frog in Woodtick, presumably that is salty ocean water though? Nit Pick.
  • Avatar
    mintcake on 09 Jul, 2010, 13:13…

    elTee

    Thanks for the comments :)

    As for the intro; I think part of it is that games don't tend to start with a four-minute list of names these days. It would have been very nice if it were there, but frankly, knowing how good the game itself is, I would have skipped that intro anyway. Getting into Woodtick and walking around is just.... more important.



    No i dont think thats right, any lover of Monkey 2 would gladly sit there and watch and listen to that intro sequence as it is what stirs the memories and nostalic feelings of when you first played it way back in the day. Perhaps if you go back for a second playthrough you would but the first time i started the SE yesterday i was really looking for to that starting moment the most.
    so im sorry but i really think you are just needlessly defending Lucasarts decision whatever it may be to cut it!!
  • Avatar
    elTee on 09 Jul, 2010, 11:16…
    Thanks for the comments :)

    As for the intro; I think part of it is that games don't tend to start with a four-minute list of names these days. It would have been very nice if it were there, but frankly, knowing how good the game itself is, I would have skipped that intro anyway. Getting into Woodtick and walking around is just.... more important.
  • Avatar
    SurplusGamer on 09 Jul, 2010, 09:15…

    Glo_kidd

    Neil Cicierega aka Lemon Demon (formerly aka Trapezoid maker of many MI remixes) brought a really good point to my attention earlier on the facebook page about the intro being cut: the game credits themselves have likely more than doubled in length. It occurs to me that the only way they could have left it in would have been to do one of at least 3 things (totally a repost of my reply to his point earlier on FB):
    1: they could have crammed a huge list of names in the black spaces available which would have looked sloppy
    2: pared down the list to accommodate the existing length which would have left a lot of deserved credit not given -or-
    3: Re-worked it to include all and double the length of the sequence by adding additional art but that would require a lot longer of a music track which would have affected the tone set in the original the same way as not having it at all.

    Fortunately an updated version of the entire intro tune plays in the main menu and the console versions got a golden guy version of the monkey dance when the game first launches (not sure why the PC just gets a boring static LEC slashe screen :( )

    I have wrote many times today already how ridiculously happy i am with all they have done in this remake, I really think that the managed to raise the bar for remakes all around. When the next oldschool company decides to do an update to one of their legacy franchises they should strive to do a job as good as the MI2SE team did with this.



    If that's the reason then it isn't a very good one. The credits are at the end of the game and accessible in the menus, so there's no reason they couldn't do a shortened version of the credits for that sequence, or just gone with the original credits for that bit.
  • Avatar
    Glo_kidd on 09 Jul, 2010, 08:59…

    mintcake

    I dont agree with Glo_kidd , the credits in monkey one SE at the beginning of the game where there with the intro tune!!
    along with the extra ending credits so they could have done the same here with monkey 2 keep it as it was but updated visually etc then have the full end credits like monkey 1 se.....



    You're absolutely right about the first and i love the way they did it, i can even imagine in my head how it would work in MI2. In my head the new intro kicks ass :D

    My point though is that this time around the team is Huuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuuge compared to the original SE if you compare the 2 versions of the credits tin the options the new SE's is much-much longer (

    I can actually imagine that they tried really hard to make it work. If the quality of the game itself is anything to go by these guys really are fans and want to make a tribute just like we would in that position. I know if it was me there the decision to cut it would have been an incredibly hard one, i would be tweaking the presentation over and over to try and make it work. What it may have come down to though is that nothing worked well enough to do the sequence justice, if that was the case then maybe it was for the best, just think of all the "you ruined the intro and r***d my childhood!!!!!!11eleven!!!" rant threads we have been spared ;) I do wish it could have worked though in any case.
  • Avatar
    mintcake on 09 Jul, 2010, 08:31…
    I dont agree with Glo_kidd , the credits in monkey one SE at the beginning of the game where there with the intro tune!!
    along with the extra ending credits so they could have done the same here with monkey 2 keep it as it was but updated visually etc then have the full end credits like monkey 1 se.....
  • Avatar
    Glo_kidd on 09 Jul, 2010, 03:20…
    Neil Cicierega aka Lemon Demon (formerly aka Trapezoid maker of many MI remixes) brought a really good point to my attention earlier on the facebook page about the intro being cut: the game credits themselves have likely more than doubled in length. It occurs to me that the only way they could have left it in would have been to do one of at least 3 things (totally a repost of my reply to his point earlier on FB):
    1: they could have crammed a huge list of names in the black spaces available which would have looked sloppy
    2: pared down the list to accommodate the existing length which would have left a lot of deserved credit not given -or-
    3: Re-worked it to include all and double the length of the sequence by adding additional art but that would require a lot longer of a music track which would have affected the tone set in the original the same way as not having it at all.

    Fortunately an updated version of the entire intro tune plays in the main menu and the console versions got a golden guy version of the monkey dance when the game first launches (not sure why the PC just gets a boring static LEC slashe screen :( )

    I have wrote many times today already how ridiculously happy i am with all they have done in this remake, I really think that the managed to raise the bar for remakes all around. When the next oldschool company decides to do an update to one of their legacy franchises they should strive to do a job as good as the MI2SE team did with this.
  • Avatar
    Rattwap on 09 Jul, 2010, 00:35…
    Yeah, the timing in the game was a bit frustrating at points, including Stan and the Coffin, the spitting contest flags, and the snot rag and underwear from LeChuck at the end.

    I'm surprised you didn't mention the concept art in the review. It was interesting to look through and surprising to see them include some unused screens for the game.
  • Avatar
    valkian on 08 Jul, 2010, 23:09…
    I haven't played it yet, but this was an amazing review. Great job elTee, you almost move me to tears.
  • Avatar
    mmikkel on 08 Jul, 2010, 21:12…

    xhamlet

    I thought the OS X version was supposed to be released yesterday as well. Did they change plans for that release?



    I've searched high and low and can't find any info. I caved in and got the Steam version for PC - it's actually running totally smooth under Wine.
  • Avatar
    speon on 08 Jul, 2010, 19:13…
    I am honestly pleasantly surprised by the MI2:SE. This is coming from a die-hard, detail obsessed fan. MI2 is literally one of my top 3 favorite games of all time, and I've been personally gaming since the very early 80's, pretty much non-stop.

    It's such a treat to hear the faithfully recreated music and the lush ambient soundscape. I love the gently lapping waves and airy, cricket-laden night air - it's pretty darn close to how I imagined it in my mind all those years. The new sound effects spiced in (such as the Voodoo hut entrance) are top notch as well.

    The voice work is even better than I was anticipating. Dominic nailed Guybrush once again (with even greater nuance and emotion than SoMI:SE), and it's a joy to hear Wally return. Largo is hit or miss (mostly miss, I guess) for most people, but he didn't bother me. I personally imagined him gruff and stooge-ish. Elaine's voice (and art) doesn't work for me, too much of a shrill older woman, rather than a cool, collected, level-headed lady. It's odd as she was much closer to this in SoMI:SE, Curse and to a lesser extent EMI. Ah well, it's probably to be expected from all of the time we've had to imagine our own internal voices over the years.

    Sadly I can confirm iMuse is seemingly broken on the 360 version - that is, hopefully broken, and not intentionally missing. The PC version transitions between themes beautifully however, and is pretty impressively done considering the constraints (and labor intensive work) involving large and complex digital samples. I've not tried the PS3 version...yet.

    The classic mode music is a bit of a bummer, as it sounds like not only poor sounding midi samples, but improper instrumentation as well. It's too bad they couldn't have used MT-32 recordings, but that would've been even more involved than the new music for the SE, and LucasArts (or any company) probably isn't in a position to emulate protected Roland content. That said, I really wasn't expecting much more than SoundBlaster/Ad-Lib FM synthesis emulation - what's there is at least somewhat better than that. Being able to listen to the new voices in classic mode is a nice touch, an option for the new SFX and ambient soundscape would've been neat as well, but probably beyond the scope of the project. For nostalgia and purism, ScummVM or DOSBox+module is still the way to go.

    I'm really impressed with the background art, not only is it greatly improved over SoMI:SE, I'd even go as far to say it improves upon the originals in some ways. The color palette for exterior Woodtick, for example, is nicely done with lots of spacious and moody pale teals rather than the harsher indigo from the scanned art and 256 color palette. All of the subtle background animations - swaying grass, scrolling clouds, are welcome additions. Even additions that seemed out of place in pre-release screenshots (the giant magenta tinged moon) feel better in motion, in-game. Aesthetically and functionality-wise the HUD also improves upon SoMI:SE in every way. Direct control is a nice option, though I find point&click, even on the console, more intuitive.

    Yes, there are many missing or overlooked details - the flies being accidentally swallowed by Phatt, Guybrush and the hill no longer being shrouded in darkness during the grave robbing scene, lack of blushing during the costume change scene, not to mention the opening credits…but there is an whole lot of love and polish there and it's a fun new way to experience the game. Lastly, I had grown used to the idea of not ever seeing something like this from LucasArts again. It's great to be proven wrong, and has me really excited about the possibility for Curse of Monkey Island getting this kind of treatment, or DotT, Hit the Road, Grim and so on.
  • Avatar
    bgbennyboy on 08 Jul, 2010, 18:48…
    Great review ElTee, I totally agree, just playing the SE version and not bothering to switch to the original version is brilliant - like playing it again for the first time.

    The moaners can sod off, this isn't a game for nitpicking. The fact that they've updated and re-released a nearly 20 year old game is amazing. I'm just pleased they've done it so well.

    Altogether now ..."Then who eats the doughnuts and roughs up the transients?"
  • Avatar
    xhamlet on 08 Jul, 2010, 17:20…
    I thought the OS X version was supposed to be released yesterday as well. Did they change plans for that release?
  • Avatar
    Remi on 08 Jul, 2010, 17:03…

    spaff

    I love this version of MI2. it's made even more awesome by existing on the iPad :)



    I'm surprised how well it plays on the iPad. Excellent that they took the time to make it touch friendly.

    Also, good review, eT. ; Agree with everything you said.
  • Avatar
    spaff on 08 Jul, 2010, 17:00…
    I love this version of MI2. it's made even more awesome by existing on the iPad :)
  • Avatar
    mmikkel on 08 Jul, 2010, 16:14…
    Is there any way to purchase this game without Steam? Trying to run Steam through Wine and it isn't even able to buy the frigging thing...
  • Avatar
    GozzoMan on 08 Jul, 2010, 16:14…

    SurplusGamer


    Must have been playing the 360 version, the iMUSE in that is either not working at all (woodtick) or a bit broken (the swamp)



    -__-

    Disappointing, really really disappointing.
  • Avatar
    SurplusGamer on 08 Jul, 2010, 16:00…

    GozzoMan

    Mmmmh, the 1Up review states there's no iMuse at all:

    http://www.1up.com/do/reviewPage?pager.offset=0&cId=3180274&p=

    What's the catch?



    Must have been playing the 360 version, the iMUSE in that is either not working at all (woodtick) or a bit broken (the swamp)
  • Avatar
    The Tingler on 08 Jul, 2010, 15:23…
    While the music needs patching (the Bone Song in particular), there's a few moments where things just go too fast (the Spitting Contest guy reappears instantly, Stan reopens the coffin lid quickly), and there's no goddamn reason why the opening credits and the greatest theme tune in history are missing, I do agree with the review.

    I especially love the little details, like the Spitting Contest master having mountains of spit in his hat! Oh, and there's a new joke when looking in Elaine's mirror.
  • Avatar
    GozzoMan on 08 Jul, 2010, 15:15…
    Mmmmh, the 1Up review states there's no iMuse at all:

    http://www.1up.com/do/reviewPage?pager.offset=0&cId=3180274&p=

    What's the catch?
  • Avatar
    Ascovel on 08 Jul, 2010, 15:01…
    Good review.

    But the no-intro info is kind of really disappointing. :(
  • Avatar
    Threepwood4life on 08 Jul, 2010, 13:07…
    Looks like Craig Derrick liked your review from the response hes just posted on Twitter.
  • Avatar
    GozzoMan on 08 Jul, 2010, 12:12…
    Inspiring review, I will play it tonight.

    Now, please bear with me with a little rant: I'm new to xbox360, just bought it, and I'm really really annoyed with the swag offered in the marketplace along the games, especially with the two MI Special Editions.

    Why, I'm annoyed? Because I find it really good... the "I found the treasure [...]" t-shirt for the avatar? Brilliant! .... But, how come I don't get it by founding the treasure in-game?? I need to pay for it?? And the themes? Weren't games wallpapers offered free just yesterday??

    So, if my avatar sports a Guybrush costume, it's not like "Hey, look at me! I'm smart, I completed the games!" but "Hey, look at me! I'm so lame to pay real money, 30% the game itself by the way, for an avatar gimmick!"

    Oh, and, for MI SE 2, the man LeChuck costume costs real money, but the woman LeChuck costume costs real money and it's reserved to gold members. Come on, just.... come on!! *_*

    Really, I would preferred to pay the game the double, but have these item awarded by playing the game itself........ That would make a lot more sense to me...
  • Avatar
    mmikkel on 08 Jul, 2010, 12:12…

    clone2727

    mmikkel

    It annoys me that this game isn't available for Mac. How can I play the PC version on osx?

    You could always try Wine...



    Thx, I'll try that.
  • Avatar
    clone2727 on 08 Jul, 2010, 11:59…

    mmikkel

    It annoys me that this game isn't available for Mac. How can I play the PC version on osx?

    You could always try Wine...
  • Avatar
    mmikkel on 08 Jul, 2010, 11:35…
    It annoys me that this game isn't available for Mac. How can I play the PC version on osx?
  • Avatar
    ocki on 08 Jul, 2010, 11:03…
    Great review and brilliant game so far! I have just come to LeChuck's dungeon, so I'm kinda saving the rest for later.. ;P
    I was planning to complete the game while exploring every nook and cranny, and then completing the game again in classic mode while listening to Ron, Tim and Dave's commentary.

    Only negative thing I can think of is the lack of the intro with the monkey dance and the brilliant credits that was such a huge mood-setter for the us, the players, before launching us onto Scabb island.
    I just find no reason to exclude it. For god's sake, Monkey 2: SE is the only adventure game - that I know of - that don't show it's own title in the befinning of it!! What gives??!
    I really really REALLY hope they find a way to put it in there somehow after everything is said and done.

    Oh, well.. at least we got the music on the main menu. ;)
  • Avatar
    Furou on 08 Jul, 2010, 09:44…

    This game made me feel like I was playing Monkey Island 2 for the first time all over again. Every new location is a beautiful, tempting place. It draws you in - you want to explore it; these are whole new islands, and they feel different too - the weather, the people, the muuuusic. It's hilarious and exciting and intriguing in equal parts. This is definitely the tri-island area that you grew up with - but now the water ripples; clouds float across the sky; Guybrush stands there scratching his head in smooth, fluid, high-definition motion, and it is mesmerising.


    This describes exactly what I felt a few minutes into the game. And It's like the impact of the negetive things such as no intro or other small nitpickings was lessened because of that. The game is just "worth it" to bear with it.
  • Avatar
    SurplusGamer on 08 Jul, 2010, 09:33…
    Thanks for posting this. Even though I have been critical of some aspects of the game, it's worth something like this to stress that for the most part they did a REALLY, REALLY good job.

    Much of my frustration about the couple of things in the game that are broken is that they're reasonably obvious, and sort of stick out in a game that does everything else so well. It's worth noting too that the Xbox version doesn't have any iMUSE implementation, it's like they forgot to include it. They nearly manage it at the voodoo swamp but even then it's buggy (inappropriately skipping back to the beginning of the music when you enter the shack)

    But yes. This is an great special edition, kids... I just hope they find it in them to fix the couple of nagging issues.

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