Monday, October 3, 2005

Escape from Escape from Monkey Island

I played a little Escape from Monkey Island tonight, and despite my love for the first three games in the series, I don't know if I'm going to play any more. The graphics are awful (they weren't even really acceptable when the game first came out), the controls are abysmal, the jokes aren't funny, and the puzzles aren't clever. It's definitely not the Monkey Island I remember.

Then again, my tastes have changed. I like more action in my games than I once did, and I have less tolerance for most kinds of repetitive silliness, like hearing the same line of dialogue more than once in a conversation where I have to go through each available topic to make sure that I learn everything I can, making the experience essentially noninteractive since I may miss something crucial or fail to unlock part of the storyline if I skip some of the conversation topics... or rambling that can't be skipped over with the Escape key. It really feels like the series was dumbed down to the point that I couldn't possibly be interested anymore. The original games, while family-friendly, were aimed more at adults. The fourth and most recent game in the series seems very much aimed at children, with just enough pandering to fans of the series to try to cover it up. It kind of reminds me of what happened to Sam & Max Hit the Road. Sam & Max was an adventure game that was targeted squarely at adults; it was a time when such things were pretty rare, and the result was something that was really funny and not at all stupid, despite the main characters being a lovable dog detective with a sadistic bunny sidekick. Then they turned it into a TV show that only a kid could enjoy... except kids didn't enjoy it either, because it didn't last very long. The sophisticated humor and parody were gone, the quirkiness was eliminated, and it became just another cartoon. Sam & Max wasn't exactly GTA, but it was funny and refreshing.

Now they're making a new Sam & Max game. The original sequel was canned, but they've started working on a new sequel, and now I'm met with trepidation. If it's anything like the Sam & Max Saturday morning cartoon, or Escape from Monkey Island, I don't want any part of it.

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