Episode 3: Lair Of The Leviathan
After disappointing with the derivative second part of Tales Of Monkey Island, Telltale Games has returned with a third episode that takes the series in a totally different direction, obliterating our previous criticisms in the process. Like the celebrated sailing chapter in The Secret Of Monkey Island, Lair Of The Leviathan is extremely condensed. With only five screens in total, it eliminates tiresome backtracking, reduces item gathering and increases the number of imaginative puzzles on offer. Lazy find-three-item quests are nowhere to be seen in this episode, instead there’s a wealth of context-based conundrums and mini-games that showcase LucasArts-style adventure design at its best.
Kicking off the episode with a spoof of the Newlywed Game, Leviathan sees Guybrush interrogating pirates, experimenting with tarot cards, playing Bergerac for a pair of manatee and participating in a face-pulling contest on a par with insult sword fighting. In terms of gameplay and presentation, Telltale has hit its stride. Much of the episode is set within the belly of a manatee – a change from the maze-like jungles of other episodes – while the reused character models are so heavily redesigned here that they no longer feel like actors playing multiple roles. Most crucially, this is by far the funniest episode yet, mostly thanks to the return of series favourite Murray, the demonic talking skull.
Voiced once again by the brilliantly manic Denny Delk, Murray’s special brand of self-delusion makes each line of dialogue sparkle with wit, urging you to click through every optional line. His Whose Line Is It Anyway-style credit reading was the thing that really had us giggling away in the end.