Episode 5: Rise Of The Pirate God
All good things must come to an end, but that’s okay as long as they end well. This concluding chapter of Tales Of Monkey Island certainly does that. The most dramatic and tumultuous chapter in the memoirs of Guybrush Ulysees Threepwood, this game sees our hero cross over to the realm of the dead and take the form of a ghost.
Guybrush’s newfound undead form allows for some particularly tricky puzzles, forcing the player to solve several problems without the ability to directly interact with objects. More than just a gameplay device, the change puts our hero into the shoes of his eternal nemesis for once, shifting Tales’s plot to give a long overdue insight into the mind of LeChuck and affording him the opportunity to vent about all those years of being thwarted by a rather clumsy accidental hero.
This enhanced character development is actually a theme that could be applied to the whole series. It has expanded the roles of all the major supporting characters from archetypal plot devices into genuinely interesting characters that have a significant impact on the narrative and form a bond between player and game that we didn’t even realise was lacking in the original adventures until now.
To think that there were ever any doubts over Telltale’s ability to continue Monkey Island now seem ludicrous in hindsight. The developer has done such a fine job, even overcoming its own previous limitations in the process. The episodic masters have always had difficulty introducing their own original characters to classic franchises, with embarrassments like Sam & Max’s Soda Poppers tarnishing each and every game they’ve appeared in. Yet Telltale’s own contribution to the Monkey Island cast, pirate hunter Morgan LeFlay, fits easily into the established lineup and has effortlessly worked her way into our hearts. The enigmatic heroine/villain is the most interesting new character to enter the series since the first game and has spent every episode since her first proving to be an emotionally complex and antagonistic supporting character. Her pivotal role in this final episode reminds us just how much we appreciate her existence, while the conclusion of her character arc genuinely left us reeling.
This may be the final episode in the series, neatly wrapping up a particularly excellent plot, but it also feels like a new beginning. Telltale has redefined what a LucasArts adventure can be, turning a comedy adventure into a comedy drama, and we’re sure it will have a lasting effect on where the franchise goes from here.